5 Signs of Codependency

Written by Eric C., MA., PhD Candidate


“A lot of the time codependency looks like intense love, but “needing” another person often stems from fear, not love.” ~Jennifer Kass

1. You feel like you will die without the other person
The first time I ever experienced what I would call true love, I began to think about my mortality more than ever. I would think about the fact that my time with my partner is not infinite. I would actually get sad thinking about it. It is important to differentiate between wanting great memories to last forever from an anxious need to always be close to our partner. It is not to say that we cannot depend on our partner in a healthy way, but it really depends on how deep that dependency goes. If you feel like you cannot survive without your partner to the extent that you would not even want to live, then you might question whether there is some codependency in your relationship. I can’t imagine being taken away from my partner and wishing anything for her other than love, happiness and to thrive even after I am gone. If you know your partner wouldn’t want that for you, then why would you want that for yourself?

2. It feels like your happiness is based on the other person
If you feel like you can only be happy when you are with your partner then there might be some codependency in your relationship. Let’s think about it logically and rationally. If I am only happy because of my partner then I must not have discovered what about me makes me happy. If that is the case, don’t worry. It just means that it is time to begin some self-exploration. Maybe there is a sculpting class you have been wanting to go to but keep making excuses about. The only way to solve this predicament is through action. Without action, nothing can change. Make a list of things you enjoy doing or that you once enjoyed doing. Make another list of activities that seem challenging to you. Take a leap, step outside your comfort zone and let yourself discover you.

3. You don’t feel free, or they don’t
Love is trust. Love is freedom. If you feel like you cannot make decisions without your partner’s permission then maybe it is time to do some research on codependent relationships. Nobody wants to admit that there is something wrong with their relationship. Well, don’t think of it as something “wrong.” Think of it as a way to empower you and your partner to become a stronger and more healthy couple. When I think of a healthy couple, I think of two islands connected by a sturdy bridge. Each person is a strongly rooted island and are joined together by the bridge of love, commitment and communication. In codependent relationships, couples often start as individual islands and eventually become an island of one. A single island does not have space enough for all of the emotions that need to be expressed.

4. You have a tendency to put yourself last
If you are always thinking of your partner and not yourself, how can there be room for self-love? It is not uncommon for us to want to put our partners first, especially because we love them. But, take a moment and ask yourself, “Have I been giving myself enough  attention, affection and care?” We cannot rely solely on our partner to provide us with this type of love. By focusing our attention on self-love, we will be happier, more fulfilled and better able to share our love with others.

5. It feels like your life revolves around your partner
Do you feel like you hardly exist in your relationship? Do you feel like your partner is on stage and you are always in the background? These are common signs of codependency. The best next step for you to take is talk with your partner. But first, educate yourself thoroughly about codependency in relationships. Remind your partner that your intention is to bring you both closer through exercising your communication skills. If you feel like these steps resonate with you personally, don’t panic. You are already taking the most important step, which is acknowledging that there is an area in your life that can be worked on. Growth is never easy and it is often unexpected. Don’t let that stop you.


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40 responses to 5 Signs of Codependency

  1. This made me realize just how healthy my marriage has been all these years. When my husband was diagnosed with cancer I cried thinking about what my life would be without him but I also thought about how I’d go on. It was really tough contemplating life without him but I knew, no matter how rough and lonely it would be I’d make it. Thanks for reminding me that my husband and I are stable in our relationship!

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Miriam says:

    Thought provoking. For me it’s important to have my own identity within a relationship, two wholes make a very strong union.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Gymgirl.org says:

    Hit home for me. My marriage was co-dependent and it took me some time to finally figure out what my role was in all of it. Thanks for your post!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. The Incredible Mind:Verity Vyas says:

    Thank you for this brilliant post. Keep writing, you are doing really well.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I used to be codependent. Then I learned to love and respect myself. Now I am independent. Now I understand what it means to be interdependent. I’m still waiting for that guy, but I’m looking forward happily and peacefully with my goals.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Reblogged this on where there is love and commented:
    I loved this post. It has proven absolutely true in my life, and I have made a promise to myself never to let a man make me feel like I cannot live without him (and yes, it has happened to me). I promised myself that I would recognize the influence I have over others and have a pure and loving intention in my heart for everyone that I meet, because I feel that I have a responsibility to myself and others to be conscious of my intentions and influence.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I really enjoyed reading this. Your post confirmed that we need to become more independent. This situation can also be quite difficult if your partner is more co-dependent than you.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Very well written. Thank you! My husband are currently working to overcome the codependent aspects of our relationship. This article gives us more language. Blessing to you!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Loved reading this blog,think it put my own self reflection in perspective. I used to have a codependent relationship with my husband but as time went on I realise the degree of self sacrifice wasn’t making me happy I only resented him more. I was so fixated on being the perfect wife and mother I totally lost sight of myself and my needs. Only after the last few months have I decided I needed to change the way I had taught him how to treat me. It was shocking at first for him but I think he’s realised we both needed the change. Learning the art of self love as a mother to three can be challenging to say the least but as humans we all need to do it.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. kmednick says:

    This was so helpful! I work a 12 step program for codependency and still these bad habits are deeply rooted and come out in the sneakiness of ways. It is always helpful to reread and see clear guidelines to stay true to. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Kaelalaena says:

    I am the Queen of Codependency. It has affected every area of my life. It can become life threatening. When my long term relationship with a sociopath ended, I thought my world had ended too. And the life I knew was ended. But I survived, and instead of falling into another relationship, worked on a relationship with myself. It’s still a daily battle, maybe it will always be. But refusing to lay down and get steamrollered by life is a lot better than lying there! A friend once told me “You can’t be a doormat if you stand up.” Here’s to staying on our feet!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Completely true. After living with an addict for 14 years, I can easily say that I click almost every box of this post. I’m working on breaking free from this though. I love the last comment, “You can’t be a doormat if you stand up!” Love it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kaelalaena says:

      Odd, mine was 14 1/2 years. I’ve been in hiding for almost ten. But now I feel it’s time to take my life back, I’m much stronger now and I’m tired of letting my past mistakes rule me. You can do it too! We can’t change our pasts but we can control our present.

      Liked by 1 person

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