For many people in the dating world, the idea of finding someone who makes them happy is the most important part of relationships. While you want your partner to contribute to your happiness, relying on them to make you happy can lead to unhappiness and an unfulfilling relationship.
You must have hobbies or other things outside your relationship that make you happy. If you feel like you’re struggling to find satisfaction, have low interest in hobbies you used to enjoy, feel like you’re dependent on your partner to give your life meaning, or are experiencing low moods, BetterHelp has resources and professionals that may provide some hope and support.
Learning how to be emotionally independent will make you happier in the long run and lead to a more fulfilling relationship for both you and your partner.
What is Emotional Dependency?
When you’re in a relationship, your partner should be a source of emotional support and happiness. However, relying on them to meet all your emotional needs is unhealthy, especially when you become unable to meet them yourself.
You may be emotionally dependent on your partner if you turn to them for support and relief as soon as you feel distressed instead of managing your emotions on your own first. Other signs you may experience emotional dependency include:
- Idealizing your partner
- Relying on your partner to give your life meaning
- Fearing rejection or abandonment
- Needing constant reassurance
- Feeling anxious or empty when you’re away from your partner
- Depending on your partner to restore your confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth
- Being unable to trust their feelings
- Depending on your partner to make you happy
How to Find Happiness Without Relying on Your Partner
Being emotionally dependent on your partner can cause significant stress in your relationship and can lead to poor self-care. When you can’t self-soothe or regulate your emotions on your own, your whole life can be affected.
When your happiness revolves solely around one person, in this case, your romantic partner, it can be difficult for you to find fulfillment on your own. Relying on your partner to find your self-worth can lead to insecurity and trigger fears of what might happen if they break up with you.
Emotional dependence can also result in poor self-care. Constantly worrying about how your partner feels about you or the distress that may result when they cannot meet all your needs may take up a lot of space in your head.
If your mind is full of distress or stress, it may be difficult to enjoy activities that make you happy. In addition, it may be harder for you to enjoy spending time with your family or friends. Both are important for you and are a big part of meeting your needs.
While being able to lean on others is an integral part of any healthy relationship, you also need to trust in yourself and find ways to make yourself happy. Some ways to start finding happiness within yourself include:
- Embracing your emotions
- Finding activities that make you feel good
- Learning to enjoy alone time
1. Embrace Your Emotions
One of the biggest reasons we become emotionally dependent on other people is that we are uncomfortable sitting with difficult emotions. If you find it hard to sit with painful emotions, you’re not alone. Most people have trouble sitting with negative thoughts and feelings.
In order to learn how to sit with complicated feelings, you have to be able to identify the emotions you’re experiencing. If you don’t know the emotion you’re experiencing, it’s harder for you to sit with the feeling.
Identifying the emotion you’re experiencing is key because your feelings tell you something. For example, unpleasant emotions tell you when a situation is not right, safe, or helpful. Negative emotions are just as important as positive ones because life is full of ups and downs.
You can learn more about yourself and embrace your emotions by:
- Enjoying time in nature
- Spending time by yourself
2. Find Activities That Make You Feel Good
When you’re learning how to become more emotionally independent, you need to find activities that make you feel good both physically and mentally. If you don’t know where to start, try a new activity each week until you find one or two that makes you feel good.
Once you find a hobby or two that interests you, you can start adding them to your weekly or daily routine. Adding enjoyable activities to your day can boost your mood while teaching you to be comfortable spending time by yourself or with friends.
Instead of adding only hobbies to your daily or weekly routine, you can also consider exercising regularly. Exercise helps improve your mood, outlook on life, and overall health. For example, you could start with a light walk once a week and work up to running, swimming, or weightlifting.
Pilates and yoga are also great ways to boost your mood without putting a lot of strain on your body. You may not notice the effects of these activities right away. However, as you start to learn more about yourself and what you’re capable of, you’ll begin to feel better.
As you start to discover what you’re capable of and begin to realize your potential, your self-esteem will have the boost it needs. You will believe you can do hard things, sit with uncomfortable emotions, and find happiness within yourself.
3. Spend Time by Yourself
To stop relying on your partner for your happiness, you must be able to find happiness within yourself. By becoming more comfortable with alone time, you will start to develop more emotional independence.
If you have spent all your time with your partner, learning how to be by yourself can be overwhelming. Engaging in activities and hobbies that you enjoy is a simple way to become more comfortable spending time on your own.
While being with people is essential, so is alone time. Not only does alone time teach you how to be comfortable with your own emotions, but it also allows you to learn more about yourself. So whether you find yourself journaling, doing household chores, or enjoying new hobbies, you will be recharged and happier.
Emotional independence is a tricky thing to master. But, learning how to find happiness within yourself without relying on your partner can lead to healthier, more fulfilling relationships. In addition, the joy you find within yourself is stronger than any happiness you can get from your partner.
By finding happiness outside your relationship, you can learn to love others in a more sustainable, more rewarding way.