Do you feel overly dependent on your partner, or that they are too dependent on you? Finding the right balance between relationship dependency while maintaining your individuality is important.
An imbalance in dependency can be a real burden in a relationship and take a toll on intimacy. Creating a relationship with healthy interdependence requires each of you to feel empowered as individuals, and be willing to rely and be relied on.
What Is Relationship Dependency?
Relationship dependency is an unbalanced dynamic between two people. Either one person is overly reliant on the other for emotional support, or both are so dependent on one another for their happiness that they lose track of their individuality. Either type of dependency can lead to difficulties in the relationship.
In the first case, one person will suffer from unmet needs while their partner becomes overwhelmed by their expectations. In the second case, each person in the relationship spends so much time focused on giving the other person attention, that they themselves can become isolated.
If you or your partner, or both of you, are emotionally overdependent in your relationship, it may be due to childhood trauma, which can linger throughout life. It could also be linked to societal pressures. Some cultures promote the idea that it’s one person’s job to make their partner happy, or that relationships are supposed to be our main source of happiness.
What Is Relationship Empowerment?
Relationship empowerment is when both you and your partner become aware of your own and each other’s desires, boundaries, capacities, and needs. At the same time, you realize that not everything will be perfectly understood or met in your relationship. It also means that you take responsibility for communicating your truth, while making space for your partner to do the same by not trying to control their feelings or choices.
When you achieve relationship empowerment, you consciously make relationship choices and take full responsibility for those decisions. It also means you support your partner’s empowerment pathway by respecting their feelings in a way that both partners feel supported, understood, respected, and loved.
How to Empower Yourself in a Relationship
Your role in your relationship and life is to be unapologetically yourself. The same goes for your partner. That said, relationships are frequently more complicated than that — people are unique and require different things to feel satisfied. But there are ways to get away from relationship dependency and empower yourself while enjoying your partnership. Here are 4 tips to get you started:
1. Don’t Try to be Completely Self-Sufficient
Some clients ask us how they can be self-sufficient in their relationship, and we tell them they don’t have to be. You and your partner can provide each other with help and support which can significantly benefit your well-being. After all, there is no point in teaming up if you never help or care for each other.
You should rely on your partner for whatever they are able and willing to do for you. If you have a partner who is better than you at budgeting, interfacing with doctors, or keeping their finger on the pulse of your children’s emotions, then, by all means, rely on your partner in these areas. Ensure they’re comfortable with and willing to take the lead; otherwise, unfair expectations may cause resentment over time.
2. Share Desires Instead of Creating Expectations
There is a lot of talk about communicating your needs in a relationship. And while this is important, the next step is to see if your partner wants to or is capable of meeting those needs. If you create expectations about how they are supposed to be – instead of seeing who they actually are – you will likely end up with a lot of disappointment.
3. Stop Blaming Your Partner for Your Feelings
You can’t always control what happens to you — what stimuli come at you over the course of a day, or month, or relationship. But you can control how you understand and process the emotions these experiences create. Empowering yourself inside a relationship means accepting that you and you alone are responsible for the way you handle your feelings — even if those feelings were stirred up by something outside of your control.
Rather than blaming your partner for the way you feel, look inward and try to understand the specific causes of triggers. If they are tied to your partner’s actions, have a frank but blame-free discussion to see if they are willing and able to shift the behavior that is upsetting you. In case they’re not, it’s time to let yourself feel and process your disappointment. If they weren’t caused by something your partner did, ask if they can help you process.
4. Clearly Communicate the Division of Labor
It’s important that you and your partner have a clear understanding of the household division of labor. If you wait for your partner to act on something unprompted, like run the dishwasher or mop the floors, they will likely let you down. Not only does this waste your time, but you also inadvertently cause yourself to feel disempowered.
And … Hello Empowerment
Do these examples sound like dynamics that are present in your relationship? Check out this directory of Somatica-trained sex and relationship coaches ready to help you transform your relationship dependency into empowerment.
If you want to go beyond empowering yourself and truly metamorphose your life through healing, self-acceptance, and growth, we recommend exploring the Somatica Training for personal growth.