To all those people who decided to put off relationships and love until they accomplished their career goals: you may have gotten things backward.
It seems that when we have a solid base of support from our loved one, we feel free to take bigger chances and gain bigger rewards. This idea is known as The Dependency Paradox, or encouraging independence by being accepting of a partner's dependence.
A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology tested The Dependency Paradox. Lead researcher Dr. Brooke Feeney brought romantic partners into her lab to fill out a number of questionnaires and to complete certain tasks.
In one experiment, the researchers asked one member of the couple to say how much he or she accepted the other's dependency (e.g. "I am responsive to my partner's needs"), with higher scores indicating more dependency. The other member of the couple was put in a separate room and was told to complete some challenging puzzles.
The couples were also provided with computers to talk via instant messaging, but this wasn't actually true; it was a trick. The subjects working on the puzzles thought that their partner was the person they were talking to, but it was actually one of the researchers helping them with hints, advice, and occasional solutions to the puzzles.
While you might think that the subjects with more dependency in their relationships would have no problem accepting this help, in reality, they finished more of the puzzles on their own.
Another study found that participants' acceptance of their partner's dependence needs led to a bigger accomplishment of the partner's own personal goals six months later.
The study summed it up this way: "Using multiple methods, this investigation tested the hypothesis that a close relationship partner's acceptance of dependence when needed (e.g. sensitive responsiveness to distress cues) is associated with less dependence, more autonomous functioning, and more self-sufficiency (as opposed to more dependence) on the supported individual."
In other words, knowing that you have someone watching your back and supporting you gives you the strength and confidence to do things for yourself and make the world your bitch.