17 Signs You’re in a Codependent Relationship

Relationships should be a positive and healthy partnership where you can grow together while also supporting one another in achieving personal goals and ambitions. Becoming codependent in a relationship is unhealthy and can cause you to lose your sense of self. Here are 17 signs you might be codependent in your relationship.

Feeling Responsible for Your Partner’s Happiness

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Believing you are responsible for your partner’s happiness can damage a relationship, and according to Psychology Today, “you stop listening from a comfortable, open position because once you start hearing your partner’s pain, you immediately start thinking, ‘What did I do this time? What do I need to do now?’”

Difficulty Making Decisions Without Your Partner

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Independence is important, but people in codependent relationships may find they are unable to make decisions, even small ones, without seeking their partner’s input. This might be due to a lack of confidence, and it can sometimes leave people feeling anxious or stressed when having to make decisions alone.

Low Self-Esteem Tied to Your Relationship

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Basing your self-worth on a partner’s approval or pinning all your self-esteem on your relationship can lead to a persistent fear of rejection. Positive Psychology says, “People with high self-respect tend to have more satisfying, loving, and stable relationships than those who do not, precisely because they know that they need to first find their worth, esteem, and happiness within themselves.”

Neglecting Other Relationships

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Having a range of relationships with supportive people throughout different aspects of your life is important. A relationship with your partner may become unhealthy when you start to isolate yourself from friends and family, prioritizing your partner’s company, even to the extent that other relationships suffer.

Lack of Personal Boundaries

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Personal boundaries are essential within any personal or professional relationship, and you need to be able to say ‘no’ and set healthy limits with your partner. This lack of personal boundaries in a codependent relationship may also cause you to feel responsible for managing your partner’s emotions or reactions.

Constant Need for Reassurance

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While it is nice for partners to support one another in life choices, it becomes unhealthy if you are seeking validation from your partner too often. This may be shown by a constant need for reassurance surrounding your partner’s feelings about you and a need for constant affirmation.

Sacrificing Personal Interests and Goals

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Whether you’ve given up your hobbies or lost interest in your personal goals, if your identity becomes almost entirely entwined with your partner’s, you may be in a codependent relationship. According to Mental Help, “sacrificing dreams or goals within a relationship can lead to feelings of resentment, unfulfillment, and loss of identity.”

Overwhelming Fear of Abandonment

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Experiencing intense anxiety at the thought of being without your partner is a sign that your dependency may have become unhealthy. You may alter your behaviors drastically to avoid triggering a breakup, or you might feel yourself recognizing unhealthy dynamics but staying in the relationship due to the fear of being lonely.

Excessive Caretaking

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Being caring is a positive trait in most relationships; however, it becomes unhealthy if you feel compelled to solve all your partner’s problems or to take care of their every need. Your partner shouldn’t rely on you too much, and you should never neglect your own needs because you are focused on caring for your partner.

Difficulty Expressing Disagreements

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Your fear of abandonment may manifest itself in avoiding conflict or suppressing your feelings on a certain matter to keep the peace. If you never express your unhappiness about negative situations, you could find yourself feeling pent up and frustrated.

Feeling Trapped but Unable to Leave

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When you recognize a relationship is becoming toxic, it’s most likely time to move on, but according to Regain, a feeling of being trapped in these kinds of relationships “can stem from trauma, attachment problems early in life, low self-esteem, and feeling smothered in a relationship.”

Merging Identities

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It is important that, in any relationship, both parties remain true to themselves and see themselves as independent of each other. Codependent relationships can leave you feeling that you’ve lost your sense of where you end and your partner begins, with your interests, opinions, and personality traits becoming deeply intertwined with one another’s.

Chronic Stress or Anxiety in the Relationship

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Staying in a relationship despite it being a significant source of stress can be a sign that you have formed a dependency on your partner and have developed a fear of abandonment. Positive relationships shouldn’t leave you feeling anxious about the stability of your partnership.

Overlooking Your Partner’s Faults

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Everyone has their own faults and issues, but it becomes unhealthy if these faults are harming you and you continue to overlook them. You might find yourself making excuses for their behavior to others or rationalizing toxic traits, believing that you’ll be able to ‘fix’ them over time.

Financial Dependence

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According to a report cited by CNBC, in America, “23% of all couples are primarily staying in their current relationships due to financial dependency.” This dependency is when you rely on your partner for financial support and feel unable to make financial decisions. Your partner could also be using finances as a way to control the relationship.

Ignoring Personal Health and Well-Being

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Putting your relationship and your partner first can lead to you neglecting your own physical and mental health, which is not healthy. If you’re finding that your partner’s needs always take precedence over your own, or if the relationship is making you unhappy overall, it may be time to walk away.

Overwhelming Need to Control the Relationship

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A relationship is a two-way street, and attempting to control or manage aspects of your partner’s life isn’t healthy. This is generally due to anxiety about our emotional security and things outside of our control, so it’s important to remember that healthy relationships celebrate each partner as an individual.

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