Falling in love can be exciting and fulfilling. However, sometimes people become addicted to being loved. If this happens, you begin to deeply fear losing love and are willing to go to extraordinary lengths to ensure the other person continues to love you. This unhealthy behavior pattern is not really love--it is emotional dependency. You need to understand the signs of addiction to another person so that you don't stay in relationships that are unhealthy for you or do things you're ashamed of simply to get somebody else to love you.

Pay Attention to Inner Signals

It's important to know how you feel when you are around the other person as well as how you feel when you are by yourself. Your feelings give you vital information about whether a relationship is healthy for you.

Obviously, if you feel negatively about yourself when you are around someone else, then it doesn't make sense to stay in the relationship. If you feel like you can't live without someone who triggers negative feelings about yourself, then you are probably falling into emotional dependency. You need to take a good, hard look at what's really going on. You may need the help of a therapist, counselor or coach to sort out whether the negative feelings are coming from the other person's behavior or from deep-rooted insecurities and what to do about them.

It's trickier if you feel fulfilled and happy around the other person. Sometimes this can be a sign of true love, while other times it's a sign that you are addicted to the person. If you feel empty and horrible whenever the person isn't around, you may be emotionally dependent. Healthy people live fulfilling lives and allow their significant other to be part of their lives; if your significant other is your entire life, something is wrong.

Make Sure You Have Outside Interests

If you had interests or hobbies before your relationship that you've now given up because your significant other isn't interested in them, that's a sign of emotional dependency. Addicts tend to give up anything that interferes with their addiction, and it's no different for people who are emotionally dependent than people who are dependent on alcohol and drugs. Make sure you are still doing the things you enjoy. It's okay to compromise with your significant other, but not to give up everything. For example, if he or she is bored by your favorite television show, you might watch it when your significant other isn't home.

In addition to keeping up with your interests, you should keep up with your friends. It can be difficult if you're in a committed relationship and most of your friends are single, but you need to make sure to spend some time with them. Cutting yourself off from friends, especially if the primary reason is that they don't like your significant other, is a strong sign of emotional dependency. If you isolate yourself, you'll become even more dependent on your significant other because you really have no one else to turn to.

Look at Your Expectations

If you are truly in love, you don't look at the other person in terms of what you expect him or her to do for you. Of course, there are expectations in every relationship, but in an emotionally dependent relationship, your expectations usually revolve around the other person meeting important needs of yours that you should be meeting yourself.

For example, in both healthy and dependent relationships, one partner may get upset if the other continually leaves dirty dishes in the sink. In a healthy relationship, however, the person is able to communicate about this problem and confine any feelings of upset or anger to the fact that there are two people in the relationship and only one is doing dishes. In an emotionally dependent relationship, anger over this kind of issue is generally more intense and rooted in feelings of being unloved.

Observe How You Handle Conflicts

How you handle conflicts with the other person is one of the strongest clues pointing towards emotional dependency. Emotionally dependent people are so terrified of losing the other person's love that they often go to extreme lengths to avoid conflicts. Then, when they can no longer hold their built-up anger in, they explode. After exploding, the dependent person is ashamed and afraid that he or she has gone too far and ruined the relationship. There are many reasons why people are sometimes uncomfortable with their own anger, but if this particular pattern is confined to your interactions with your significant other, you are probably emotionally dependent on this person.

Author's Bio: 

Linda Le Phan is an avid blogger who contributes to a number of publications about happiness, and family & relationship advice.