It is perfectly normal to expect your boyfriend to offer different kinds of support in your relationship. After all, relationships are supposed to be mutually beneficial on different levels.
As people in love, you would even find it very easy to do things for each other without the other person asking you to do so.
However, it is not okay to be dependent on your partner for your emotional needs, or financial responsibilities. Romantic relationships, like other relationships, have a spectrum. You cannot be on the edge, all the time you need to meet your boyfriend in the middle.
For example, if you’ve been making him happy all the time but he’s not making efforts to do the same, you’ll feel incomplete in the relationship. If you’re the dependent person in the relationship, you’ll be a burden on him also. As such, both of you need to offer sufficient support to make the relationship balanced.
How then do you know when you’re being emotionally dependent on your partner? Should you just cling to emotional independence instead?
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The same way it’s bad to be either the only party giving or receiving in the relationship, is the same way it is bad to exist on the farther sides of the emotional dependency spectrum. You can neither be completely independent without making your boyfriend feel unwanted nor be completely dependent on him without wearing him out.
Below are 25 red flags that will alert you to your emotional dependency state, thus helping you adjust and have a more healthy relationship.
One red flag you should look out for to know if you’re too dependent on your partner is, are you idealizing him? Do you see him as something he is not? Do you portray him differently in your heart and pretend he is perfect on the outside?
If you do these, you will not only disappoint yourself but also end up making his life miserable. The cold hard truth is, your man isn’t perfect like the movie starts you crush on. He is as human as those men are behind the scenes.
Expecting your partner to fulfill movie-inspired fantasies will lead to disillusionment, and end your relationship.
Just like the man, you make out your relationship to look perfect to outsiders. Meanwhile, you are very much aware of the reality you deal with all the time. When you set unrealistic expectations for your relationship, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
Firstly, you should admit that your relationship doesn’t define who you are. Instead, you define what your relationship looks like and the impact you allow it to have on you. If your boyfriend is incapable of some things, try to be understanding rather than coercing him into doing them.
When you cannot do anything without your boyfriend, there is a problem. When you think you cannot do important things without his presence, it’s clear you’re completely dependent on him.
A healthy relationship is a kind where both partners support each other 100% without having a chokehold on the other’s liberty.
When you cannot think up an original thought that doesn’t have his signature on it, it’s a red flag that you should get your will back. This attitude will give your boyfriend total dominion over your life, except he isn’t aware of how much power he holds.
Love is a lot of things except yielding all your interests to your partner. Needing the approval of your boyfriend for every decision you make doesn’t make sense. You’re a human being responsible for the consequences of her actions.
When you give a man complete control over your life, you’re saying you’re a toy who gets to bear the consequences of other people’s decisions.
You should be able to make certain decisions by yourself so that you can proudly own both the rewards and downsides of those decisions.
If you feel empty when you’re not with your boyfriend, it is a sign that you’ve become too dependent on him. It is not wrong to want to spend time with the love of your life, but it is unhealthy to think you’ll always be able to do so.
No matter how intense your feelings are, you’ll need to give your boyfriend space at some point. Any relationship that doesn’t give space for personal time is not healthy. It is okay to spend time away from your boyfriend.
If you will spend your future with him, you need to start practicing being your own person while seeing your husband every day.
When spending time with your family becomes something you don’t consider anymore because of your relationship, you’ve become too dependent. You’ve made yourself see your relationship as a comfort zone from where nothing can budge you.
Except your family consists of evil people you don’t want to relate with, your relationship or boyfriend shouldn’t make you ignore them.
What happens if the relationship crumbles, but you’ve neglected everyone who could offer you emotional support? You lose on both sides! It is important to keep a great relationship with your family because it reduces the obsessive attention you’re most likely to pay to your relationship.
Every man’s happiness is dependent on how much they allow other people’s actions to influence their feelings. It’s cliché to say, but really, you’re only responsible for how you feel, not how other people act.
When you’re dependent on your partner for every bit of your happiness, you’ll feel disappointed over and over again.
Even if your boyfriend is the sweetest person ever, and he strives so hard to make you genuinely happy, he won’t always succeed. He has his own issues and is trying to manage his feelings too. Don’t add to his burden, and your unhappiness by assuming he will always be around to make you happy.
If you act like the perfect queen because you fear he will leave you when he sees your bad side, you’re simply deceiving yourself. The cold hard truth remains, he will see you for who you are as time goes on. You can only hide for so long until your man discovers your flaws.
For example, if you snore a lot, but never told your boyfriend, one day he will find out as you lie down out cold on the bed beside him. If you have any significant bad habit but refuse to tell him at the beginning, he will consider you deceptive.
There is nothing wrong with getting pieces of advice from your boyfriend, especially if the relationship has been going on for a long time. As the person who knows you the most in the world, he will be able to advise you from different perspectives. His pieces of advice will sometimes prevent you from making grave mistakes.
However, why would you always go to him first for advice, even though you’re also a smart woman? Before running to him for his opinion, consider what you’ll do to make that situation better.
In public, do you speak out your opinions boldly, or wait for your boyfriend to talk before saying anything? Do you play the dumb pretty girlfriend who has no mind of her own, just to make your man shine in front of others? If yes, you’re the definition of miss dependent.
You should be able to speak your mind without waiting for your man to set a precedent for you. Even if you think you’re okay with that demeaning attitude as long as your man is pleased, others will lose respect for you. They might not tell you to your face, but that’s how they see you.
Both of you have your jobs, families, friends and recreational activities you do separately, why would you want to eat into the time he should spend at these other functions? Why do you try to violate the agreement both of you have on how your relationship would go, and when you spend time together?
You’re probably insecure, or lack other solid relationships that keep you occupied when you’re not with him. It is rude to interfere in his family time or during work hours. It might be romantic to interrupt him at important functions once or twice. Doing so all the time is simply not healthy.
Physical and emotional insecurities are part of the signs of emotional dependency. If you cannot handle your day-to-day living without your boyfriend, you’ll continue to depend on him till the relationship is over.
If you cannot buy the groceries unless he gives you money, lifts your garage door, or gets you out of a bad mood, you’ll find it hard to do anything on your own. You need to break out from that dependency pattern, or you’ll be stuck in that cycle in every relationship you have.
Another way you idealize your boyfriend is when he cannot do any wrong in your eyes. Fine, he is amazing and the wet dream of every woman. However, he cannot be without his flaws. Excusing his bad attitudes means enabling him to continue doing them.
Even if you’re okay with him treating you shabbily, you risk hurting other people by not making him admit his mistakes. This is when saying ‘your actions don’t concern anyone’ is false. Your enablement will not only reflect on the way he treats you, but also on others. Start making him see his mistakes and apologizing for them.
What happens when you don’t have your own hobbies? You become dependent on his! Most times, when you’re dependent on your partner, it is not because you don’t have personal interests to occupy your time. It is because you feel you have no control over him when you’re apart.
Indeed, you cannot keep tabs on your boyfriend when he is away from you, but you were never supposed to! You can both live full and happy lives even though you’re committed to your relationship. As such, stop stifling your interests because you want to be stuck to his hip.
Personal goals and aspirations are things most single people focus on, but some bury them the moment they enter a relationship. If you’re so focused on your partner’s happiness that you neglect your aspirations, you’ll wake up one day to regrets.
When you become too comfortable and satisfied with your relationship without making any move to realize your dreams, you’re too dependent. While it is normal to envision and plan your future with your boyfriend in view, it is bad to put him at the center of your plans.
It is even worse when he isn’t giving you any solid proof that he considers you a part of his future.
Figuratively speaking, he walks all over you, but you don’t mind. He takes advantage of how much you love him, yet you stick with him. Soon enough, you will become subconsciously dependent and expectant of his toxic attitude. What you consider tough love might just be abuse.
You’ve let yourself believe that you cannot have anyone better than him, and that’s why your mind is crippled with doubt all the time. You need to spend some time away from your boyfriend to address your fears and reconsider if you want to remain in the relationship.
Most times, the root of your insecurity lies in the way you accept compliments and reproof. If you cannot accept corrections the same way you do compliments, you’ll always feel inadequate. Your man loves you, that is why he decides to tell you when you’re wrong. He doesn’t want outsiders to embarrass you, and so he corrects you in love.
However, because you expect only praise from him, you become sad when he corrects you. The real definition of tough love is when someone says the cold hard truth and still lets you know they love you.
Stop being dependent on his positive reinforcements only, learn from the negative ones too.
The fear of rejection is why you cannot say exactly what’s on your mind to your boyfriend. You shy away from demanding the best, so he offers you the best you think you want or deserve. You are always asking questions that require the answer, “you haven’t done anything wrong babe".
However, you should be telling him the bold ideas you have for yourself and the relationship. Truth is, whether you communicate the way you’re feeling, or depend on him to do right by you, you might still be rejected. So why not take the risk and be bold?
Needing assurance once in a while is okay, but requiring reassurance too much is not cool. Men see such women as too clingy, desperate, and lacking confidence. A man likes it when his woman looks up to him to an extent, but he doesn’t like it when she needs to be babied at all times.
You need to have a strong backbone if you want to get the best out of your man. No woman keeps a great man by acting like a weakling. You don’t need to hear him say he loves you 100 times a day to be sure he loves you. You certainly don’t need to be in the same room with him all day to be sure he’s faithful to you.
If you put your other relationships on hold for your romantic relationship, don’t expect that your boyfriend will do the same thing for you. It’s your choice to sever other connections in favor of your relationship. One of the signs that you are dependent on your boyfriend is that you will resent his hangouts with his friends.
You want to monopolize his time and attention, but he doesn’t share your feeling of alienation towards your friends. To overcome this, you might need to rekindle your friendship with close friends and find extra happiness without your boyfriend around you.
If your confidence depends on how cocky your boyfriend is feeling, or your self-worth by how he sees you, you have a dependency problem. It’s alright to draw strength from his courage, and confidence from his carriage. What is not alright is lacking your own vibe. If you’re like a cold fish until your boyfriend comes around, you need to check yourself.
You can seek professional help to get back to performing based on internal strength and self-esteem, rather than external reinforcement. So that on days your boyfriend isn’t so high on confidence, he can feed off your positive energy too.
When his female colleagues, business partners, and acquaintances become an unnecessary threat to you, it means you’ve become too dependent on him. He cannot make new friends or connections without you accusing him of disloyalty.
You have built your life around him so much that your lack of friendship is the yardstick you use to judge his faithfulness. The fact is, a man would find a way to cheat on you if he wants to, no matter how watchful you are. You need to stop the unreasonable jealousy, or he will get tired of you.
Sometimes, you think what you feel for someone is love, but it turns out you’re in lust or obsessed with them. The ability to sort your feelings to know if you’re staying or leaving the relationship is very important.
Obsession requires so much energy and time that you’ll be physically and emotionally exhausted when the relationship ends.
You’re always watching him like a hawk when you should be living your life. Instead of being obsessively dependent on a man who will leave you broken, be sincere about how you feel and move on.
One of the things that makes it so glaring that you’re living to satisfy your boyfriend only is when you abandon your best friends. These are people you were doing life with before your man came. Now, you can’t spare some time for them because your man demands your time.
Sometimes, it could be that you made that decision all on your own because you think your boyfriend would approve. What happens when the table turns, and your boyfriend wants to hang out with ‘the boys’ all the time? You become resentful.
Another thing that should alert you to your dependency problem is that you handle your relationship like a scripted one. You set and expect your boyfriend to follow rigid routines along with you. When he plays off script, you start panicking.
For instance, he always eats your food, but one night he doesn’t because he’s still full from what he had for lunch. However, you start freaking out that he met with another woman and ate her food. That attitude will only make you and him paranoid until he cannot take it anymore.
You can stop being too dependent on your boyfriend by enjoying a full life whether he is there or not. Engage in personal interests, go on vacations and have ‘personal times’.
It is okay to expect support from your boyfriend, but it is not healthy to depend on him for all your needs. You should be able to take care of yourself whether he’s available or not.
Take a step back and regain a level of independence. Do some of the things you’ve been denying yourself from doing because you wanted to please him.
Happiness is a form of hope that encourages us to go on living. However, you shouldn’t always depend on it because other feelings such as pain or sadness are also important for appreciating our happy moments.
Being dependent in a certain situation isn’t bad as opposed to being dependent on another person all the time. After a while, you won’t be functional without that person. You will lose a lot of things including your self-worth.
You must accept as much help as you can get from someone you love. However, being dependent on your partner is like replacing natural air with engineered oxygen. You will function, but only because you’re on life support.
The solution in this situation is to break free of that dependency and make independent choices going forward.
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