And how to stop.

In the last century, the father of attachment theory John Bowlby argued that the way we connect with our primary caregiver during childhood may make its marks on our relationships for the rest of our lives. Subsequent research has shown that our relationships with teachers, school mates, friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, partners, and spouses also have a significant impact on our relationship- and attachment-style going forward. 

Dependent attachment (sometimes referred to as “anxious attachment” and in relationships with substance abusers or narcissists as “co-dependent attachment”) in adulthood stands in stark contrast to avoidant attachment. The former is characterized by a strong need for constant validation from others, especially partners and friends.

It is furthermore likely to make you feel lonely when alone and always seek company, even if you don’t really like the people keeping you company. In severe cases, a dependent person may “pay” for company — not necessarily literally — but by over-showing the other person with attention and affection and expecting a return on this gift.

RELATED: What You’re Like In Relationships, Based On Your Attachment Style

Individuals with a dependent attachment style can appear to be natural givers, but they are not. When they give, they give with the expectation of receiving something similar back.

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