Codependent Relationship: 8 Signs You Are in One

Trouble in relationships starts when one person starts controlling the other's behavior. Here are some signs of a codependent relationship to watch out for.

Aastha Pahadia
Written by Aastha Pahadia , Certified Relationship Coach
Updated on Feb 22, 2024 | 06:06 PM IST | 168.5K
Codependent relationship
Codependent relationship

Most people get into a relationship to grow in life and evolve together. It always takes two to form a relationship. A codependent relationship is where one person constantly feels pressured to keep things afloat. One partner gives little or no effort and expects everything in return. The other person is usually a people pleaser and constantly wants someone to look after them. This article talks in detail about codependent relationships. Read on for the signs of codependency and its solution.

What Is a Codependent Relationship?

Codependent relationship

In a codependent relationship, one person's needs and wants are constantly put before the other. Codependent people often have low self-esteem and need to feel essential to feel good about themselves. Codependency in a relationship should not be confused with an attention disorder. You will usually see that one person takes the caretaker role in a codependent relationship. The other partner usually does very little and takes the role of the enabler. 

Codependent couples could come from neglected backgrounds. They become dependent on others for their happiness and needs. Their constant desire to please people makes them a soft target for people who love attention. It is never just a  codependent woman taking advantage of a man. Such relationships are not gender specific and most people dislike discussing it because they fear hurting their partner's ego.

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It is vital to understand the role you play in your relationship. If you are the caretaker, speak to your partner and explain your situation. If you often ask yourself, "Am I codependent?", it is time to seek professional help. You can take professional guidance to help you set boundaries. You can even consult specialists to build healthy relationships and improve your self-esteem.

Signs You Are in a Codependent Relationship

Codependent relationship

It is pivotal to recognize the signs of codependency in relationships. People with codependent behavior traits are often attractive in the beginning. Their caring nature and loving attitude may draw you in. However, codependency is not a likable trait and is likely to make you feel suffocated after some time. In many cases, codependency in relationships may also lead to a bad breakup even before your first anniversary.

Here are some signs you may have noticed in a codependent relationship:

1. Low Self-esteem

Codependent people often have low self-esteem. They could have childhood trauma of never being able to please their parents. It manifests as low self-esteem. It can make them feel worthless. Their inner voice desires to prove themselves to others constantly. They may also have difficulty saying no to people, even when it's not in their best interest. They are gullible and often take the blame for saving someone else.

2. Need for Control

Codependent people often feel they need to control every person and situation around them. It is their way of feeling safe. They will only have things done their way, which could cause conflicts in the relationship. A codependent person may show signs of overprotectiveness and solve all your problems. They will constantly worry for you, even in the safest of locations. They may call or text you daily to ensure you're okay. Such people give you no room to grow and face issues in life.

3. People-pleasing

People-pleasing tops the list of codependency symptoms. You will often need to please others, even sacrificing their needs.  People in a codependent relationship often shy away from saying no. You might find them agreeing to silly requests and spending more than they earn. Their behavior is not limited to their romantic partners. Most people get taken advantage of by their siblings and friends as well. Constant people-pleasing is exhausting and will wear you out. In turn, you show anger and frustration to your partner, hampering your relationship.

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4. Poor Sense of Priority

Putting your needs before theirs may seem romantic. But it is a harmful gesture in the long run. They often push themselves to fulfill their partner’s needs and forget about theirs. Such people have trouble prioritizing their work life as well and have unpredictable behavior patterns. By always bottling up their desires, they become a walking emotional bomb, ready to explode. 

5. Poor Boundaries

Codependent couples often do not know personal space. They need help setting limits on what they will and will not do for others. It can lead to them taking on too much responsibility for a minor issue. Signs of codependency include not having the freedom to do things yourself. It could be as simple as crossing the road. The fine line between protectiveness and an overprotective outlook is what codependent people cannot maintain.

6. Over Involvement

Every decision taken by a codependent person will go through you. For some people, this may seem nice. A codependent person will also take every decision about your life. They feel that they are never wrong about worldly decisions.  The worst part is you cannot negate their choice, and it is difficult to say yes to something you do not like. They may make it your fault if the decision does not work out.

7. Fake Personality

Every healthy relationship should allow people to stay true to their nature. But codependent people feel they can't be themselves around you. As they always want to please you they take on a fake personality. They may feel they have to change as per your behavior. The other partner will never know the true nature of the codependent person in such situations. Such relationships create doubt and often end up in sorrow.

8. Fear of Abandonment

Fear of abandonment is a significant issue for people in codependent relationships. It can lead them to become overly clingy or possessive in relationships. Do you often hear your partner say, "My life is nothing without you?” If yes — it is a classic symptom of codependency. 

Having a healthy and flourishing relationship with codependency in marriage is tough. People who are codependent often put the needs of others before their own. They will go all out to please you, even if the costs are high. They often have a troubled past of being bullied and neglected due to which they exhibit signs of codependency.

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Can You Save a Codependent Relationship?

Codependent relationship

Yes, You can save your relationship. Both partners need to make an effort and accept their status. You have to give discussions time and work on your issues with mutual respect. You both must sit and talk about the signs of codependency. Their acceptance of reality is mandatory before they can begin therapy. Try to understand your partner’s definition of a codependent relationship. Staying complacent about the issue could aggravate the problem and lead to the following:

  • Unhealthy Or No Communication: Codependent partners often have difficulty communicating their feelings. They will either not say anything or have outbursts. It can lead to misunderstandings, resentment, and conflict in a healthy way.
  • Controlling Behavior: Codependent partners try to influence others to feel secure. It leads to jealousy and possessiveness. If you will not do anything about your relationship you may lose your identity.
  • Need for Validation: Codependent partners often need their partners for validation. Their constant questioning and involvement could cause irritability. You may feel trapped in the relationship and see no way out.

If you want to save your codependent relationship, follow the below steps:

1. Seek Help

A professional therapist can guide you to the roots of your codependency and develop healthy coping mechanisms. You can go for a self-analysis session. It is essential to know yourself before pointing fingers at someone else. Analyze your needs and wants. Understand what makes you happy. What are your boundaries? Once you understand yourself more deeply, talk to your partner.

2. Set Healthy Boundaries

Learn to say no to requests you don't have time for or don't align with your values. Setting boundaries makes people around you take you seriously. They understand your wants and needs and do not take you for granted.

3. Take Care of Yourself

Make time for relaxing and entertaining activities. Change takes time. Nobody changes overnight. You must work through the process together. Do not play the blame game or try to show the other person down.

4. Communicate Openly And Honestly with Your Partner

Be honest with your partner about your needs and feelings. Try not to hide things from your partner. Build their trust and ensure they know you value their opinion.

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5. Be Willing to Compromise

It's essential to be ready to compromise. The goal should be to sustain the relationship and not give up. Try to encourage your partner to work on their codependency as well. Show them you understand their pain.

6. Don't Give up

The last thing your relationship needs is for either partner to give up. Getting discouraged during tough times is the easiest thing to do. Remember the good things in the relationship and boost each other up.

Only if both partners work on the relationship it is possible to overcome codependency and build a healthy, fulfilling relationship.

Conclusion

If you have identified that yours is a codependent relationship, don't stress. There are many ways to overcome codependency. You only need to respect your partner and stay strong. Start by talking about the issue and be prepared to hear them out. It could just be some childhood trauma showing codependency in a relationship. You should consult a therapist once your partner agrees to it. Do not hide things from a codependent person, as they may have outbursts.

ALSO READ: Karmic Soulmates: Top 13 Signs of a Karmic Relationship & How to Escape

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What Is Unconditional Love And Is It Healthy?

FAQs

Do codependent relationships last?
Codependent relationships can last decades. But, they are often unhealthy if left untreated.

How do you deal with a codependent partner?
It is often challenging to deal with a codependent partner. But you can start by setting boundaries and talking about how you feel.

What attachment style are codependents?
Codependents have an anxious attachment style. You will find them over-dependent on their partners and often fussing too much. People with this style constantly worry about rejection and are too involved in the relationship.

Do codependents move on quickly?
If the codependent is the taker, they usually move on fast. But, the caretaker in the relationship takes rejection to heart.

How do you break a codependent bond?
To break out of such a relationship, you must first accept you are in one. Take things slow and talk to your partner. Couples must also consider therapy before breaking the bond.

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About The Author
Aastha Pahadia
Aastha Pahadia
Certified Relationship Coach

Aastha is a certified Relationship coach and she strives to help those who seek expert advice on relationships.

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