The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Avoiding the dependency trap:

Stacy offers tips for understanding rules of couple attachment, reliance

My mother has always stressed to me the importance of being able to stand on your own two feet prior to dating someone, as well as during a relationship.

While I agree with my mother, I have to ask where the boundaries of independence and dependency lie. I witness my girlfriends and countless men constantly falling into the dependency trap (i.e., heavily relying on someone).

Dependency stems from a person’s comfort level and expectations. For some, knowing a special someone is there to catch them if ever they fall is a huge relief. For others, it’s more than that. Comfort takes them into a red zone – a zone stocked with neediness and insecurity.

For example:

Once upon a time there was a sweet girl named Hope. Hope and her boyfriend Duke had been dating for almost a year.

Her prince was everything she expected and more. Every night after her homework was completed, Hope went over to Duke’s castle and slept soundly as he spooned her.

After class each day, she called out to Duke from her lone tower atop her palace to see what he was doing. Duke, who wished to go crusading through dark and mystical forests with his fellow princes, reluctantly said, “Nothing,” and went to hang out with Hope.

Every night, Hope dined with Duke.

On the weekends, Duke could be found at Hope’s side, running errands in the market square and skipping stones along the riverside.

After months of Hope constantly calling on Duke, he finally sat her down one afternoon and said, “Look, Hope, I need some space or else this isn’t going to work out.” Hope, devastated, took his comment as a direct hit and was left trying to balance on one foot.

Hope is like many women.

She clung and clung AND clung to her prince. Women tend to be the more insecure ones in relationships and cling to their partners because they don’t want to be alone.

They believe the relationship will steadily grow stronger if their presence is stronger. The mentality is, “If I’m around Duke more, he’ll learn to love and adore me more.”

And then there is the healthy type of relationship, where sharing feelings with your partner becomes more comfortable than spilling to friends and family.

For example, if your boyfriend’s parents are going through a strenuous divorce, it’s natural for him to confide in you.

He may rage on about how his new stepmother just got her lips done for the third time and how much he hates her.

You’re there to listen and serve a supportive role. It does facilitate a stronger relationship in the long run, because you’ve established an area of trust.

This type of dependency is similar to being each other’s pro bono psychiatrists.

And let’s not brush aside the obvious one.

The one that revolves around filling your parents’ shoes.

Psychologists say men seek women that possess the same qualities as their mothers and vice versa. When you get out into the world without your parents, you look for someone to fit the description of your mother, father or maybe both.

You rely on your girlfriend or boyfriend to park in the vacated emotional and safe spot where your parents once were.

Girls become the scapegoats once again for misusing this dependency.

They assume that their partners can and will take care of them in every facet possible, especially in terms of money, and sometimes unknowingly set their mates up for failure.

So what’s a normal amount of dependency?

Next time you want your boyfriend or girlfriend to do a favor for you, ask yourself whether or not you could have done it yourself.

Did you ask out of laziness or do you really need his/her help? Always double check and make sure you’re standing on two feet.

Now, if your car breaks down and you’re stranded somewhere, my advice is to make the call. But if you want your boyfriend to pick up your dry cleaning because you’re watching the newest episode of “Newlyweds,” that’s just not nice.

Stacy Seebode is a senior journalism major. She may be reached at [email protected]

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