Love is a powerful emotion that many of us experience throughout our lives. It’s amazing to open your heart to someone who has mutual feelings. But what if you think you’re in love but you’re really not? What if your attachment stems from an insecurity that drives your emotions? This describes how emotionally dependent people act. They live off affection and attention, making sure their relationships sustain them and provide them with stability. Here are five telltale signs that will shed light on your true motives.
You’re afraid to lose them
Let’s face it, all of us are afraid of losing the people we love. They bring happiness and change our lives in incredible ways, giving us more to look forward to in life. However, if you’re emotionally dependent, then you go to the extremes. Your fear of losing your partner will make you do anything to make sure they stay with you, whether it’s changing how you look or act, or being desperate. According to Exploring Your Mind on emotionally dependent people in relationships, “They long for protection and affection so intensely that they completely lose themselves in the relationship in their desire to maintain it, regardless of the actual quality of the relationship.” Thus, you revolve your life around your significant other, and base your decisions on their approval.
You get jealous if they hang out with others
Jealousy can happen in romance, which sparks due to mistrust and the prospect of someone else coming along to break the relationship. People who are truly in love shouldn’t be jealous of their partner, even if they hang out with members of the opposite sex. However, if you’re emotionally dependent, seeing them with friends or family makes you feel abandoned and worthless. This jealousy happens because emotionally dependent people need constant affirmation that they are loved and appreciated throughout the day. If they don’t receive daily affection, then their trust, stability and security take a nose-dive.
You think life without them is boring, lonely, and empty
When you’re in love, everything is wonderful. You feel fulfilled, you always have something to think about, and you don’t feel lonely or depressed. However, if you’re emotionally dependent, then you view life as an empty, boring expanse filled with loneliness without your partner. If they ever left you, then your life would be over. According to Dr. Margaret Paul on emotional dependence and relationships, “You are attaching your worth to another’s love, which is why you can’t live without that person.” Your friends, family or hobbies wouldn’t make things better or give you any enjoyment. This is because you have made your partner the focal point of the relationship and the reason why you exist.
You get anxious if they don’t speak to you
When you’re in love with someone, you want to spend as many waking hours with them as you can, but you don’t mind being apart and doing your own thing. If you’re emotionally dependent, then you cannot handle separation. Every hour spent not being with them or talking to them creates anxiety, and you start thinking that they don’t love you. This leads you to send frantic texts or calls to them, hoping they will respond and placate your fears. As aforementioned, emotionally dependent people need constant affirmation that they are loved and that they matter, and any separation is viewed as the ending of a relationship. All that matters is seeing them in person and knowing that they still love you.
You exercise control over them
It’s OK to be dominant in your relationship if you aren’t overbearing. If you’re emotionally dependent, on the other hand, you seek to control your partner’s actions and life based on your criteria for the relationship. You try to change their habits, hobbies, and even their style to make sure they fit your ideal image of them. You prevent them from hanging out with friends or family members, forcing them to make you a top priority. According to Scott Wetzler, psychology division chief at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, on codependent relationships and emotionally dependent people, “They’ll feel anxiety more consistently than any other emotion in the relationship, and they’ll spend a great deal of time and energy either trying to change their partner or trying to conform to their partner’s wishes.” Resistance is met with arguments, toxicity and desperation, all of which sour the relationship and sever the love your partner had for you.