5 Risks of Emotional Dependence on a Significant Other

Caring deeply for your significant other is healthy, but when you start neglecting your own needs, an unhealthy emotional dependence can develop.
5 Risks of Emotional Dependence on a Significant Other
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 27 May, 2022

Have you ever experienced extreme emotional dependence? Has anyone ever been overly dependent on you and has barely let you have personal space?

Emotional dependence is a very common problem and is worth taking into consideration, for your emotional health and balance.

The risks of emotional dependence

Loving a person demands reciprocity and compromise. We all know that it’s inevitable to become dependent on the person you’re in love with. This is both understandable and logical.

When someone becomes part of your life in such an intimate and special way, it’s common to worry about everything they do, express and think.

But it’s necessary to maintain an equilibrium for the well-being of your personal emotional health and integrity. 

Some people give everything for the other person until they become empty or turn into someone without any direction and without being acknowledged. You have to be careful.

Today we’ll give you 5 reasons why you should be very aware of the principles of emotional dependence.

1. You put the wants of another person before your own needs

Be careful with this. It’s very common to unknowingly establish the classic toxic relationships in which the desires and wishes of the other person come before your own.

And the problem is that you do it freely and lovingly, because it’s how you feel and in some ways, you’re just seeking the happiness of the person that you love.

But one day you’ll get frustrated. You’ll realize that they aren’t keeping you in mind or acknowledging you in the same way, or even at all.

What’s happening is that they’ve been taking advantage of your emotions and manipulating you like a puppet.

2. Your happiness depends only on the person you love

Your significant other is your night and day, to put it one way. They’re the center of your universe in which you’re almost on a second plane. 

Your partner will become more important than your family, your job, or your goals. You put aside your self-esteem to focus everything on this person.

Is that right? Absolutely. Can we understand it? This is where the risk of emotional dependence lies. Forgetting about yourself to focus on another person.

There will come a time when you realize that you’ve gone overboard and that you feel a little empty and with your self-esteem harmed.

5 Risks of Emotional Dependence on a Significant Other

3. It’s hard to say no

Saying no is a rejection. And rejection is something that cannot be understood when you’re so in love.

How can you deny something from the person you love? How can you choose something different than what your significant other says?

We have to oppose it, be bothered by it, or worry about it, which is why many people ignore the need to be assertive—in other words, to defend and express what they feel, believe, or need.

4. If you’re not wanted by them, you’re nothing

It may seem extreme, but there are many people who get to this point of thinking. If these people don’t receive the daily display of love, they think they’re not wanted.

If they aren’t in a relationship, they look at themselves as if they were the most undesirable people in the world. They identify with personalities that cannot understand living without another person, for example.

They need to be loved to feel good about themselves, to value themselves. If they don’t feel secure with another person on their side, they experience extreme unhappiness.

This is unhealthy, and if it sounds like you, you should look into what’s causing this mentality.

5. The risk of becoming controlling

Emotional dependence is an obsession. And obsession demands control, and feeds a lack of confidence and jealousy. 

You’ve surely experienced it before. People who become controlling because they’re very dependent on you, what you do, what you don’t do, if you show them you care, if you give them reasons to be insecure…

It’s a very unhealthy lifestyle, that envelops you in periods of high stress and emotional suffering.

You should be careful with this type of toxic relationship where the emotional dependence can directly affect your own health, freedom, and self-esteem.

You should love intensely, there’s no doubt about that. But you should always be balanced and mature, remembering that you’re also important.


This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.