1. You are actually happy when you spend time together. This seems obvious, but when you’re really in love with someone, you like being with them. When you’re emotionally dependent on them, you don’t actually enjoy most of the time you spend together, but still feel as though you should stick it out because you’re “meant” to be with this person.
2. You can be happy when you aren’t together. On the flip side, if you’re really in love with someone you can likewise love spending time alone and see it as a healthy part of your relationship. If you’re emotionally dependent, spending time alone is scary and try to avoid it at all costs.
3. What freaks you out about potentially breaking up with them is the idea of not having them in your life, not “being alone” or “being single until age X.” What you fear when you think about losing someone can tell you a lot about how you really feel about them. If what hurts the most about a potential breakup is the idea that you would have to “start over” or sleep alone or be financially on your own as opposed to, you know, lose someone you love, you’re probably more dependent on them than you think.
4. You’re engaging with life more, as opposed to withdrawing from it because you’re in a relationship. Love opens you up. Dependency (fear) closes you, and leads you to isolate yourself with your partner more and more.
5. You don’t have a deep fear of losing their approval. You don’t have to qualify your opinions before you share them, you can speak freely, aren’t shy about your tastes in music or books, and wear the clothes that you like. They make you want to be more of yourself, not less.
6. Your partner is not playing mind games with you, refusing to commit or continually hurting you. Your love is healthy. The most obvious difference between love and dependency is simply the quality of your relationship: this person treats you with all the love and respect you give them in return.
7. You never feel pressured into doing something that your partner wants and you don’t. Whether it’s sexual or social or anything else, you never feel like you have to pretend you want to do something you don’t in order to stay in your partner’s good graces. Your comfort is ultimately more important to them than temporary desires.
8. You began your relationship from a place of love, not a place of desperation. You got together because you were falling in love, not because you were reaching a certain age and they were the most decent person to come along, or because you could barely function emotionally when you were on your own and needed someone to take care of you.
9. Your relationship brings you more peace, comfort and bliss than it ever does fear, jealousy or worry. It’s completely normal to feel jealous once in a while, or worry about something going wrong, but when you’re really in the right relationship, the positive exponentially outweighs it all. When you’re in a relationship in which you’re emotionally dependent, there’s far more “fear of loss” than there is anything else.
10. You love your partner for who they are, not how much they love you. When you think of why you care about your partner and want to spend so much of your life with them, it’s because of their personality traits, how kind they are, how much they make you laugh or think or feel at ease. You love them, not just the fact that they love you.