Excerpted from Mirror of Intimacy
Having people to depend on gives us a metaphorical backbone, a feeling that we’re never alone. For some, growing up with unreliable, immature parents created hyper-responsibility because their very lives depended on self-sufficiency. Others became helpless, accepting their deprivation and remaining self-neglectful well into adulthood. Dependability is a basic need for children and not too much to ask for in adulthood. When we ask for our dependency needs to be met, we allow the people closest to us to care for us. The knowledge that we can call a trusted other and know that he or she will be there at a moment’s notice, no questions asked, telegraphs to us that we have value. And just as dependability signals true friendship, it’s one of the primary qualities in a love relationship because it makes us feel safe, loved, and cared for.
It’s easy to be dependable when the requests made of us cost little effort or gain us pleasure. Following through on plans to vacation with someone is a form of dependability but has the dual purpose of satisfying our own desire. But the call to be dependable can be inconvenient when it doesn’t serve mutually—even little chores like picking up our partner’s dry-cleaning or taking her or his pet to the vet. Being of service when our lover is sick or challenged by a death in the family is where the rubber meets the road. Life is unpredictable. When we’re called to participate in painful events it can feel scary or burdensome to suspend our lives and go to a loved one’s side. Every day we expect dependability from our cars, co-workers, and computers. So we should hold ourselves to the same standard of dependability we expect from associates and machines when beloved hearts are at stake.
Daily Healthy Sex Acts
= When was the last time you asked someone to do something for you? Did he or she come through? How did that feel?
= Who in your life has been undependable? How did their lack of reliability affect you?
= How dependable are you where your relationships are concerned? Today, practice dependability by offering someone close to you a service that may inconvenience you.