Some people can be perfectly happy spending 99% of their time with a single person, whether that’s their boyfriend, a best friend, or a family member. But most of the time, people in these types of relationships can start to lose themselves and become dependent. Some signs of dependence include: neglecting other parts of your lives, fear of being separated, feeling uncomfortable when you’re away from this person, not making plans or canceling plans to be with that same person instead, and assigning your value solely to the perception this person has of you. If at this point you have a certain person in mind, you might have a dependent relationship with them. Here’s how to break out of it and get your independence back!
1. Find an activity or hobby that you do independently from this person.
Whether it’s joining a fun club, taking a walk by yourself after your last class, or going to a coffee shop for an hour and reading a book you’ve always wanted to read, it’s important to enjoy solo activities. This will help you regain your comfort of being alone. Especially when you spend all day with someone, it can be scary and uncomfortable to be alone. Over time, this should get easier and actually become something that you look forward to.
2. Make new friends
You may be wondering, why would I want to make new friends when I know the coolest person ever? Although this friend or family member may be the person you’d most like to hang out with, it is healthy to share time with new people. Making new friends could open you up to a different life perspective or a new hobby! Don’t worry, I’m not saying you need to replace your old friends. You can join a club sport or make a study group for your major classes to make new casual friends.
3. Talk with this person
Dependency goes both ways, so it is wise to discuss your intentions early on so your friend or significant other doesn’t get feel hurt or ignored. To be completely honest, my boyfriend and I struggle with this and when he first told me he was going to be reaching out to some new friends he made to hang out, I felt hurt. I didn’t understand why he would want to spend time with anyone other than me. If the person you talk to reacts similarly, it’s important to explain to them that that’s not the case. By spending a more moderate amount of time together, the time you spend apart will bring more value back to the relationship. The stronger you are as individuals, the stronger your bond will be with each other.