We get so lonely at times, that we just want someone to complete us, even if it means losing our individuality.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on May 29, 2020. It has since been updated.
It might surprise many but the statement "I can't live without you" may not necessarily be an expression of love, it could mean that your partner is "in need" of you rather than being "in love" with you and there are high chances that they don't know it themselves. Emotional dependency is when your partner thinks that they cannot survive without you or that they will never be happy in their life if you are not around. Emotionally dependent people need constant attention, approval, and support from their partners because they are not giving it to themselves. There is an emptiness in them which you will be required to fill always and that can be taxing for both of you. On the other hand, "As a loving adult, you have learned how to fill yourself with love and define your own worth. Instead of needing someone to fill you and make you feel lovable and worthy, you already feel worthy and full of love," writes author Dr. Margaret Paul for HuffPost.
If you don't know the difference between love and emotional dependency, here are a few signs:
1) In love, you feel happy to watch your partner connect with people. In dependency, you often feel jealous or threatened that people could steal your partner's affection. Trust is one of the key elements of love. When in love you are secure and never let futile differences get the best of you. Whereas when you are emotionally dependent on your partner your self-worth is determined by their behavior towards you. In this case, a single moment of detachment can give your relationship a bitter turn and rob you of your mental peace.
2) In love, you live and let live. In dependency, you feel pressured to be someone you are not, or expect your partner to always be a certain way. Love is about acceptance and compassion. True love never wants you to cater to its whims and fancies, instead, it lets you shine in your own skin while being your biggest supporter. But when you are dependent on your partner you will have to modify yourself according to their preferences. In other words, you will let them control your life.
3) In love, you are more happy and content—with yourself. In a dependent relationship, you find yourself miserable and emotional or too excited. When you are being loved truly, you should be in a constant state of eternal bliss. You should feel confident and self-sufficient as love is about complimenting each other's personality. Your self-doubts, troubled past, insecurities, etc., should pack your bags and leave you alone when you are in true love. But when you are merely dependent on your partner you will always starve for more. Restlessness will never leave you and instead of compliments, you will be fed with condescension.
4) In love, you want to solve problems together and hear each other out. When dependent, you surrender to their opinions and never express your views. Love is work. If you want your relationship to be fruitful and healthy, not only will you have to be ready to work towards it but also be ready to adjust when required. Opinion clashes, mood swings, etc., will occur occasionally in a relationship - when in true love you will try to reach a consensus and win over the situation to maintain amicability in the relationship. Where when you are dependent, you will give in to dominance and suppression. Your views will never be taken into consideration because you are too scared to let go. This only inculcates toxicity in the relationship.
5) In love, you grow and evolve as a person. When dependent on your partner you lose touch with yourself and give up on your dreams. In a dependent relationship, your entire world revolves around your partner. You could only think about their preferences, likes, and dislikes. You also try to justify their bad behavior and sometimes cover up for it in public. You get so consumed with their life, career, and thoughts that you unconsciously keep abandoning your dreams, desires, and aspirations. You are worried about their reaction to your wishes and try to avoid anything that might cause a blow to their ego. In love, it's just the opposite. They not only help you be the best version of yourself but you learn from them too. They encourage you and instill courage in you.
6) In love, you are filled with positivity. In dependency, negative thoughts and feelings overwhelm you. When dependent on your partner you feel worn out and exhausted of all the compromises and adjustments. There are times when you want to give up on all the pain but you don't feel enough in yourself, you want someone to complete you even if that means losing the peace of your mind. True love, on the other hand, fills you with joy and positivity. Your outlook towards the world changes and you feel healed and at peace with yourself. Negativity and bitterness from your past relationship dissolve and you emerge as a better, radiant person when you receive true love.
Disclaimer: This article is based on insights from different sources. The views expressed here are those of the writer.
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