Couple: how to differentiate a relationship with emotional dependence from a healthy one

Couple: how to differentiate a relationship with emotional dependence from a healthy one

There are times when most of us miss the red flags in a relationship.. We get stuck with unhealthy patterns and tend to normalize them until it reaches an excruciating point where we try to break free. One of those negative relationship traits is emotional dependence. It is a pattern in which one person controls, dominates and maintains the relationship, while the other depends.

The concept emerged in the 1940s and was associated with families with a history of substance abuse., but later expanded to include any dysfunctional relationships. One of the partners is too needy and dependent on the other, who, in turn, needs to feel needed. In such a relationship, the codependent partner may have physical needs, emotional and financial and planning your life around the dominant partner.

An emotionally dependent relationship, boundaries are not clearly defined, and partners are often held together for personal gain. Reasons may include stigma or shame about leaving the relationship, financial investments, and children, if any. Codependency should not be confused with dependency in a relationship. The first is not so harmful.

Relationships are complicated

Relationships are complicated

Unlike relationships with emotional dependence, a healthy relationship is when the couple consider themselves equal and depend on each other to maintain a healthy relationship. The differences are listed for you.

Value for each other

Both people depend on each other for love and support.

Each member of the couple feels used and may even find joy in making extreme sacrifices. The other person is satisfied with getting everything without making any effort.


Both people maintain the relationship on an equal footing and prioritize the other’s preferences.

The codependent couple has no identity, values, personality, or interests outside of their codependent relationship.


The members of the couple find ways to communicate and express their feelings, needs, desires, and emotions. They prefer to resolve conflicts through effective communication and listening to each other.

There is no adequate flow of communication between the couple, since both do not recognize or prioritize their feelings. As long as your needs are met, both are fine.

Signs that you should not miss

Attempts to please

Codependent couples find happiness and satisfaction by keeping their partners happy. They feel like they have no choice but to please their partner. Therefore, they ignore their wants and needs and direct all their energies to keeping their partners happy.

Have low self-esteem

Both members of a codependent relationship lack self-esteem. One partner is completely dependent on the other, while the other needs them for a purpose. The dependent person tends to stick around even when they know that the partner is hurtful and disrespectful and that the relationship is not working.


In a codependent relationship, you can always have an overwhelming sense of emptiness and desolation. Even if the couple leaves for a few hours, you are constantly worried that they won’t come back. You try to convince yourself that it is because you care about them, while the truth is that knowing the whereabouts of your partner makes you feel better.

Always avoid arguments

If your partner is unhappy about something and starts arguing, does he always keep quiet to avoid aggravating the problem? Do you avoid defending yourself? Are you afraid that raising your voice could anger your partner and leave you? If so, you are trapped in a codependent relationship.

You are concerned about the perception of others

In a codependent relationship, a couple may feel compelled to get stuck in a relationship. There may be pressure from family or friends and relatives. If you constantly feel peer pressure and you worry about what others might think if you leave, you are stuck in a codependent relationship. You may even feel unworthy and blame yourself for the unhappy situation.

If you identified these signs in yourself, you should go to a professional.

Keep reading: Signs that you suffer from emotional dependence in your relationships

The relationship can become disrespectful if you don't set limits

The relationship can become disrespectful if you don’t set limits

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