When you start a relationship, everything suddenly seems to make sense. Life takes on a brighter color and you feel really fulfilled. Indeed, knowing that you’re loved, desired, and supported by another person makes you feel ecstatic. However, this is precisely why you often end up becoming dependent on love.
If you don’t have established foundations about who you are and what you deserve, it’s easy to become addicted to the meaning that your partner gives you by loving you. “Without you, I’m nothing”, a phrase that’s heard so often in romantic songs and movies, and is, so sadly, often real. Because many people truly feel that it’s only the presence of a partner that makes them valid and important. Nevertheless, can you imagine the serious repercussions this has on a psychological level?
The origin of dependency
The belief of having another ‘half’ tends to be deeply ingrained in all of us. It’s the idea that you need another person to complete you. Therefore, when you’re without a partner you tend to feel empty, dissatisfied, and worthless. In these circumstances, meeting someone and establishing an emotional bond can seem like the solution to all your problems.
Suddenly, you feel important, appreciated, wanted, and needed. A cascade of neurotransmitters is triggered in your body that floods you with happy feelings. Happiness both blinds and binds you. However, as the relationship progresses, you usually start to notice certain aspects of your partner that aren’t so positive.
For instance, you may discover character traits and behaviors that were previously hidden and that you don’t like. Nonetheless, who would give up this state of euphoria and satisfaction to return to solitude? Consequently, you move forward, tolerating behaviors that harm you or that don’t fit in with your own values.
You allow your relationship to distance you from your hobbies, your friendships, and your family environment. In fact, you give it such an absolute priority that you end up distancing yourself even from you. Then, when you want to get out of the relationship, or when your partner ends it, you’ve nothing left.
How to avoid being dependent on love
As we’ve said, in order to avoid being dependent on love, you need to establish a solid foundation. It’ll be your insurance, the anchor that’ll prevent you from letting yourself drift away on those loving feelings and will allow you to return to port.
- Cultivate healthy self-esteem. This means having the absolute certainty that you’re important and valuable regardless of who’s by your side. It also means having the ability to set limits, to express your needs assertively, and to be able to leave a relationship when it’s no longer beneficial to you.
- Take care of the other areas of your life. Sometimes, you make the mistake of prioritizing your relationship above all other aspects of your life. You neglect your career, your human connections, and your relationship with you, in order to dedicate all your time and attention to your partner. This is wrong. Because healthy love is balanced and allows room for you to fully develop as an individual.
- Reflect. It’s important not to fall into patterns of conformity, comfort, or inertia. A relationship should nurture you, add to you, and enrich you. That’s why it’s important to occasionally reflect on how you feel about it. You must be honest with yourself in order to find out if you’re happy. Also, to find out if you need to change something in your relationship or simply to understand that it no longer brings you anything positive.
- Listen. It’s often your loved ones who alert you to your emotional dependence. Therefore, when the most important people in your environment try to make you see certain negative aspects of your relationship, listen. This doesn’t mean that you should necessarily take their advice as, obviously, your own opinion should prevail. On the other hand, you should listen to what they have to say. After all, they’re the people who’ve always been by your side.
Love is freedom
The most important thing is to remember that love isn’t restrictive. Nor is it distressing or painful. Healthy love allows you to be yourself, to develop in every part of your life. It provides you with support, happiness, and emotional stability.
Therefore, if your relationship feels like a prison or you find yourself panicking at the thought of a breakup, something is wrong. Furthermore, if you know you’re unhappy yet still feel unable to leave your relationship, make sure you seek help.
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