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03 Apr 2003

Dependant or independant?
I am 22 years old (female) and live in New Zealand. I live on my own, finished my studies, and are now working. Basically, I'm a 100% independant. But I've got a problem. Guys fall in love with my independance and career focused attitude, but as soon as that happens, I start to need the guy in my life. So I basically shift my focus from my work to my boyfriend. I just had another relationship ending this week (second one in 18 months) because the guy gave me the lame excuse of being very busy, bla bla bla.. Why does that happen? I can't help needing the person when I'm in love? I'm not suffocating the person, I just need security. I love living on my own and being independant, and at the same time, I hate it. What now?...
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Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

Dear Kiwi,
Maybe this is, to some exent, what we call Ambivalence ? To be independent and self-sufficient --- or not to be thus ? It sounds as if you're good and efficient at working and living on your own. But it also sounds as if the model of "love" you have in your head, is tied up with dependence, maybe even submission and a degree of self-servience, rather than a matching of equals. For whatever reason, we all tend to grow up absorbing a range of these sorts of emotional assumptions, which don't arise out of being logical about things. Maybe the models we saw as we grew, were of people, especially women, who loved, being dependent on their lover. Anyhow, we come to operate under two sets of rules. In one kind of situation we can be free and independent, and confident that we can supply our own security ; in another, we expect to let our own interests take second place to His, and to look to him for security, even if he's neither able to, nor inclined to, supply it.
In such circumstances, where we are running into problems arising out of our own cognitions, our own habitual ways of thinking and expecting, counselling of the CBT ( Cognitive-behavioral ) form can be especally helpful ; as one learns to apply the sort of logic and testing of assumptions we are probably applying in other areas of life, to those where our assumptions are causing discomfort.
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