When you’re codependent, you start being entirely defined by your partner and the ways in which you’re useful to them.
If you lean on your partner for everything and find that it has become a struggle to separate your individual identity from your identity as a couple, then you may well have a problem.
If you would find it extremely tough to operate without them as your crutch, this article is for you.
Whilst relationships thrive when there is a strong, healthy bond, mutual respect, and a natural interdependence on one another, when two people find that they can’t function without the other person around, it spells trouble.
It can do damage to the other important relationships in your life, with your best friends or family feeling slighted or sidelined by your inability to do anything without your partner in tow.
It can also be a ticking time bomb…
Sooner rather than later, something is bound to happen in a codependent relationship that will light the fuse and bring the whole thing crashing down around your ears.
After all, your happiness should never be entirely dependent on just one other person.
And you should never be entirely responsible for making someone else happy.
That’s far too much pressure for anyone to handle and isn’t sustainable in the long term.
Much as it might seem like your partner is the center of your world and your happiness relies entirely on them, your happiness is your responsibility, and nobody else’s!
In the same way, it isn’t your job to prop up your partner. You should be there to support and care for them, but the burden of their happiness shouldn’t be resting on your shoulders.
If you’ve established that there’s a problem between you, then you’re probably looking for a solution.
After all, if you want your relationship to thrive long in the long term, codependency is your enemy.
It won’t be easy to change the habits you’ve developed, but if you’re determined to save your relationship and are willing to put in the hard work, you might be able to establish a healthy, caring balance.
So, without further ado, here are 10 things you can try to help break free of that mindset and overcome codependency.
1. Work on your relationships with your family and friends.
If you and your partner have a codependent vibe going on, chances are that you’ve distanced yourself from some of the other people in your life.
You probably don’t spend as much quality time with your friends or your family as you did before the relationship began.
So, as part of your effort to stop being codependent, it’s important to start prioritizing the other relationships in your life more than you currently do.
By nurturing your bonds with the other people in your lives, you develop a stronger support network and you aren’t the sole focus of each other’s lives.
This helps to take the pressure off.
2. Make your own decisions.
When you’re in a committed relationship, certain big decisions that affect you both should always be taken together.
But that doesn’t mean you should completely disregard your own wants and needs in favor of your partner’s.
It’s important for you to maintain some agency and control over the way your own life unfolds.
If you’re used to deferring all your decisions to your partner, then start with small, insignificant things that you would usually ask your partner’s opinion on.
This can be as simple as what to wear or what to have for dinner. Then gradually work up to more substantial decisions.
You can break codependency one decision at a time, weakening its grip as you go.
Katie splits her time between writing and translation. She writes about travel and self-care and never stays in one place for too long. She’s currently based in beautiful Cornwall, England, after long stints in Brazil and Mexico. She spends her free time trail running, exploring and devouring vegan food.