Dating in general has its complications. Being too needy can drive a relationship apart, and this is taken to an extreme if you’re dating someone with Dependent Personality Disorder.
People with Dependent Personality Disorder are often terrified of being alone and may go to great lengths (even suffering abuse) to stay in a relationship. If you are dating someone with Dependent Personality Disorder, they will likely exert a lot of energy to please you and seek your approval. They may be unlikely to disagree with you and are easily influenced.
People with Dependent Personality Disorder are uneasy being alone and fear being abandoned or rejected by others. They may constantly be anxious, fearful, or sad. Being in a relationship with someone with Dependent Personality Disorder can be difficult, so it is important to understand your significant other’s needs and balance them with your own.
Symptoms of Dependent Personality Disorder
How can you recognize if the person you are dating suffers from Dependent Personality Disorder? According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a person with Dependent Personality Disorder will display the following symptoms:
- Difficulty making decisions without excessive advice or support
- Needs others to assume responsibility in major areas of their life
- Has difficulty disagreeing with others for fear of a loss of support or approval
- Has difficulty starting their own activities and projects
- Goes to extremes for nurturing and support
- Feels uncomfortable or helpless when alone due to exaggerated fears of being unable to care for themselves
People with Dependent Personality Disorder in relationships may not rise to their true potential because they are typically dependent on someone else for support. They may have never lived independently, often live with relatives, and never accept a job that makes enough money to have their own place to live. People with Dependent Personality Disorder may consciously or subconsciously undermine efforts to make themselves more independent or competent, and accept decisions of their supporters even if they are to their disadvantage.
People with Dependent Personality Disorder are active and passive participants in their dependency, enabling the situation as much as the enablers that surround them. This behavior can get in the way of having successful intimate relationships.
When their relationships end, a person with Dependent Personality Disorder may feel desperate and unable to take care of themselves. People with Dependent Personality Disorder often have a very low self-esteem and are vulnerable to other psychiatric disorders, especially depression and anxiety disorders. They may also engage in substance abuse and eating disorder behaviors as a way to cope.
Treatment for Dependent Personality Disorder
If you are in a relationship with someone with Dependent Personality Disorder, know that the situation isn’t hopeless. Your partner can get Dependent Personality Disorder treatment that can help them learn why they behave the way they do and learn healthier ways of being in a relationship.