Love Or Dependency: How To Differentiate Them?

Love Or Dependency: How To Differentiate Them?

In some relationships, sometimes it is difficult to know if there is a true healthy loving feeling, or if on the contrary what there is, is a dependency relationship. We are going to see some of the characteristics of a bond based on need instead of equality and reciprocity. Knowing how to differentiate love and dependency allows you to avoid entering into toxic relationships that will contribute little to your happiness and well-being, except perhaps experience (if you know how to learn from them).

Emotionally Dependent People

People who build dependency relationships are motivated by need. Normally, they feel an emotional emptiness, which they are not capable of filling themselves, and they look for a person who can give them that attention, that affection, that love that they crave.

Logically, we are talking about people who have low self-esteem. They do not like to be alone because then the emotional emptiness seems unbearable, and they seek the company of friends, relatives, or even strangers to obtain that attention that helps them fill the emotional lack they feel.

As a consequence, people with emotional dependency seek their partners with the main motivation of receiving attention and affection, not to give and share love equally. Hence, they choose people who give them that attention even if those people do not suit them for many other reasons. What's more, many emotionally dependent people stay trapped in unsatisfying relationships for years, simply because they are afraid of losing the relationship and the associated attention.


Difference Between Dependence and Interdependence

Before continuing, I would like to make a point. In all couple relationships, even healthy ones (based on equality and love), there are situations of dependency between people. But in the case of a healthy couple, it is an interdependence, motivated more by the organization and distribution of roles than by a lack of affection. Of course, it is normal to miss the partner when circumstances force a temporary separation, or to depend on them for some specific matters. In this article, I am talking about problematic situations with an excess of dependency.

How Do You Know If You are In an Emotionally Dependent Relationship?

If you want to know if what you feel for your partner is dependency and not love, or if you suspect that your partner is with you out of necessity, here are some signs that may indicate dependency.

- Dependent people tend to be very demanding regarding the care they receive from their partners. Because they need this attention to fill the emotional emptiness they feel, they will ask for more attention and will be angry if they do not receive it.

- Dependent people prefer to share as much time as possible with their partners, and therefore, they try to participate in any activity in which the other person is involved. When that is not possible, they seek emotional substitutes (family and friends).

- Dependent people hate loneliness because it confronts them with the emotional lack they feel.

- Dependent people may be in a bad relationship simply out of fear of losing him/her. Necessity prevails over happiness. Excuses are made that the relationship is not so bad. They may even think that they are perfectly capable of leaving the relationship, that they do not depend on the other person, and that one day they will leave, but they never do.



Why Dependency is Bad?

Being emotionally dependent on another person is not healthy. It locks people in situations of unhappiness and dissatisfaction. Making your happiness depend on the actions of other people implies a tremendous loss of freedom. It is also an attitude of little responsibility towards life: when they feel unhappy, dependent people tend to blame others.

Dependency mechanics are incompatible with a long-term happy partner. It may be that in the early days, at the moment of falling in love, things work out because the dependent person receives the attention they expect, but later, when the situation evolves into a more mature and balanced relationship, they remain dissatisfied and begin to demand more attention provoking a negative reaction from the other person.

How To Stop Being Dependent?

You can stop being dependent. The instructions to do it are very easy to understand. The difficult thing is to achieve it, but with time, reflection, analysis, and courage it can be achieved. And let's not forget professional help.

The idea, as I said, is very simple: the person with the emotional emptiness has to understand exactly what he or she needs from others and start giving it to himself. Do you need someone to give you love to be happy? Why don't you give yourself love first? Give yourself love and attention. Value yourself.

A good test to learn to love yourself and be less dependent on others is to tame loneliness. If you're terrified of spending time alone, you should face it. Start doing things you like. Enjoy them. And little by little try to have more time just for you. A person who is happy alone is a person capable of sharing the love on an equal footing.

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