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What is healthy dependence in a relationship?

What is healthy dependence in a relationship?

July 18, 2024

In consultation I meet people who can not say why they are with their partner. "I suppose I love him", "he makes me feel safe", "what will he do if I am not?" ... It is sometimes difficult to differentiate between a dependency on that person and love.

It is important to emphasize that The main objective within a couple relationship is not to be completely independent , as they have always taught us. Of course, we are independent beings with our personality, our traits, our tastes or hobbies.

Once we are in a relationship, if we operate completely independently what will happen is that we will find ourselves in a dysfunctional relationship. There will be no space for communication, for leisure etc. Therefore, we are going to dismiss the idea that it is important to be solely independent and let's relate through a healthy dependence .


  • Related article: "The 7 keys to have a healthy relationship"

Healthy dependence on relationships

What does it mean? Human beings are social beings, that is, we need contact with others . If we are completely independent, we find ourselves in a dysfunctional bonding pattern.

On the contrary, this link or healthy dependence is given to others when we are able to manage our own emotions and we are also able to regulate the emotions of the other person and we feel comfortable and confident in the relationship with others .

In the case of being an independent person, the second factor would not be fulfilled. These people do not feel comfortable in privacy; in this case there will be a great need for self-regulation. Conversely, a dependent person will feel very well within this intimacy but not autonomously , there will be a need for confusion with the other person.


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The asymmetries in the couple

In consultation, it is very common to find couples in which one of the members is more dependent and the other more independent . What will happen in these cases?

The most dependent person will start up all the care that they consider necessary for their partner, without it having requested them. It will put aside everything you need and want. Through these care they will obtain the reinforcement they need for their well-being, since they will normally be people with a damaged self-esteem. They will also need the opinion of the other when making decisions and usually do not put limits on others as a way to protect themselves.

This type of patients feel that the relationship with their partner gives them security and stability. This is the first differentiation I would like to make.


What these people feel is security for being accompanied , thinking about loneliness gives them a lot of fear and they prefer this type of relationship, in which they feel a lot of discomfort, than to end it. The discomfort is due to that constant fear they have of losing the other and to prevent this from happening they start all the care, giving themselves the distrust. And the first premise of which we speak so that a healthy relationship is given is the trust in the intimacy with the other. In this case we are not in a horizontal relationship, that is, in a relationship of equals.

In more dependent people we are with a more submissive profile , so the person will never feel safe. They will only feel safe when their partner reaffirms how well they have done something, or how well they have made a decision. It is then when you can confuse that a person feels safe in the relationship. But if you realize the basis of this type of relationship is fear and therefore insecurity.

How can we identify if we are in a healthy relationship?

First of all it is important feel safe with ourselves , keep in mind that wellbeing depends on oneself and not on our partner. If we seek welfare in the other person and our emotions depend on it, we find ourselves in a dysfunctional relationship, we would not be regulating our own emotions and we are placing responsibility externally.

It is also important that we know what our needs are , as well as those of our partner. Once we have identified them it is important that we express them and move in that direction to get what we want. Normally in carers it is difficult to identify what those needs are. I propose that you do a reflective work and focus on what generates well-being or what you need to feel good.

Imagine a piece of land where we are going to build a house.The first thing we are going to have to build are the foundations, without these our house will not resist and probably with the minimum movement it will collapse. Relationships are like houses, they need to have a solid foundation. These are communication, trust, respect and equality . If these premises are not given, what will happen is that we are not in a healthy relationship, and that is when the different dysfunctional bonding patterns will start up from what we saw earlier.

It is important to keep in mind that a healthy and accepting relationship with ourselves is required to have functional relationships. Otherwise, we will be depositing our discomfort and experiences in the relationship added to those of the other person, allowing us to understand the different relationships in which we have found ourselves.


Healthy Relationships vs Codependent Relationships (ft. Healthy Boundaries) (July 2024).


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