Do you have an unquenchable urge for affection and approval from your partner? Do you always try to please him or her because you are afraid of being left alone? Then it is possible that you are emotionally dependent. That is not a healthy breeding ground for a relationship. Relationship coach Veronique Van de Steen explains what emotional dependence means.
What is emotional dependence?
If you are emotionally dependent, you have an exaggerated need for affection, attention, and approval from others. You have an irrational fear of loneliness and abandonment, and therefore you act submissively in your Love And relationships. Your feelings for your partner fluctuate between special pleasure and extreme suffering.
“Some people want a partner at all costs. Everything is better than being alone.”
An unhealthy emotional dependence is related to abandonment anxiety, and is partly due to a lack of self-love. The desire to love someone and to be loved themselves is huge and important. It is a lack that must be satisfied.
We regularly visit people who cannot possibly be alone and who want to have a partner at all costs. Even though that person does not suit them, they think that everything is better than being alone.
The result is that they take a submissive position in the relationship, so that they do not lose that partner. They find it difficult to say “no” and do not take their own needs into account.
-I can have my own thoughts apart from yours.
-I have to agree with your thoughts and you with mine.
-We respect each other’s dreams, goals and expectations in life.
-We must not have different dreams or personal goals. That could endanger our relationship.
-We feel that there is sufficient freedom to express our feelings to each other about who we are, how we feel and what we want.
-We lie to each other to keep up appearances and say that everything is okay, even though it doesn’t feel that way at all.
-When are you emotionally dependent?
In the beginning of a new relationship, the fascination, passion and desire to merge is great. It seems like you think the same thing about “everything.” As long as everyone’s needs and desires are met, there is no problem. Some form of mutual emotional dependence in a relationship is needed, as long as it has a sound basis. And sometimes the shoe pinches.
After the initial crush has fallen, the relationship needs room to develop into a more realistic and mature relationship. In this way you realize that your partner does not fully meet all your expectations, because there are indeed differences between the two of you. You accept that you are actually not the same, but that you can complement each other.
However, if you are struggling with an unhealthy emotional dependence, it can then turn into emotional suffering. For example, you are going to accept everything from your partner, even if you disagree with what he or she is doing, and at the same time you are short of yourself. You want to be reassured, stay safe in your relationship and be recognized for that.
Example: You are happy if your partner says that you are no longer allowed to see your friends or family.
How does a balanced relationship work?
In a lasting relationship, both partners support and encourage each other, even though they know that they cannot always meet all expectations and desires. Learning to love the way your partner loves you, even if that’s not the way you’d like to see it.
And of course: you can only love someone else if you also love yourself. It is a big cliché, but one that stands out like a rock.
Dare to speak about your thoughts and feelings, without being afraid of your partner’s reaction. You can do perfect things for each other, without expecting anything in return.