Dependency isn’t always harmful but it has the potential to turn out that way. For example, one study found that people in unhealthy codependent relationships were more likely to have recurring depression. If you find yourself acting in some of the following ways, your relationship might be toxic without you knowing it.
Your happiness depends only on your partner’s mood. You try to make sure your partner is happy even when it might make you unhappy. It’s OK to be sympathetic, but when you’re only satisfied when your partner is content, it may mean you’re a bit too dependent. It’s still important to be your own person with your own mind, otherwise, you’ll be miserable all the time because you’re constantly stressed about how your partner is feeling. Don’t let your partner’s mood take over yours.
You can’t do anything without your partner. You won’t let your significant other do anything without you. You find yourself making excuses for not going to things because your partner can’t go with you. You barely see your friends anymore and when you do, it’s never independently. It’s crucial to maintain your own identity for your emotional health, and being able to do things separately is a big part of that.
Your interests mimic your partner’s. You used to like mountain biking and hiking, but now you love poker and video games because that’s what your partner is into. You don’t do any of the hobbies that you used to love. It might make you happy at first because it’s making your partner is happy, but you’ll lose yourself in the process and you’ll eventually feel like your life is missing something.
Your personality or physical appearance has changed based on what your significant other likes. You used to be outgoing and the life of the party and now you’re an introvert who doesn’t even go to parties anymore. Maybe your partner likes short hair so you cut yours to match even if you weren’t asked to. Hair isn’t a big deal, but this behavior has the potential to turn toxic. For example, if you end up trying to lose weight solely because your partner says you should. If they don’t like you the way you are, you shouldn’t be with that person.
You always give up your needs in favor of your partner’s. It’s normal to want to cater to your partner’s needs sometimes, but you also need to meet your own as well. When all you do is give and don’t get anything in return, the relationship can become unhealthy and imbalanced. You may end up exploding at some point, and you might feel empty inside because you’ve ignored yourself for so long.
You get angry if your partner gives attention to anyone else. You get mad when your partner talks to, spends time with, or helps other people, even when it’s a best friend or a sibling. You make up stupid excuses for why your partner shouldn’t be talking to each person. You want their attention to be fully on you at all times, even if you know it’s hurting their other relationships. It’s fine to want some attention and validation, but allow your partner to nurture other relationships too. Otherwise, they’ll become resentful and dissatisfied.
All you do is focus on your relationship. You stop having any other relationships too. You sacrifice your friends and family, even if your partner doesn’t ask you to. You literally don’t do anything else because you’re so focused on making sure your relationship is perfect. You’re obsessed with making sure you guys are solid, even when there aren’t any obvious problems, which can actually create relationship issues. This will only make you unhappy and unfulfilled.
You wouldn’t survive financially without your partner. Not only can psychological dependency be detrimental, but financial dependency on top of it can be even worse. It’s fine to have an agreement for one partner to be the main provider, but you should at least have a backup plan if for some reason you split up. And no, I don’t think it’s pessimistic because it’s important to make sure you don’t completely lose the ability to survive in this world on your own. Anything can happen. Also, you never want to feel like you’re stuck with someone because you can’t afford to be without them.
You ignore red flags and stay with your partner anyway. For example, if they become abusive or you’re fighting constantly, you still stay in the relationship even if you know deep down that it’s unhealthy and that maybe you should break up. You hold onto the relationship so tight because you’ve become so dependent on that person that you’d feel lost without them. When you feel like you’d be nothing without them even though they don’t treat you well, your dependency is definitely toxic. If you’re not sure, just pay attention to the signs.
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