A close relationship with a partner is great, especially if you often spend time together, engage in common interesting activities, and your values and life goals coincide. However, we should keep in mind that if a relationship becomes too close, in the long run, it may hurt you and destroy the common future.
Relationships of this kind are called co-dependent. It means that you are too absorbed by your partner; your self-esteem depends on their approval, and their emotions and actions are also more important than yours.
Is it So Bad?
According to Andrea Miller, a co-dependence is “an unhealthy, inadequate, or dangerous need for another person; in this relationship, there predominate fear and need rather than love and abundance.” On one hand, it’s quite normal to want your partner to support you and be sure that your relationship is unique.
On the other hand, co-dependent people desperately need a partner’s constant approval. This relationship may develop differently: sometimes, both partners are suffering from an inadequately strong affection for each other whereas in other cases, one of the partners depends on another while the latter is enjoying their power and control.
If you suspect that you are a dependent partner, check the following list to find out whether it’s really so. Once you understand those features are typical of your partner, probably, they are co-dependent on you.
You are afraid to make independent decisions
If you feel a need to involve a partner in every sphere of your life (ask their permission to meet with friends or whether you should accept a promotion offer), it may mean you are in a co-dependent relationship. Of course, you should listen to your partner, but if you can’t make a single decision without their approval, you may depend on them too much.
A long-term relationship implies compromises. Yet, if you are afraid to decide independently, without asking your partner for an opinion, it may mean you aren’t trusting yourself. That’s why you choose what your partner wants instead of the variant you consider the best.
You try to avoid arguments at all costs
Without a doubt, if both partners have the same views on politics and ideas for dinner, they may be perfectly compatible. Yet, according to psychiatrists, if you ALWAYS agree with your partner, it may be a sign of co-dependence. As a matter of fact, it means that you have no personal opinion and identity. An emotionally mature and healthy person who feels trust and love will never be afraid to express their opinion, even if it diverges from the partner’s one.
A dependent person, on the contrary, will keep silent because of the fear to cause an argument that may endanger the future of a relationship.
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t be afraid of arguments and quarrels: in a healthy relationship, partners know perfectly well that they cannot have the same views on all issues.
Your partner’s interests are more important
People who tend to please others and consider their needs more important are especially prone to co-dependence. As Andrea Miller explains, such people “are constantly solving others’ problems and tend to care about others too much.” Excessive care is typical of a parental relationship, too. For instance, a mother keeps asking her adult daughter every evening if she can cook supper for her. As a result, the daughter is trying to distance herself from annoying care.
You will betray your principles for a partner
Every person has a comfort zone that is unpleasant to leave. If you notice you are regularly crossing these boundaries for your partner’s sake, it may mean you are co-dependent. Betraying your principles, you seem to forget who you are and what things are acceptable for you.
You prefer a partner’s interests you don’t share
Manifesting our interest in our partner’s hobbies, we show that we are ready to try something new to spend more time together. But we aren’t obliged to like everything a partner likes. In a healthy relationship, partners give each other the possibility to enjoy their hobbies separately.
In case you notice that your partner’s hobbies and interests start absorbing you despite the fact you don’t find them interesting, you have to consider the following: why do you need to accompany him to every football match or a rock concert? As a rule, the readiness to sacrifice your own interests and values for the partner’s sake means you lack self-confidence.
You are always jealous
As Miller explains, co-dependent partners typically suffer from low self-esteem. That’s why they are jealous of people their partner communicates with, even if these are close friends or relatives. Consequently, jealousy and offense are accumulated in their soul since they don’t display these feelings as not to endanger a relationship. They think in the following way: if he/she has a relationship with others, he/she doesn’t need me that much any longer. This often leads to passively-aggressive behavior.
In a healthy relationship, partners may sometimes feel envious of their partner’s close relationship with a friend or relative. However, they never let envy to destroy their union. Expressing their thoughts on the matter, they do it without accusations or anger.
You always need to know where your partner is
Nowadays, e-mails and messengers are typical forms of everyday communication. Yet, if you are sending too many messages when a partner is communicating with friends and get angry or anxious when you receive no answer, it may mean your relationship isn’t healthy. Not co-dependent partners give each other freedom and they don’t feel endangered when their second half is spending time with someone else.
You are impatient to change your partner
Try to analyze your behavior. Do you constantly require your partner to do something the way you like or complain they aren’t doing something properly? It may always be a sign of co-dependence.
An emotionally mature person is able to admit that they have chosen this partner as he/she is. Thus, you don’t have to nervously require the partner to change; at the same time, you have to be able to defend yourself. Take into consideration that in a healthy relationship with sane personal boundaries, you can always express your thoughts and share your fears. But you shouldn’t expect that your partners will stop being themselves.
If you aren’t satisfied with their genuine essence, you should re-consider your relationship and your common future instead of waiting that another person will change for your sake.