Dependent Relationships

Aidy Thomas

Aidy Thomas

There seem to be issues with emotional dependency when one is strongly attached to the apron of his/her lover and act as if their whole lives depended on them. Demanding approval and support from others could happen both in romantic and platonic relationships or platonic sometimes develop into intimacy due to unnecessary closeness. Being in love does not mean loss of identity or personal focus/ideas; yes, you should work as one, discussing individual vision and aspiration and striking a balance, but no one should hide under marriage to be lazy or push all responsibilities on the other simply because ‘…two shall become one…’ If your spouse is under so much pressure, the relationship would definitely suffer.

Emotional dependency is inevitable when you allow others to hold the keys to your happiness and define your relevance; this implies you practically draw your life and security from people. If they fail to pay you complements or appreciate how you look, what you’ve done, who you are, how you’ve contributed to the success of others, etc., that just spoils your day; you feel empty and unacknowledged.

Feeling this way is indeed dysfunctional and unhealthy for your person—you give so much power to the other person to determine and control your life. People who know you have this weakness most often explore it against you and perpetually make you miserable by denying you the comfort or assurance you crave.

A relationship is said to be emotionally dependent when you excessively nurture and derive pleasure in comforting others or you are at the receiving end of enjoying the comfort and protection people shower on you. There is a tendency for you to confuse genuine love with dependent one but reading between lines would help clarify the point that genuine love is mature and ready to take up responsibility while dependent love is immature and feels there is no hope in life outside the relationship.

There is healthy/normal interdependency in mature relationships, while unhealthy dependence characterises an immature union. People with faulty upbringing and poor parental care are likely victims. They grew up feeling really deprived and rejected that in adult life, they go all out to get approval which they never had through childhood. Unfortunately, this approval addiction does not seem to ever end; the more they get, the more they cling to their source, manipulating and doing different things to keep the flow.

I am aware that using the words ‘manipulation and controlling’ is not celebrated in our society, but sorry to say, that is what emotional dependency makes you do; you are ready to do anything to feed that addiction and when it happens in a marriage situation, the other partner is totally drained and looks for a way of escape.

A man I chose to call Richard screamed for help when he reached what he described as “breaking point” in his relationship with his wife of five years. Mary, his wife wanted him to always be home on time to spend time with her and meet her emotional needs, while Richard asked for a little space for him to be able to think clearly as a man.

Each time he went to the gym from work, his wife would whine and lament the whole night; crowning it with withdrawal to the children’s room. She constantly makes accusation that her husband does not love or care for her; she wants more of him, while the man prays for just a little gap—if only my wife can engage her life in more productive activities, this union would be better.

When your spouse fails to explore life or not doing things for himself/herself, it makes you think; what if we were not married? You wonder why an adult would wait for the spouse to fix every little problem round the home and provide every needed financial support as well. Any time one partner depends solely on the other for survival, the tendency for control and manipulation sets in.

If it’s a man who is emotionally dependent on the wife, he might not be waiting on her for financial leading but would want her to see him as her source of life, her provider, protector, etc.  He’ll want his wife not to work or interact with others so he can be her god; he’s willing to go to any length to provide for her as long as she acknowledges his strength and be willing to say yes to all that he commands.

Here, the man derives relevance from feeling like a provider and finds himself doing things to always put the wife in this position of expectancy. Some women mistake this for love but somehow, they feel something is not right in this relationship when suddenly, friends are asked to stay off or movement seems to be highly monitored or totally restricted. A spouse who looks to the other for excess appreciation and comfort can go the extra mile to feed their addiction—lots of praises and respect, just like drug addicts are desperate each time they need a dose.

The truth about relationships is that ‘it won’t, on its own, give you happiness; you have to discover how to add value to your life and stop thinking that your spouse is responsible for your mood or situation. Learn how to move on; be a happy person. If you have developed yourself to be mature and organised before venturing into marriage, you’ll be a lot more fun to be with than a grumpy little brat, looking for who to shoulder his/her misfortunes.

People who are emotionally dependent on their spouses exude so much jealousy and demand unnecessary attention even at the expense of the other. Marriage was not designed to solve all your problems, so don’t expect your partner to meet all your needs or be the source of your joy. Real joy and satisfaction in life comes when you truly discover yourself and do what you were born to do.