Relationships are a wonderful growing experience, but they can also hold us back at times.
The key to relationship success is to look at the weak spots and work on them.
Being with somebody you love and trust is an excellent thing, but when you or they become reliant in a toxic or codependent form, it’s another matter entirely.
Let’s dive in and take a look at the telltale signs that your partner is dependent on you in an unhealthy way.
1) They put you on a pedestal
Overly dependent partners tend to put you on a pedestal.
They make you the source of their happiness (and unhappiness).
In short, they expect you to take ownership of their life.
This dependent mindset only leads in a bad direction: if you buy into it, you become codependent and linked to them in a toxic way.
If you don’t buy into it, they react by becoming upset, depressed and feeling rejected.
2) They are clingy and give you no space
The overly dependent partner is insanely clingy.
They can’t go more than an hour without being around you or texting or messaging you.
Your every move is of interest to them and it starts to feel like you’re being tracked and need to give progress reports every few minutes.
From their point of view it’s just because they love you so much and want to know what you’re up to.
From your point of view, it can reach a point where you think: “get a life!”
3) They want your undivided attention and approval
Partners who rely on you for everything can’t stand your attention being taken up with someone else or something else.
They want your eyes and ears trained on them as much as possible.
They’re talking while you’re cooking or folding laundry. They’re texting when you’re in the middle of work or taking an exam.
They’re asking if they look OK after you’ve already told them many times they look OK.
It becomes exhausting and you begin wondering why they seem to have no basis of worth and self-sufficiency within themselves.
4) They don’t like when you spend time with friends
On the subject of wanting your undivided attention, it’s not just theory.
The dependent partner actually wants you around as much as possible.
They don’t like it whatsoever if you’re out with friends or anybody who’s not them. They even prefer that you invite them to work events and functions if possible.
The idea of you giving other people your attention and interest instead of them, leaves the dependent partner feeling very insecure and troubled.
5) They get you to validate your feelings for them
Partners who are overly dependent will get you to validate how they feel.
This can get truly bizarre.
“Is it weird I feel that way?” they ask.
You shrug, confounded. How are you supposed to know if it’s weird? Who made you judge and jury of their emotions or ideas?
It becomes like a maze of questions in which you are expected to weigh in and validate the feelings your partner has and tell them whether it’s justified.
Running feelings or ideas by you is one thing, but frequently asking you if their feelings are justified is something else entirely and crosses the line into unhealthy dependency.
6) They pressure you to make decisions
Overly dependent partners rely on you to make decisions for them.
They also rely on you to know what to do all the time, even during stressful and chaotic situations.
This can lead to a really one-sided relationship in which one partner expects the other to basically handle everything when it comes to choices.
That might sound doable in theory, but in reality it becomes a major drag.
If you have a partner who can’t make decisions in their own life and expects you to step in and do it, you’re likely to start feeling understandably frustrated and distressed.
7) They play the victim and guilt trip you
The highly dependent partner alternates between playing the victim and being overly pleasant (see next point).
They are not above acting like a victim and trying to make you feel guilty when you displease them.
This is usually done in the most indirect way possible.
They show you that your actions have hurt them and imply that if you really cared about them you would do XYZ.
If you do XYZ, it turns out you were also supposed to do ABC as well.
The list never ends once you fall into this trap.
8) They act like everything’s hunky-dory when it’s not
Another thing that an unhealthily dependent partner will do is send mixed signals.
They are so dependent on you that they will put on a show about how great they’re doing even when they are, in fact, struggling deeply.
Everything is fine, they insist.
They’re willing to pretend they’re fine just to make you happy even when they’re not fine.
9) They are passive-aggressive and unpredictable
Having a passive-aggressive partner makes you feel like you constantly need to walk on eggshells.
You can never be quite sure what will set them off, but it’s usually not what you think.
You say one thing wrong and suddenly they’re all over you, but another day you’re confrontational and they shrug, passively letting it go.
You’re never sure which setting they’re on or when they’ll switch.
But they blame you for whatever goes wrong and it’s so unpredictable that you yourself often end up becoming quite passive, hoping they’ll just stop being so erratic and dramatic.
10) They issue ultimatums if you leave them
The worst thing about an overly dependent partner is that they will issue ultimatums for what they will do if you leave them.
“If you leave me I swear I’ll…”
The worst ultimatum, of course, is that your partner claims their life will be ruined and that they will end their life if you leave.
This is the ultimate example of somebody putting all their value in your hands in an unhealthy way and ties back to the first point.
Love is one thing, and love is priceless.
But when love leads somebody into issuing ultimatums, they are pursuing it in the wrong way and not valuing themselves enough.
Dependency vs. interdependency
Being dependent on someone is much different than interdependence.
A relationship is meant to have interdependence, or ways that you and your partner trust and help each other voluntarily.
But dependence as a set of expectations and unhealthy attachments is something else entirely.
Placing your value and future in the hands of somebody else is never a good idea, no matter how much you love them.
As the signs above show, a dependent partner can quickly sabotage themselves and the relationship you have together.
It’s vital that self-respect and self-motivation are also developed, because no relationship can be a one-man or a one-woman show.