We all yearn for a close connection in our romantic relationships.
But sometimes, that closeness can morph into something less healthy—something that resembles codependency rather than interdependence.
If you’re here, you might be wondering if the emotional reliance your partner seems to have on you is normal or if it edges toward excessive.
So, how do you know if your partner is just deeply in love or if they’re too emotionally dependent on you?
After reflecting deeply on my own past relationships and observing those around me, I’ve compiled a list of specific behaviors that may raise a red flag.
If these behaviors feel familiar, it may be time to address some significant concerns.
1) They are excessively clingy
We all love a good cuddle session with our partner, especially on those cold winter nights or after a long, stressful day.
But what if the cuddling becomes constant? What if your partner can’t seem to let you go, even for a moment?
This might not be just affection; it could be a sign of too much emotional dependency.
When your partner can’t bear to be without you, even when it’s necessary for work, social obligations, or personal time, they might be too emotionally dependent on you.
They may fear being alone, thus clinging to you as their safety net.
This behavior can be emotionally draining for you and unhealthy for them. Both partners should feel secure in their individual identities and capable of standing on their own two feet, even within the context of a romantic relationship.
2) They constantly seek reassurance
It’s natural to seek validation from our partners from time to time. A comforting word, a loving gesture, a reaffirming nod—these are all parts of a healthy relationship.
On the other hand, some people, when it comes to relationships, tend to be constantly looking for reassurance and validation for their feelings, decisions, and self-worth.
And this constant need for reassurance might go beyond the boundaries of normal validation and could be a sign of emotional dependency.
Your partner may have low self-esteem and rely on you to feel good about themselves. They might doubt their worthiness and therefore seek constant affirmation from you.
This behavior can put undue pressure on you and create an imbalance in your relationship. Even as a loving partner, it’s still not your responsibility to be their only source of self-esteem.
3) They struggle with decision-making
Decision-making is an integral part of life. We all face choices, big and small, every day.
However, if your partner can’t seem to make decisions without you—if even the smallest choices, like what to have for dinner or which movie to watch, become an ordeal unless you’re there to make the choice—it becomes a sign of too much emotional dependency.
I know, because this is something that happened to me in the past.
I remember a time in one of my past relationships where this was a daily occurrence. My partner would struggle with even the most basic decisions unless I was there to guide them.
At first, I thought it was sweet, a sign of their trust in me. But over time, it became clear that this was more than trust—it was dependency.
This constant need for guidance can be exhausting and is a common sign of emotional dependency. It suggests that your partner might not have confidence in their own judgment and relies too heavily on you for guidance.
While it’s okay to help your partner make decisions from time to time, it’s just as important for them to develop their decision-making skills. This is an essential step towards achieving a balanced and healthier relationship dynamic.
4) They frequently express jealousy
Jealousy is a common emotion that many of us experience in our relationships.
If your partner constantly feels threatened by your interactions with others and expresses jealousy without any substantial reason, it’s a red flag that shows that they’re too emotionally dependent on you.
According to Pyschology Today, jealousy often stems from insecurity and fear of abandonment. These feelings can be exacerbated in individuals who are emotionally dependent, as they tend to rely too much on their partner for emotional stability.
The best thing to do here is to ease these feelings of jealousy and reassure your partner, but also encourage them to develop their self-confidence and trust in the relationship.
5) They struggle with your success
Success is something that should be celebrated, especially when it involves the ones we love.
But what if your partner struggles with your success? What if they seem uncomfortable or insecure every time you achieve something noteworthy?
I recall a time in a past relationship when I was promoted at work. Instead of expressing joy or pride, my partner seemed uneasy. They became distant and irritable, and it took me a while to understand that they were struggling with my success.
This behavior can be a sign of emotional dependency.
Your partner might feel threatened by your achievements, fearing that you might outgrow them or leave them behind. This fear often stems from their own insecurities and their excessive reliance on you for self-worth.
When this happens, try to have an open conversation with your partner about their feelings. Assure them that your individual achievements don’t diminish the value of your relationship but instead should strengthen it.
6) They have few interests outside of you
Having shared interests is a wonderful part of any relationship, allowing you to spend quality time together and create lasting memories.
So what happens if your partner has few or no interests outside of you?
If they’ve abandoned their hobbies, passions, or social life and their world revolves entirely around you, it might be a sign of emotional dependency.
When your partner relies on you to fill every waking moment, it can become overwhelming. It’s important for both partners to maintain their individuality and personal interests even within a relationship.
This helps in nurturing a healthy bond where both individuals can grow independently.
7) They express fear of abandonment
Fear of abandonment is a common feeling for many people.
But if your partner frequently expresses this fear and becomes anxious at the thought of you leaving them, even in non-threatening situations, it’s a sign of emotional dependency.
This constant fear can put strain on your relationship and lead to behaviors such as clinginess or excessive jealousy.
If this sounds like your partner, try to reassure them about your commitment and encourage them to seek help if their fear becomes too overwhelming or affects their daily life.
8) They always need to be in contact with you
In today’s digital age, staying connected with our loved ones is easier than ever.
A partner who needs to be in constant contact with you and becomes anxious when they can’t reach you immediately is one who is too emotionally dependent on you.
And this constant need for communication can be draining and create an unhealthy dynamic in your relationship.
It’s important for both partners to respect each other’s personal space and time. Remember, being in a relationship doesn’t mean being connected at the hip 24/7.
9) They often feel victimized
Everyone has moments where they feel wronged or victimized.
But if your partner frequently feels this way and tends to blame others, including you, for their problems, it’s a sign of emotional dependency.
This behavior suggests that your partner may be relying on you to take responsibility for their feelings.
While it’s okay to support your partner, it’s not your job to fix all their problems or always take the blame.
10) They struggle with self-care
Self-care is an essential part of our lives.
If your partner struggles with taking care of their basic needs, such as eating, sleeping, or personal hygiene, when you’re not around, it might be a sign of emotional dependency.
This reliance on you for basic self-care tasks is not just unhealthy for them but also burdensome for you.
Encourage your partner to take responsibility for their own well-being and seek professional help if necessary.
Remember, a healthy relationship involves two individuals who can care for themselves while also caring for each other.