From a young age we are taught to be independent and not rely on others for help. This is because being independent is a strength, which allows you to take care of yourself. Being independent does serve us well as it allows us to work hard to achieve our goals without needing to rely on others. However, while being independent is important when your are single, it is a different story when you are in a relationship. This is because if you never allow yourself to depend on your partner, then problems arise.
The line of whether to allow our partner to help and support us, or not to, can become blurred. We struggle with allowing them in, which can end up leaving them lonely, upset and excluded from our life. Thus, this proves how independence can be seen as a double-edged sword; on one hand, it is strong and wonderful to be so self-reliant. On the other hand, it becomes difficult to allow your partner in. Self-reliance can deprive you of connection, trust and support. It is a natural process to become emotionally dependent on our partner, hence, not allowing yourself this dependence, will rob you from forming an intimate relationship with them. To avoid this, you must learn to balance your independence and dependence; allow yourself to let your partner in.
5 ways to allow dependence into your relationship:
Communicate your feelings – Don’t be afraid to admit that you need help. Be honest and let your partner know what you need from them. In this way, they will value your honesty, be happily there for you and willing to help in any way they can.
Challenge your mindset – Be aware that it is actually helpful to depend on your partner. Being able to lean on them, share your deepest and darkest thoughts with them can promote trust and intimacy. Being aware that your partner will not run away when you open up to them will lead to secure and healthy attachment. The truth is that accepting help from others is actually a sign of strength rather than a weakness.
Use daily affirmations – Telling yourself positive daily affirmations, such as “I am open and ready to receive support”, “I am still an independent person, even if I ask for help” and “I can count on my partner” will help you believe it the more you say it to yourself. Try come up with your own positive affirmations, or use the ones I wrote, to be open with your partner.
Be real – You should never try to pretend to be someone you are not when you are with your partner. Always show them the real you, even if that includes showing them your vulnerable self. This will help you learn to trust your partner.
Let go – Yes, you are a capable and strong person but you are also a person who can reach out for help and let go. If you want to form a long lasting and loving relationship with your partner, learn to let go.
Being in a relationship can be an added bonus to your life and not a hindrance. It is a reminder that you do not need to go through life alone. Thus, the best way to help your relationship grow is to lean on one another for support.
If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.
Mandy is a Gestalt psychotherapist who enjoys working therapeutically with adults on various issues. These include general mental health and wellbeing. She also has experience working with anxiety, victims of domestic violence and eating disorders.
- Gaspard, T. (2015). How Being Too Self-Reliant Can Destroy Your Relationship. Retrieved from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/how-self-reliance-can-destroy-a-relationship_b_6071906
- Chappell Marsh, J. (n.d) Too Independent in Your Relationship? | LoveAndLifeToolBox. Retrieved from https://loveandlifetoolbox.com/too-independent-in-your-relationship/