You want to lean on him.
You want to rely on him.
You want him to be your rock when life gets you down.
But you’ve heard that the best relationships are interdependent, not codependent. It’s not his job to make you happy. Your needs aren’t his responsibility. You’ve got to take care of yourself.
That’s what so many of us have been told, and it makes a lot of sense.
But is it true?
Needs Aren’t Bad
Human beings are social animals. Our social bonds are as important to our survival as food and water.
For proof, consider that loneliness is as bad for you as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. It increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, even Alzheimer’s.
So it’s not true that you shouldn’t need anyone. We ALL need someone.
In particular, we need a “special someone” that we have a secure bond with.
This person acts like the solid ground beneath our feet. No matter what happens, we know that we can always run to them and be comforted. They will always be there for us.
Most of us experience that special relationship as children.
Do you remember what you did as a child when you got hurt or got upset? You probably ran to your parents. They cuddled you, comforted you, and reassured you.
Children gain confidence by having a secure base from which they can explore. If they get frightened, they can return to their parent for reassurance. Comfort doesn’t make them clingy. Rather, it gives them the courage to try again.
This is known as the “dependency paradox”…
And it’s not just for children.
Adults thrive when they know they can completely depend on someone, too.
Don’t Be Ashamed to Depend on Him
When our partners provide us with the emotional support we need, we become more confident in our ability to tackle challenges on our own.
It sounds crazy that you can become more independent by depending on your partner.
But that’s what Dr. Brooke Feeney from Carnegie Mellon University discovered.
She ran a series of tests on couples that revealed just how much emotional support matters.
When couples knew they could rely on one another, they were better at solving challenging tasks on their own. They were also more likely to have personal goals, independent of each other.
The most confident people had partners who were highly responsive to their needs and didn’t mind being depended on. It’s what being in a relationship is all about, isn’t it? Noticing when your loved one needs that extra support and giving it without hesitation.
But maybe you’ve been in relationships where you couldn’t rely on your guy for emotional support.
He didn’t want to deal with your “messy emotions.” He wanted you to go to your girlfriends when you needed to talk about your problems. He just wanted to have fun together and keep things uncomplicated.
As a result, you were never sure if you were going to get your emotional needs met. You didn’t feel as confident. You took fewer risks, because you knew you wouldn’t have a soft landing if you happened to fall.
That’s not the kind of relationship that gives you wings to fly.
Put THIS on Your Must-Have List
When you’re thinking about the qualities you want in a partner, his ability to support you emotionally should come at the top of the list.
Can he tell when you’re nervous or upset, even if you don’t tell him?
Does he readily offer comfort and reassurance?
Does he believe it’s okay to depend on one another?
Some men believe that dependency is a sign of weakness. They don’t want to rely on anyone. They don’t want to be with a woman who asks too much of them.
As you can see by now, that’s not a prescription for a healthy relationship. It’s a prescription for a lot of pain.
Not just figuratively, but literally.
Research has found that receiving support affects the way you experience pain. When your loved one reaches out and takes your hand to comfort you through a painful experience, your brain waves synchronize. You end up feeling less pain.
So don’t shy away from asking for support. Your needs don’t make you needy.
When you can rely on him to offer you comfort when you need it, you become more confident. You do more things on your own. You know that you’ve got someone to lean on if it all goes wrong.
That’s healthy dependence, and it’s something to be proud of.