You’re supposed to be a little bit dependent on the person you’re in a relationship with, but what happens when healthy dependency transitions into unhealthy codependency?
Codependency can be a tricky thing because it’s not always easy to recognize, and a lot of the signs on their own might not seem like a cause for concern. The problem is it’s not healthy for your relationship to be your entire identity, no matter how much you love someone.
You’re Looking To “Fix” Your Partner
Entering into a relationship with the intention of “fixing” them or thinking that you’re going to be the person who helps them change is never going to work out in the long run. It’s not healthy, and it’s going to be a lot harder on the fixer rather than the person who is being fixed.
You Have Low Self-Esteem
Your partner being with you is not a favor to you. Having low self-esteem or feeling like no other person could ever want you, or that it’s a miracle that your girlfriend is even with you now can be a sign of codependency.
You Make Up For The Other Person
If one of you is starting to pull away from the relationship by committing less time or energy to it, the other person tries to make up for it. They work harder, filling in the gaps that their partner has left, which is an unhealthy shift.
You Have No Boundaries
You’re willing to give your partner anything that they want, whether it’s emotional or physical. You let your partner take advantage of how much you love them by forgetting all your boundaries. Whatever your partner needs at any time, you want to give it to them, even if it’s something you know they shouldn’t be asking for.
All Your Friends Are Mutual
Sure, if you started off as friends and it grew into a relationship, there’s a good chance that you’re going to have a lot of mutual friends, but that doesn’t mean all your friends should be mutual.
And You Don’t Have Any Hobbies That Are You Own
You have all the same friends, and you also don’t have any hobbies or activities that you love that are just your own. It’s healthy to have some separate interests for your partner and spend moments away from each other.
In General, Your Lives Are Completely Intertwined
Your friends might joke that you and your boyfriend are joined at the hip or you spend all your time together, but they might not be joking. You need to be able to function without your partner and still be a well-rounded human who can socialize on their own and participate in activities you like without your partner being there.
You Fixate On Your Own Mistakes
Any time you make a mistake or get into an argument, you spend weeks dissecting the fight or feeling guilty about something you did, even if your partner has moved past it. You convince yourself that the one small mistake or argument is going to be the end of your relationship.
You Feel Threatened By Their Independence
Usually in a codependent relationship, one of you is more dependent than the other. Your boyfriend or girlfriend could be out there living their life happily, whereas you sit at home feeling anxious about the fact that they’re able to have fun without you.
You Seek Their Approval For Everything
It might be an expectation that you’ve placed on yourself or it’s something that your partner has instilled in you, but you always feel like you need to get approval before you make a simple decision.
You Accept Their Negative Criticism Even If It’s Unwarranted
A big aspect of a codependent relationship is control, because if you can control a situation, it feels like it’s safer or less stressful. You feel like you need to seek approval from your partner, and that can also create an environment where they feel comfortable trying to control or influence you through criticism, ultimatums, or unsolicited advice.
You Allow Your Partner To Engage In Unhealthy Habits
You can’t control what another person does, but you should still feel comfortable voicing your opinion or expressing concern if your partner has unhealthy habits. Don’t allow someone to continue doing something bad for them just because you love them and don’t want to rock the boat.
You Need Frequent Reassurance
You always feel like your relationship is moments away from slipping away from you, and you often seek reassurance from your partner. You shouldn’t be so dependent on someone that you feel like you wouldn’t be able to live without them—and not in a cute, romantic way, but the “actual concern about functioning as a normal person” way.
You’re Constantly In Contact
On the occasions where you’re actually apart from each other, you’re constantly in contact with your boyfriend or thinking about what your girlfriend is doing. Checking in with your partner throughout the day is normal, but you also have to be able to go to work for a few hours without one of your spiraling out.
You Walk On Eggshells
A sign of a codependent relationship is if one person feels like they have to walk on eggshells around the other or be very in tune with their mood so they don’t do anything to upset or anger their partner.
You Stay Even Though You’ve Been Hurt
If you’re in a relationship where you’ve continuously been hurt by the other person whether that’s physically, emotionally, financially, or otherwise, you probably know that it’s time to go. People in a codependent relationship, though, likely won’t come to that conclusion, or they know they should leave but can’t fathom being without the relationship, even if it’s not a good one.
You Lose Contact With People You Love
We’ve all experienced it: your friend or family member gets into a new relationship and slowly starts to pull away until they’re basically off the grid. It’s great that you’re in love, but you shouldn’t be neglecting the rest of your friends and family because you’re so focused on this one relationship.
One Of You Always Picks Up The Slack
More than just filling in the gaps for your partner emotionally or within your relationship, you always might pick up the slack in other areas of their life. Mothering your partner can be common in codependent relationships, where one person (usually a woman) takes over for the other with basic things like cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc.
You Can’t Separate Your Emotions Or Opinions From Theirs
It’s easy to be influenced by the feelings of those around us, especially when it’s someone you spend a significant amount of time with, but you’re still your own person. Your boyfriend’s opinions or feelings don’t automatically need to become yours too; you can have thoughts that differ from his.
You Don’t Want To Abandon Your Partner
If you’re the less dependent one in the relationship, you might start to feel like you can’t leave someone because you don’t want to “abandon” them or you’re not sure how your partner will do without you in their lives.