If you recognize these 13 behaviors, you’re probably codependent with your partner

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Is your relationship with your partner healthy? 

If your answer is a whole-hearted “Yes!” then you probably don’t need to be here unless you’re reading, you know, ‘for a friend.’

But chances are that if you’re reading an article to find out if your relationship is codependent, things probably aren’t 100% fine.

Don’t worry – it’s normal to have challenges in relationships and to look for their solutions and root causes.

However, you might just find out that some of the things going on in your relationship aren’t all that healthy.

In fact, if you can recognize many of these 13 behaviors, you could be in a codependent relationship with your partner.

What does ‘codependent’ really mean?

I know you’ve heard the term codependent before, but I just want to clear up what it really means because many people use this term wrongly.

Codependency sounds like it means that two people in a relationship depend on each other. 

But in fact, that’s just a normal relationship where both partners help each other, rely on each other, and support each other. There’s a balance, and the dependence isn’t extreme or one-sided.

Think of that healthy relationship standing tall and proud like a nice big H. If it were ever to be cut in 2, each side could probably still stand on its own.

But a codependent relationship is more like an A with both sides leaning on each other. If it was ever cut in half, both sides would collapse. 

Relationships like this are filled with extreme need and sacrifice. And they can also be lop-sided, with one person codependent and the other an enabler.

Here are some of the behaviors you’ll see in a codependent relationship:

1) One person completely caters to the other

No matter what that partner wants, the other person is ready to provide it. 

This happens with a codependent person and an enabler, where the codependent will go out of their way and bend over backward to keep the other person happy.

Or if they are not happy, then at least to keep them around.

While this could also be an innocuous sign of someone who’s simply smitten, it can also identify a codependent person who feels the need to fulfill the other’s needs at all times.

2) One partner ignores their wants and needs

The other half of one partner catering to the other is that in doing so, the caterer ignores their own wants and needs if they conflict with or contradict their partners.

Want to eat Mexican, but they want Italian? Italian it is. 

Didn’t sleep well last night and need a nap? Too bad, you have to drive them to see their friends.

What the codependent wants is of no importance in this kind of relationship.

3) There’s a lot of worry about the relationship

Codependent people live in constant fear of being broken up with, cast aside, or replaced. 

They invest everything in the relationship, though what that translates to is investing in the other person’s happiness.

And yet it’s never enough to make them feel secure. 

That’s because they have low self-esteem and compulsively take care of the other person to keep in their good graces so as not to be rejected or abandoned.

4) A codependent partner feels guilty for thinking about themself

Anytime a codependent person even considers putting their own needs or preferences first; they instantly feel guilty.

Why is that?

If you’re codependent, you’re going to give all of your time, attention, and feeling to your partner to keep them happy and locked in.

So if you think about doing something for yourself, like cooking something only you like or having a spa day, you’d realize right away that this isn’t what you think you’re supposed to be doing.

And what if your partner found out that you weren’t putting them first?

They’d probably be hurt or angry or even want to leave you, wouldn’t they?

This is definitely not a hallmark of a healthy relationship.

5) There’s a fear of speaking up and expressing desires and preferences

When one person in a relationship is codependent, they’ll put their own self-expression in the back seat and let the other person do all the talking.

A codependent will ask, “What do you want to eat?” or “What did you think about that film?” and listen to the answer.

But they wouldn’t dream of telling their partner what they want or think.

A relationship with two codependent people can get stuck in complete inaction as neither partner dares to make decisions or express themself.

6) The relationship is obsessive

Whether it comes from one or both partners, there can be an obsessive quality to the relationship that’s a red flag that you’re codependent with your partner.

Do you think or even worry about your relationship all the time?

Do you rush home to be with the other person out of a feeling of need rather than happiness and love?

Do you feel like that person would be helpless without you?

These characteristics express a relationship built on neediness and dependence rather than love, support, and respect.

7) One partner feels they have to maintain the other

Codependent people actively try to create dependence in their partners, who may or may not also be codependent.

They say things like, “You’d be lost without me,” and that’s how they want their partner to feel.

That’s because they have a deep desire to feel needed themselves.

They end up in relationships that seem more like projects and build their self-worth on their ability to maintain or support their partners.

8) Disdain or hate defines the relationship

For most people, feeling like you and your partner hate each other would be a pretty clear sign that the relationship needs to come to an end.

But codependent people aren’t (necessarily) looking to be liked. 

They’re looking to be needed.

And, strangely, staying with someone you don’t like makes it seem like you need them even more.

9) There’s substance abuse or addiction in the relationship

According to the non-profit Mental Health America, codependent relationships are often formed around addiction. 

While one partner in the relationship struggles with addictive behavior like alcoholism or drug abuse, the other codependent partner pretends there’s nothing going on.

They don’t acknowledge the problem and instead cover for their partner, despite all the negative consequences that might occur.

They keep their own feelings and needs bottled up inside and just stand by and watch while the other person tears things apart.

10) A partner stays in the relationship, even when suffering abuse

One of the most serious symptoms of a codependent relationship is suffering through abuse.

Codependent partners will sometimes endure anything from shaming and public humiliation to physical and sexual abuse just to stay in the relationship.

This is often learned behavior, and so many codependent people have watched their parents or other caregivers go through the same thing.

But if you’re being abused in a relationship, even if you think it’s not very serious, this is a sign of a very unhealthy relationship and one you need to get out of as soon as possible.

11) One partner ignores their morals

You know those gangster movies where the kind, caring wife turns a blind eye to her husband’s illegal and violent activities?

This is a pretty dramatic example, but it comes from the reality of codependent relationships.

Once again, we see one partner ignoring a part of themself in order to please the other.

This time, it’s that partner’s conscience that gets quickly kicked to the curb if it interferes with what their partner is doing.

12) One person in the relationship can’t say no

This behavior is most common in relationships where one person is a user.

That’s simply because they look for partners they can use, and a person who won’t say no is perfect.

But this behavior can be found in any codependent relationship.

Codependent people don’t want to be negative or refuse or reject their partners.

They want just the opposite – for their partners to be happy with them and need them.

13) One person’s mood always mirrors the other’s

The last of the 13 behaviors that show you’re codependent with your partner is taking on the other person’s mood.

Codependent people want to feel needed but also connected to their partners, and one way to do that is to mirror their emotions.

So when their partner is angry, they’re angry, too. And if their partner is sad, they will mope around with them, ignoring their own emotions.

Recognize your codependence

Do these behaviors define you and your relationship? If so, you may be codependent with your partner. 

But there are ways out of codependence, and the first step is to recognize it in yourself so you can make a concerted effort to move beyond it and create more stable relationships. 

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