What are the signs of a codependent relationship?
One of the best things about being in a relationship is feeling safe and comfortable with your partner. But, relationships often require walking a delicate line between meeting your partner’s needs while also advocating for your own. When you start to feel as though your happiness depends on theirs and you forget about your needs and wants, this dynamic can quickly turn into codependency, a toxic behavioral pattern.
What is codependency?
Codependence means that there is an imbalance in the relationship, where one partner tends to give much more than the other. The partner that finds themselves giving too much also has issues with honoring their own feelings and needs. This leads to feelings of resentment, emptiness, and sadness. And the partner who is constantly taking in the relationship feels as though they are lost without their partner, leading to enmeshment. How can you tell if you’re in an unhealthy codependent relationship? Here are five signs to look out for:
1. You tend to date people who need help
Do you find yourself always playing the caregiver in relationships? And do you gravitate toward people who need help? These are warning signs of codependency. People who are codependent are often attracted to those who have addiction issues, like drinking or gambling. You might put yourself in danger to help them, such as dipping into your savings to support them.
2. Your partner seems immature
Is your partner resisting being a responsible adult? Are you the one who always has to pay all the bills, keep your home clean, and run all the errands? If you find yourself taking care of your partner on a daily basis, your relationship may be codependent. This is especially true if you find yourself making excuses for them.
3. You always talk about your partner’s issues
Do you talk about your partner’s issues more than your own? When your world begins to revolve around your partner’s unhappiness, that’s unhealthy for you. In a codependent relationship, your life is almost like a reflection of theirs, so their problems become your primary concern. This is likely a sign that you don’t exist away from your partner.
4. You check in with your partner before doing anything
While communication is important when making certain life decisions, some choices are only meant for you. If you find that you check in with your partner before making even the smallest decision, this is a sign of a codependent relationship. Someone who checks in all the time doubts their own power and voice within the relationship.
5. You struggle to identify your emotions
In a codependent relationship, both partners’ thoughts and feelings are often united with little to no boundaries. As a result, it can be challenging to identify where your emotions end and theirs begin. If you find yourself checking in with your partner to gauge how you feel about a situation, this can be a sign of codependence.
Break the cycle of codependency
The sooner you notice the signs of a codependent relationship, the easier it will be to work through them. If you find that you’re the codependent partner in the relationship, there are several steps you can take to work on yourself, including:
- Doing activities by yourself, like going to yoga or hanging with friends
- Thinking about what brings you joy outside of your relationship
- Prioritizing your own self-care
Establishing healthy boundaries in your relationship is essential when it comes to addressing codependency. Getting professional help, like seeing a couples therapist, can help you and your partner learn what healthy relationships look like and how to work through issues in your relationship.