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Is it Love or Emotional Dependency?


Do you understand the term emotional dependency? Have you heard of it before?

Emotional dependency is a situation when a person is incapable of taking full responsibility for their own feelings. It is when a person believes they need another person to survive, to be happy, or to feel complete. They do have emotions like sorrow, grief, heartbreak, anxiety, and depression but they cannot embrace, accept, or nurture these feelings. The person tends to depend on his/her friend/friends for emotional support. People easily confuse love with emotional dependency because they both usually come with intense feelings around another person. But in an emotionally dependent relationship, people feel they're "in love" when really, they're "in need."


Also read: Setting Healthy Boundaries


In a romantic relationship, you might turn to your partner for this support first. It’s normal to look to partners for emotional support and guidance, especially in a long-term relationship. Emotional dependence, however, passes the point of support. Most romantic partners depend on each other to some extent. But when you need your partner to meet all of your emotional needs, you’re probably not doing much to meet those needs on your own. This total reliance on another person can eventually take a toll on your relationship and overall well-being.

It is important to understand that you are your own responsibility and hence it is only you who should make you happy, it is only you yourself on whom you can really depend/rely on, of course, other people can do their bit. But, if at any given point of time due to any kind of situation they are unavailable, you should be able to take care of yourself. Remember, when talking of priorities, you yourself should be on number one and the rest of the world comes after. A person can be your comfort but do not forget yourself in the process which we as people tend to do or generally do.

When you love someone, sure you want them with you in order to feel a different kind of happiness or when you feel like the world is pushing you down. But, it’s healthy till it’s just a want and not a need. Ask yourself, what would you have done if this person wasn’t in your life? I have an answer, you would have handled yourself just as gracefully as you did now. It is important to differentiate between whether you are just emotionally dependent on them or really in love. Love is about giving and sharing, not about getting. Love is not needy. There is nothing controlling about real love. Love is that which supports your own and your partner's highest good, which means that you would never try to control or possess the other person. When you love someone, you deeply value their essential qualities, the qualities that don't go away with time.

When, in a romantic relationship you look out for your partner whenever you feel emotionally low, and there is nothing wrong with that, but in order to keep the relationship healthy you need to love and understand yourself as much as you love and understand them or vice versa.

When you fall in love with the wounded self, it is not so much the person you love, but how he or she loves you. You are handing over to the other person the responsibility for your self-worth and wellbeing, and if he or she does a good job of attending to you in the way you want to be attended to, then you may say you are "in love." When it feels as if you can't live without the other person, it is emotional dependency. The part of you that is "in love" is really a child or adolescent who is needy for love because you are not giving love to yourself or to others. There is an emptiness inside that you expect someone else to fill because you are not taking responsibility for your own feelings of self-worth. You are attaching your worth to another's love, which is why you can't live without that person.


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When you love them as an adult, you really love them! Because this love doesn’t come from a place of emptiness/ insecurity or from a wounded part of yourself. Instead of needing someone to fill you and make you feel lovable and worthy, you already feel worthy and full of love. You experience this inner fullness because you have learned how to take full responsibility for your own feelings and needs, and you have learned to fill yourself with love. This fullness overflows and you want to share this love with another person, another loving adult who is also filled with love. Your desire is to share love rather than to get love.

You can’t depend on anyone else to be happy; no relationship will give you the inner peace that you haven’t created.
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