Attached at the Heart or Needing a Crutch? 15 Differences between Love and Emotional Dependency

Source: fanpop

Source: fanpop

There’s a difference between being in love and needing someone in your life.  A fundamental aspect of any relationship is that it must be based upon two whole human beings coexisting together.  While it might be romantic to think of your partner as your “other half”, not knowing how to function in the world on your own is a serious situation, and one that you’ll have to work on before you can be in a relationship that truly works and is able to weather the years.  Here are some self-checks to ensure that your relationship is based on love rather than codependency.

1. Do you focus on “Give” or “Get”?

Sub 1 give or get

True love is about giving; it’s about bringing joy to the one you love.  If you are more concerned with what you get out of a relationship rather than what you have the potential to give to a partner, it’s a sign that your relationship might not be based upon love, but rather an emotional dependence.

2. Why is this Important?

Sub 2 give

If you are more focused on what you get out of a relationship than you are upon what you can give to someone else, how are you ever going to function should that relationship end?  You need to be in a space that fosters your own healthfulness and wholeness as a human being before you are in a position to give part of that to anyone else.

3. Do you Look or do you See?

Source: Thinkstock/Aleksandar Petrovic

Source: Thinkstock/Aleksandar Petrovic

When you imagine your SO, do you see this person as they really are, or as an idealized image of how you would like them to be?  Do you accept this person, flaws and all, or are you “putting up with” them for whatever reason?  Everyone has places to grow, and certainly there are negative aspects of any personality, but what do you see when you look at your partner?

4. Fantasy Land…

Sub 4 Perefct man

If you are stuck in a fantasyland making up the perfect prince charming with whom to fall in love, then who is to say that the man who plays that part in real life couldn’t be anybody?  If the role you have devised of “the perfect partner” is simply that: a role, then you haven’t entered into a relationship with a real person but rather with a fantasy of that person.

5. Passing the Buck

Sub 5 dependace

Have you placed responsibility for your health, happiness, and safety squarely upon your partner’s shoulders?  Do you often, with all seriousness, feel that you could not possibly continue life without this person?  These are classic symptoms of dependence, and need to be addressed quickly.  After all; if you don’t know how you will do without this person, what will you do if this person isn’t around anymore?

6. Take Control


Being yourself doesn’t just mean that you should do the things that make you you, it also means that you need to take control over (and responsibility for) your own life.  Your partner has their life to live and you have yours.  Together you may enhance each others’ existences, but you do not make up each others’ existences.

7. Outside Rather than Inside


Is your main focus upon how your partner treats you or makes you feel rather than who this person is?  Are you attracted by the outward signs of affection, or the fundamental parts of this person’s being?  If it’s the outer stuff that matters to you, then you might need to reexamine your relationship.