This issue can be a hot button between men and women who often have very different ideas about dependence versus independence. These differences in their comfort with feelings of dependency are common and do not necessarily reflect how much one person cares about the other. When these differences are not clarified between two people in a relationship, hurt feelings and misunderstandings may result, leading some couples into counseling.
Whenever Steve had an important decision to make, he tended to ponder in silence until he figured out what he wanted to do. He would then share the results with Emily, his wife, who frequently felt “left out” of the process and believed that Steve did not trust her enough to depend on her input. Emily had a very different style and a different need than Steve’s. For her, important decisions often involved surveying close friends and relatives, especially Steve, until she collected enough information to figure out what to do.