All conflict in relationships comes from dependency. Whenever we depend on someone else for our well-being, there’s potential for conflict. That’s not to say that all dependency is bad—because it’s impossible to be in a relationship without a certain level of dependency—but when there’s conflict, we know it’s because we’re being too dependent.

When we want to be prioritized by someone; when we want them to come to sleep or have sex; when we want to be heard and valued; when we want others to show us love in the way we want them to show us love; when we want to be touched, hugged or held; when we want these things and don’t get them, conflict is created.

In most of these examples, we’re trying to get something from someone else. Something we think we “need” from them. But really, it’s not a need like air, food, water or shelter. The examples above aren’t really needs. They are wants. Desires. Expectations. We have created them as needs in our minds. For example, if you don’t come to sleep with me, I’m not going to die or starve to death or be impaired for life. My dependency on another person is creating my neediness.

So, how do we become Independent Enough from our own neediness?

First ask yourself: “What do I get out of being prioritized/hugged/paid attention to?” Likely the answer is something along the lines of: security, warmth, feeling loved, feeling comfortable, feeling important or feeling safe. And if we depend on someone to give us these kinds of feelings and we get them, all is well.

But if we don’t get them and we lose ourselves in our own neediness, then to be happy we need to dive deeper into ourselves and figure out how we can provide those things for ourselves. How we can make ourselves feel secure, warm, loved, comfortable, important, and safe—all on our own. Essentially we need to figure out how to love ourselves.

And how do we do this? We’ll have some suggestions in next week’s blog.