Having a partner you can rely on (and vice versa) is important in ensuring healthy relationships, as both of you can support each other during challenging periods.
But when this dependency goes too far and you are relying on them to meet all your needs, then something’s not right.
This could cause a strain on the relationship and your partner and ultimately, cause you to lose your identity.
Today we’ll explore 8 signs that you may be overly dependent on your partner and how to overcome this!
1) Lack of independence
One of the clearest signs that you’ve become overly reliant on your partner is a lack of independence.
Do you have difficulty making decisions without them around? Perhaps you need to consult them and seek their approval before proceeding.
Note that this is different from seeking their views. Couples do tend to involve their partner when making decisions, especially big ones.
Here, I’m referring to couples who are unable to make even the simplest of decisions without direction from their partner.
For those who have partners who are always helping them with things such as navigating new environments, driving them around, or making bookings, they may not know how to do these alone.
They’ve become so dependent on their partner that they don’t see the importance of picking up these skills.
A lack of independence could also stunt personal growth, as you rely entirely on your partner for every little thing that you do.
2) Emotional reliance
Another sign of overreliance is having too much emotional reliance on them. You may find that you rely solely on your partner to meet your emotional needs.
When you’re feeling low, you expect them (no one else) to cheer you up. When you’re facing a difficult situation, they’re expected to provide assurance.
Now imagine yourself in this situation. Isn’t it tiring?
It’s important to have a support system that goes beyond your partner. Involve your family and close friends – people you trust, to give you the emotional support you require.
While you may feel the most comfortable with your partner, it’s unrealistic to expect them to meet all your emotional needs.
3) Neglecting your own interests
When was the last time you did something you enjoyed? Is your free time spent solely on doing things together, and exclusively on things that your partner likes?
While taking part in your partner’s hobbies and interests is a good way to learn more about the person, neglecting your personal interests is a sign that you’re too reliant on your partner.
This may stem from your desire to want to please or appease your partner. You may even think that their hobbies are better than yours, and want to be like them – smarter, cooler, more fun.
You may think that you’re keen to go along with whatever they do, but eventually, you may feel that there’s a part of you that’s been suppressed all this while.
4) Needing constant reassurance
During challenging or difficult times, partners may affirm their love for each other as a form of encouragement. It’s also common to turn to our partners for support.
And that’s okay.
What’s not okay is seeking constant affirmation of your partner’s love and commitment. This could stem from a fear of abandonment, and their affirmation gives you confidence that the relationship is heading in the right direction.
But what this does, is create a toxic environment where your partner has to ‘prove’ their love to you for you to feel safe.
This can take a toll on your partner’s mental health.
If left unchecked, this could result in you…
5) Being possessive and jealous
When I was in school, my friend got together with a girl who was really possessive.
It didn’t show at first, but as they got to know each other more, she’d constantly inspect his phone, get upset when he spoke to other girls (as friends, mind you), and even demand he shift family gatherings so that they could meet instead.
The last one was the final straw and he ended things with her. It was quite ugly.
What this revealed was her insecurity and distrust of him, which took a toll on the relationship, as well as my friend.
He had to repeatedly assure her that he loved her and it got to the point where it was just too much for him emotionally and mentally.
People who are overreliant on their partner may be so afraid of losing them that it causes them to act irrationally.
6) Fear of being alone
It could also stem from the fear of being alone.
They regard singlehood as something that they need to avoid at all costs.
This mindset is extremely damaging, as it could result in people staying in abusive relationships – just to escape singlehood.
They may also fear that without a partner, they’d have no one to turn to for support.
7) Unable to handle conflict
If you find that you’re always going along with whatever your partner says after a disagreement, you may be overly reliant on your partner.
You’re fearful that disagreeing with them may result in them leaving you. Therefore, you try your best not to offend them, even if the things that they do go against your values and beliefs.
If they ask you to do something for or with them, you find yourself giving in, even if it makes you uncomfortable.
8) Loss of identity
Overall, the abovementioned signs will eventually lead to a loss of identity. You may not recognize the person you were before you met your partner. Friends and family may also notice a change within you.
Your closely held beliefs and values may be replaced by your partner’s. You may start disliking what you once enjoyed, and instead, would rather do things that your partner enjoys.
While it’s normal for couples to influence each other, losing your individuality for the sake of the relationship is not.
What you can do
If you realize that you relate to most or all of these signs, the first step is to acknowledge this situation you’re in and desire to change.
Then, get comfortable spending time on your own to find yourself again. Hang out with your friends and family, and re-learn what it’s like to find support in people other than your partner.
If need be, speak to a therapist to identify the root cause of your behavior.
This could help in understanding your actions and helping you move forward by unlearning negative thought patterns and reframing how you view relationships, and yourself.
Learn to see yourself for who you are, as an entity who was whole before the relationship and during the relationship (without the need for someone to ‘complete’ you).
If you’re overly dependent on your partner, fret not. It’s always better to start now than later. It’ll take time to address these issues (sometimes really, deep-seated issues), but remember to have patience with yourself.