Dependency seems to be one of those things that people fear. They kinda take it for granted where children are concerned, almost like it was part of the contract that they signed when they decided that they were going to make a mini version of themselves, but don’t seem to realise that it also comes with the territory of friends and partners. Do you think if we all sat and thought about what was involved in genuinely caring for or loving someone else that we’d enter into relationships with anyone? Can you really justify it to yourself, if you don’t feel the natural instinct to want to protect that person from all negativity, to remain ‘close’ with that person? For me, the idea of love and dependency go hand in hand.
I’m often asked by best friend 3 whether I feel like she’s too dependent on me. In my world, if I love someone, then I’ll do anything that I need to (within my own physical/mental/emotional limitations) for their life to be easier. This can only happen, however, if the person I love isn’t expecting or requiring me to run to their aid just for their own mental need for attention. The reason she continues to ask me about her dependency is because, in a lot of ways, I am currently more similar to a carer than just a friend. She lives on her own, is quite a bit younger than me, has no parents local enough to be able to help her and has had severe medical issues to the point of leaving her pretty much bedridden for a large portion of the last month. From being in the situation of being bedridden and alone for 16 hours a day for months on end I could never expect anyone in my life to go through that, never mind someone I love. All I’ve been doing is going there after work every day to make sure she has food and company so anything that needs done can happen and that she doesn’t get more ill from lack of food. This last fortnight I have also been driving her to and from work as she’s left with no option but to get back to work even though she’s still horribly poorly.
There have been occasions where I have been really tired from being away from the house for such large chunks of time but it has never once bothered me that I am specifically going there all of the time. If anything, it makes me angry that nobody else who is in her life and lays claim to being the greatest friend to her over anybody has bothered to take the time to think of how her life must actually be or what she would need to survive. I have never understood the mentality of someone wanting to make such a public gesture of ownership over anyone they weren’t choosing to marry! What does it matter if you are ‘their greatest friend’? A friend should be a friend, regardless of how close you may or may not be. Friendship is an unwritten/unspoken contract that requires you to love that person for everything they are. That’s how I distinguish the difference between my friends and my 3 best friends. My general friends I would see as acquaintances (i’m not including the romantic side in this, obviously) rather than friends and my 3 best friends would really only be the people I would actually class as my friends but as everyone else’s interpretation of what friendship is it makes it easier to define them in this way.
If you really do love someone for everything they are then there will be no such thing as spending too much time with them. 3 and I have a much higher than normal (fully clothed) level of physical intimacy. No sexual aspect but will cuddle up and watch tv similar to the manner you would with a partner. In fact, the majority of our interactions are as if we are in a long term romantic relationship. I feel truly at home in her home, we share absolutely everything in our worlds and know for a fact that nobody could ever understand our dynamics. We never take for granted how special that is but occasionally worry in case we are being too draining on the other. We are both completely comfortable with each other having other best friends and have no need for a feeling of public ownership but are still aware that there is a level of ownership there in our own private world. We tell each other we love each other multiple times in a day and often will make the statement “my, (insert name here)”. Any future partners of hers will feel threatened by our relationship based on a lack of understanding but, thankfully, my husband understands it as it is because he’s been able to watch and evaluate us in our natural setting together. He snuggles with her just as intimately as I do because he seems to understand that the sexual aspect just isn’t there. We’ve just morphed into a kind of family.
I am lucky that with 1,2 and 3 we all have the type of relationship that if something happened in our worlds, and we were floundering, then we could ask the other to drop everything and meet for emergency purposes. This has been claimed by all 4 of us at different times in our lives but we know that it can only be saved for the times that we really need the other so that the importance is always there. This, in itself is a form of dependence. I depend on the people who I am closest to in my world and would expect them to want to depend on me just as solidly. There is nothing inappropriate about that, it just is what it is. It does also dictate that I could never truly feel close to a drain. You know the type, someone whose life is all about the constant drama and wants nothing more than your sympathy to get their claws into you. They NEED the constant love and adulation yet never appreciate it. I couldn’t be around someone who didn’t appreciate the little things in life. The requirement is there for me to feel loved, respected and appreciated by them but never any more than I feel for that person already.
I’ve realised that I have a level of dependence on other people in my world, but that is something I would always keep to myself as I don’t usually know how reciprocal it ever actually is. That dependence is, in the majority, emotional and putting that onto the other person is never healthy! That is, unless the other person expresses a similar instinct.
Whether you see someone being dependent on you as a blessing or a curse is purely down to the way you view your world. Depending on the circumstances, it can be either but overall it should always feel like a blessing. If it doesn’t then maybe you should rethink how important that person truly is to you.