How to Overcome Codependent Relationships

Codependence is like a leech. It starts slowly, stealing every other one of your weekends, and continues to suck you dry until every single day is consumed by your codependent relationship.

Perhaps you always end up in codependent relationships.

Maybe codependence snuck up on you and it's your first time experiencing this crazed phenomenon.

But living life in this way is draining. It's draining on your resources, your soul and well-being. And worst of all, you may end up losing many other aspects of your life, including those closest to you.

It doesn't have to be this way...
It doesn't have to be this way...

You can overcome your codependent relationships and gain normalcy back into your life. Here are some tips:

Start small.

Stretch your wings little by little, get out there and see other people. This may shock you at first, as you've forgotten there are other people in this big wide universe. Start slow, perhaps once a week, and work up to more time apart from your relationship.

Spend an afternoon with your mom or sister instead of your significant other. Talk over lunch about parts of your life that have nothing to do with Codependent Boyfriend. Are you starting to feel stifled now instead of oh-so-in-love? Good! That means you still have some sanity left in you. Work on those relationships with your friends that you've been neglecting--if you've been seriously neglectful, be prepared for some serious apologizing so you don't get doors slammed in your face.

If your significant other has a problem with even your slightest movement away from him, your relationship has probably turned into an abusive situation (in a controlling way). In that case, you'll want to end the relationship ASAP.

Develop and work on your dreams.

You've started to lose yourself in your relationship, so it's time to remember who you are again. Luckily, this does not include going on an excavated search through the Caves of Wonder to physically "find yourself."

Start by making a list of the things you want to accomplish in life, to remind yourself of where you want to go (and hopefully this place is far away from Codependence Island). You'll be reminded of how complex a person you are, much too geometrically abstract to only have one relationship and one focus in your life. After so much codependence, it's important to get the balance back. Pick one area to focus on--work, hobbies, school, whatever you're itching to move further in.

Once you start working on your dreams, you may realize how much you've lost by being in a codependent relationship. You've probably forgotten how much you like composing music, learning new sports or working on your car. If you've lost your job due to your relationship or you've cut your hours back, consider starting anew or making your job more of a focus. If it's time for a new start, give your all to finding a job that makes you excited (and pays the bills, of course).

You saaaang it, Kelly!

Think long and hard about whether you're gaining anything in your current relationship.

After gaining some balance back in your life, it's time to evaluate your relationship. I mean, get out the score cards, the legal pads...the whole works. Considering that codependence is a negative no no, you might have ended things with your Codependent Boyfriend/Girlfriend already. But if you haven't, it's officially time to ponder the situation.

It's possible that your significant other is okay with you getting parts of your old life back again. However, it's more likely that Mrs. Codependence feels like you've abandoned her every time you go out to play a game of football with your previously neglected buddies. She senses you pulling away (or in normal people speak, having a LIFE) and she's flipping out like she's in a desert with no water. This should be your first clue that maybe this situation isn't so great for you.

However, all things are possible. And perhaps you've sat down with Mrs. Codependence and had a serious talk about how you'd like to expand your weekly activities to include some that don't involve her. Maybe you've ended up in codependence by accident and you've both realized that seeing each other 24/7 and nobody else was a little crazy. Maybe there are also Moon People on Mars. Honestly, this scenario is not very likely, but it could happen. And if you're able to move forward in your current relationship while leaving your prior codependent ways behind, that's great for you! You may stop reading and have fun living a more normal, balanced life.


Seriously consider ending the relationship.

Really, there is a chance that your relationship paddled straight into Codependent Island by accident because you got caught up in how great the relationship was. It's possible. But in most situations, codependence just gets worse the longer you let it go on. If you've chosen a codependent partner, that person is probably notorious for treating all their partners that way. And the best thing you can do for your partner is end the relationship and send him straight to therapy. If it's you who's codependent, send yourself straight to therapy instead.

In healthy relationships, both parties have their own lives to tend to. They manage to balance each other, friends, work, family, and hobbies without many problems. You can find a relationship that's healthy, so in most cases, it's best to end your codependent relationship as soon as you realize how unhealthy it is.

Which you're hopefully starting to realize right about...now.

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Comments 74 comments

Not there anymore 7 years ago

This commentary is excellent. Very insightful, easy to understand, and very descriptive of many of the symptoms of codependence. It offers very useful suggestions as to how to break out of a codependent relationship, without going too deeply into psychological background, unmet childhood needs, etc. Although these are very important in understanding codependence, many people get turned off when they have to dig too deeply into painful places. This article offers a good starting point for recovery.


M. Rose profile image

M. Rose 7 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

Thank you so much, Not there! I very much appreciate your commentary and glad you enjoyed my article.


Pauld 7 years ago

I have someone saying that they are codependant, and they all if a sudden ended everything with me out of nowhere. This person is someone that I truly love. They states that they felt that they needed to change to make the relationship work, but no one ever told them to change. Unfortunately, over the past 3 years I have overcome my fear of getting re-married, and realized that this was the women for me, and then she tells me she has to leave me to focus on herself. I was willing to try and work things out with her. I offered to go to therapy with her. I offered to pay for her to get her degree. I never told her to change herself she just seem to figure that out on her own somehow. It almost now at this point she is blaming this relationship on holding her back. However on the contrary, I have encouraged her to goto school, work on things that she enjoyed doing. I even didn't go to some events she had with her friends so that she could go do things on her own. Now she left and I don't feel that I am codependant, but I am now apparently feeling the calatetal damage of the other person thinking or realizing that they are codependant and ending the relationship. I am out at this site trying to better understand the issue. It is very good, and it has pointed out signs of her behaviour that I did not completely recognize at first.


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M. Rose 7 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

Pauld, so sorry for your situation...hopefully you will find a healthy relationship soon. Sometimes people are going through tough stuff and they feel like they need to do it alone (like perhaps her realizing she has codependent tendencies). Thanks for commenting, hope my hub helped you.


Jason Fitch 7 years ago

Very nice read. Funny how these things just happen and sometimes you dont realize it until your lying there at night on the other side of the bed wishing you were single. There is a very fine line between jelousy and co-dependency.


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M. Rose 7 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

Thanks, Jason. Very true what you wrote...codependency can catch up to you when you least expect it. But you can always come back from that place, I truly believe.


Nathan Fringe 6 years ago

Thanks you for this article... sums my situation up exactly... only issue I have is it's been 5 and a 1/2 years now! and I'm stuck in love... and care so much for her even though she has very little life besides living off of mine. I feel I need to experience more before settling down, but I cant bear to let her go, or see her with someone else... any help?


M. Rose profile image

M. Rose 6 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

Nathan, codependent relationships are unhealthy. And the longer they go on, the harder it is to end things. If you find yourself wanting to experience more, your relationship may be holding you down. Talk to her, tell her your thoughts and encourage her to have a life of her own. Try branching out into new experiences. If she's not ok with you doing so, you may want to consider ending the relationship. It's hard, but it may be for the best.

Good luck and thank you for commenting!


TiaB 6 years ago

After 5 years I have come to realize that I am so co dependent that I will stay with someone who is everything I would not actually pick in a mate. We actually have very little in common when it comes to morals, beliefs, and values. I know the reason I am co dependent. so I have broken up and left him 3 times BUT 2 times I came back to him, the third time he moved 3 states to be with me. His problems are destroying both of us, but my co dependency is crippling me and I dont know how to just walk away and stay. We have gone to therapy one time after leaving the therapist called me and told me I was on a one way road with him and I should overcome my fear and leave so I could have a future where I was happy with me and a heathy mate. So here I am and I am just so confused about which one of us really has a problem. He has really convinced me that it really is all me, Could we both be codependent and what are those signs?


Paul 6 years ago

I am just going through the worst time of my life. I have been with my current partner for some 17 years. We started off great. It was the most wonderful relationship you could imagine. We always got along very well and thoroughly enjoyed each others company. Always talked things out and realy enjoyed life together. In recent years we have drifted appart somehow. She is very angry all the time, never satisfied with anything I do and it kept getting worse and worse. I love her with all my heart and can't bear to loose her, but seems that I am going to. I am not sure that we can't work this out. The relationship has not been this way only for the past few years. It has evolved to this. Using the term codependent, to me, can be a very dangerous sitution if it is not true. The only cure, by this site, is termination of the relationship. I don't understand why it can't be worked out or at least tried. I have offered to go to thearpy with her, but she is determined that this is the only answer. Sad day for us....very sad.


me 6 years ago

i think that things can be worked out as long as you work on yourself first and do it separately.


M. Rose profile image

M. Rose 6 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

TiaB: There is a good chance that he has codependent tendencies as well. Codependency attracts more codependency, and the fact that you keep going back to each other could be an indication that the codependency goes both ways. I suggest reading more on codependency and continuing to see a therapist to work through your own unhealthy tendencies. You can overcome codependency- best of luck!

Paul: So sorry to hear about your situation. It doesn't seem to me that your problem is codependency, more of a drifting apart or lack of closeness in your relationship. I do think that therapy could help you, and it's a shame that she doesn't think so. Codependency makes for an unhealthy relationship and can ruin individual lives (I've seen it myself), so that's why I've highly recommended ending any such relationship here. Often in codependency, a person can lose their entire sense of self- they have nothing without their relationship. But I don't think codependency is the problem in your case. Hope things work out for you.

Me: I completely agree. But the important part, as you've said, is doing the work SEPARATELY. If you're both committed to having a healthier relationship, it is possible to get there. Anything is possible if you try. Thank you for your comment!


electricsky profile image

electricsky 6 years ago from North Georgia

Thanks for your sharing about your personal life.

I am not sure what causes people to come to rely on each other in such an unhealthy I guess way.

EAch of you letting others in your circles of comfort would probably help.

Hope you find the answers you seek.


M. Rose profile image

M. Rose 6 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

Thank you for commenting, electricsky. I appreciate you stopping by!


saphemerald profile image

saphemerald 6 years ago from Lagos Nigeria

this is great!

i must confess we seems to have like minds on this

keep it up


Cody Summerlove 6 years ago

I think your advice is great if you fear intimacy and only want a limited or even light connection with someone, but one should be careful of that fear leading you to counter-dependency which is equally sad. My best advice to M. Rose is to not give up on finding a partner that you can bond with and live a loving life with (and yes, still have healthy interests of your own). But to be so fearful of becoming co-dependent is just another fear based relationship which is what CD is. I wish you all unconditional love and happiness and the kind of partner (leeches aren't generally good partners) who you'll actually want to spend time with and who will be with you in an unconditional loving spirit when you're not. Hugs all round, you too Saphemerald. xx


M. Rose profile image

M. Rose 6 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

saphemerald: Thank you! Great minds think alike :)

Cody: I appreciate you stopping by and giving your opinion. This article was intended for people who are already in codependency, which is an unhealthy state. But I understand your point of being fearful of codependency leading to a lack of intimacy. Just as codependency is unhealthy, the opposite extreme is also unhealthy. It's all about finding a balance. Thanks for your thoughtful comment!

p.s. Since you mentioned it...I'm already with a wonderful man :)


kirsty 6 years ago

Hi there, i really enjoyed your site. I have been with my partner for the past year- and i can feel codependant traits to myself sometoimes very strongly. I was in a 9 year realtionship with a man before and we had a life of adventure- we dived and travelled the world, when i felt i wanted children he had no desire for them and heart broke i knew we had to part to follow dreams. however the breaking up was too much for me and i created other dramas that made it so. my fear of letting go and abandonment. i see that, i understand.

in this new realtionship some 3 years after teh last ended we are helping each other get back into eduxation. where does healthy dpendency and codependency differ? i felt myself getting lost in old childhood patterns when spending too much time together and i forgot my forends and passion for my work. our arguments escalated and i found myself as about 6 years of age just wnating to please. i shudder at this reality in the cold light of day. We are both aware of tendancies and i am seeing friends, working on my future and trying not to talk about it too much outside of my after care group, that i have learnt is dishonest to the relathionship when if i have things to say i should say them directly to my partner. we said we would split a month or so ago and then it became all too much and exhausting to do. now money is getting very tight. but i do feel that we both see the issues and if working our own stuff we can more into healthy realtionship - i know the potential is huge. Without overthinking things i am trying to find my own truth amongst the layers of people pleasing i can do. anyway there are a lot of positives too- we love philosophy, walking, gardneing, cats etc.. and off to study. im just scared of losing myself and living someone elses life but dont want to run either


M. Rose profile image

M. Rose 6 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

kirsty: Thank you. And sorry to hear about your troubles. You nailed it in regards to where healthy dependency and codependency differ...when you said "I forgot my passion." When you start forgetting yourself, you're in codependent territory. There's a huge difference between spending time together and becoming that person (no longer yourself).

It sounds like you're working on the codependency that's happening in your relationship, which is great. See what happens- if you can shake it, you and your partner can work toward a more healthy and happy relationship. You're doing great so far, keep it up!


renee 6 years ago

i have just ended a potentially severe abusive relationship a couple of days ago. i have always found myself in similar relationships. even though in my brain i know it's not for me i still have the "hope and faith" everything will change, so i stay.unfortunetly my heart always plays a stronger role. he is an addict and i am not. i have always been around addicts my whole entire life so it feels normal even though it's not. i try to show him a normal life and then wonder why it turns out the way it does. i know i am codependent, but how do i TRULY stop? and why does the absence of the abuser and wrong doer make me feel so bad? can you help? i am in desperate need of help on this matter so i don't eventually go looking for him and bring him back. i truly want this to be over without feeling like i was in the wrong.


M. Rose profile image

M. Rose 6 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

renee: Honestly, if you really want to change, I highly suggest going to see a therapist or psychologist. It'll allow you to really get behind why you continue doing this and how to best change your behavior. You deserve much better than what you've been through, and I wish you the best of luck for change in the future.


Rene 6 years ago

I really enjoyed the simplicity of the truths in this article. I'm six months out of a 15 and half year marriage that was co-dependent and emotionally abusive pretty much from the start, although neither of us thought so at the time (of course). As I have begun therapy and working on finding myself outside of the role of wife and mother, I have found that the desire to please and gain love and acceptance through other people's approval is at the heart of my co-dependency. I believe I misinterpreted messages from a very early age that encouraged me to be a good helper, be compassionate, etc. and took what are essentially positive behaviors to an extreme. It's important to stand up for yourself, to maintain a sense of self, and help people for the right reasons rather than for their approval to be a healthy person. Not all co-dependent relationships have to end, but if both partners are not willing to accept that there is a problem and work toward the change, the partners won't grow together. Sadly, that's what happened in my marriage.


M. Rose profile image

M. Rose 6 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

Wow Rene, thank you for sharing your story. You're very brave and strong for ending your codependent marriage, and I'm glad you're working toward being healthier. Better things will come to you in the future, keep at it. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.


tchika 6 years ago

I can definitely relate to not only the post but some of the comments. After going from one bad relationship to another (drug addicts for the most part, or in general men who I had hardly anything in common with nor treat me that nice at all) I married who I thought was the opposite of every other guy I had ever dated. As it turned out he has an addiction to marihuana which he hid from me from the beginning. He would also "break up" (yes married) with me every month or so, only to come seeking forgiveness a week later. We fought, we made up, only to fight again. I blamed it all on the fact that he was younger, less educated than me and although that was part of the problem..it was not at all the whole picture. I never found courage to end the marriage, even when he made it really clear he cared about weed more than anything else in life, even when he showed his manipulative narcissist ways to the extreme. Even when I cried ever night. He broke it off (once again) I however packed my bags and left to another state without telling him. Enough is enough! I had to get away from him or I know in my heart I'd take him back. He wasn't happy and neither was I.... After reading about codependency for a while now I realize I am completely co-dependent.. I play the rescuer, I suck the oxygen out of the relationship, I manipulate, I ignore my own needs and I always manage to become the victim. The fact that I choose the type of guys I choose just becomes the perfect scenario for this destructive pattern. I see the problem, I feel it.. I have never been on my own (no relationship) not since I was 14.. I want a healthy relationship, a good marriage, a home filled with love and happiness. I'm 29 and so afraid all I desire won't happen because I seek the total opposite and contribute to turning relationships into hell. I want t change just don't even know where to start


M. Rose profile image

M. Rose 6 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

tchika: Wow, what a story. I'm so sorry that you've been through all that. There is time to turn it around though. The unfortunate part about patterns is that they're hard to break (but not impossible). If you can, I'd highly recommend seeing a professional therapist to talk to about your codependency. A professional will be able to look at all the situations in your life, help you understand why you continue to have these types of relationships and most importantly, help you break the cycle. You can do it--it's never too late to change! Best of luck to you, and thanks for sharing your story.


Ms C 6 years ago

If there are so many of us in relationship for the wrong reason.....where is hope? We are the products of our upbringing in a society full of codependency!And this 'thing' called love? The heart speaks louder than head. love IS blind. Life is too complicated. I am sad that needing someone possibly means I am needy!That helping someone beyond my own comfort means I am a peolple pleaser!


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M. Rose 6 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Ms C. There's always a delicate balance between "healthy" and "unhealthy", for "unhealthy" is usually just the excess (or deficit) of things that in moderation are "healthy." Same with codependence. It's an unhealthy excess of the natural urge to be close to people. Only in its extreme does that need become a detriment to your life, instead of enriching it.


Kathy 6 years ago

This is a great article. I've recently had to confront the fact that I am codependent, not so much in that I won't allow my significant other any time without me, but in the fact that I try to control his life, fix his problems, and make decision on his behalf. It's been a hard character flaw to admit that I have, but realizing it is allowing me to change it, and that's a really good thing!


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M. Rose 6 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

Thank you Kathy. You're awesome and brave for admitting your flaws...we all have them, but it's so hard for most of us to admit them. You'll be much better for it, keep up the great work! Thanks for stopping by.


elna 5 years ago

My codependency is directed towards my friend who is also a codependent in all her relationships. My friend being a co-dependent doesn't really care much about me, being so fully occupied with her romantic relationship (naturally). But each time her relationship ended she'll seek me out and I would just be so happy that she has time for me...put down everything and do everything for her until she leaves me again for her next codependent relationship. When this happens, I’m in a miserable emotional pain. I feel so unhappy and incomplete without her. Diverting myself by doing other activities is useless because I just keep on thinking of her, and knowing that she’s with someone else really pains me. After quite some time the pain is lessened but the craving to be with her never leaves. When she comes back (which she will) the cycle starts again.

Now, after self introspection and realized that I am a codependent, I tried to change…but moving on is hard for me coz the desire to be with her is not easy to set aside. Most of the time its pulling me back to codependency. How do I break out of codependency? To know that I am a codependent is one thing, to break out of it is another thing.

Also I realized that I am a codependent in my work habits… but I find this one easy to address.


M. Rose profile image

M. Rose 5 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

elna, I've had friends like that so I know how it goes. If you have other friends, I'd focus on them. Anything to get you away from the codependent friendship you're in. And it's best to end the friendship completely...it's hard not to get sucked back in, but you can do it. Codependency is hard to break, so use any resources at your disposal to help you. Good luck! Thanks for commenting.


Jennifer 5 years ago

I have a question about a long distance relationship - we have broken up several times over the past few years, but have always come back to each other and attributed out arguments ot the distance. We are trying to make it work once again, but I always feel as though he doesn't give enough. I'm still angry about things that happened in the past, but am trying to move on, but he continues to react the same way to me, and doesn't make me a priority. I have had relationships in the past that I think were healthy, though my other boyfriends wanted to spend much more time with me. I understand the need for independence, but I feel that I am just being neglected. He lies to me about little things, and I always get angry. Is this a sign of codependence, or just different values?


M. Rose profile image

M. Rose 5 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

Jennifer- From what you wrote, it sounds like you're having typical long distance relationship problems. Long distance relationships are painfully hard to maintain, so I think your frustrations are probably normal, not a sign of codependence. Ironically, I've been working on an article about long distance relationships (and why they hardly ever work) that I'll post up soon. I wish you the best of luck in figuring out your situation...you may find it's best to end the relationship for good. Thanks for stopping by.


kimmyk:) 5 years ago

I was with my ex-boyfriend for 3 years and we technically broke up after he asked my dad for permission to marry me and my dad said no. We, however, kept seeing each other everyday because we were completely codependant. We had been living together. Also, he was very emotionally abusive and mildly physically abusive. He was also addicted to OC and brought me into that too. just a week ago he left me for our mutual(married) friend. And now he just plain faced no ager says that he doesn't love me anymore and he's with her now. All I do is cry. He keeps telling everyone that I'm "acting like a psycho" and I'm causing drama. I'm not. I'm really not. I have no one to talk to and I just want to get past this. The hard thing is: I have to see him with her everyday. How can I at least hold it together enough to see him and not give him the satisfaction of "getting to me" or whatever?


kimmyk:) 5 years ago

sorry- **Plain-faced-no-anger


M. Rose profile image

M. Rose 5 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

kimmyk, what a touch situation. Since you have to see him every day, I suppose all you can do is ignore him. You have every right to be upset, but I understand why you wouldn't want him to see that. I hope things get better for you soon, thanks for stopping by.


Adik..... 5 years ago

Hi, i think i'm also having a codependent issue with my recent past relationship. I always wanted to be with him and kept/keep thinking that i couldn't live without him and after everything that had happen (proven that he was wrong, caught red handed every time), i still want to forgive him and want to be with him. I still think that somehow i could change him and he'll come around and that stops me from moving on.....

I tried to move on but so hard as we are a co-worker and will always see each other at work. We agreed to ignore/not to see each other anymore at work and it's rather impossible. Either me or him will later make the 1st move to start any kind of contact again.

He keeps telling me that he'll help me to move on but taht's not the case. He's still treating me nicely with a reason of "respect" which in a way....it's not important anymore. By doing that, he doesn't help me to move on.

Both me and him are just not ready to move on but we keep saying that we have/will move on. The fact is, we still enjoy to be in each other's company despite all the bitter memories.


Gotham33 5 years ago

Why are you guys so adamant that a codependent relationship can't be fixed? You seem to be saying you have no power over it.


Sarah 5 years ago

Hi,

I am on the brink of ending a 23 year old relationship which now I understand as being a codependent one. All of the warning signs are there for both the relationship and for the desire for approval. I was taught to give your all and to be loyal no matter what, but I see now that through the years my husband has been threatened to let me grow to be myself. From the point of following my to college to being threatened by my return to the workforce, I see now that it was not healthy. Why did I not see that years ago? How do you recover from codependency after so many years? I have been told that no-one would want me after all this time and several children...is that a tell tale sign?


M. Rose profile image

M. Rose 5 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

Gotham: Every relationship is different. But, I'm gonna say many codependent relationships can't be fixed because: #1: habits are hard to break. and #2: it's extremely hard for people to change. Usually very unhealthy relationships continue to be very unhealthy; it's seriously tough to make an unhealthy relationship into a healthy one. But not impossible. It depends on how dedicated the 2 people are. Thanks for your comment!

Sarah: The important thing is that you did realize your relationship may be codependent. Your man shouldn't be threatened by you living your life and being your own person, if the relationship is healthy. I'd highly consider seeing a psychologist to help you work through all of it and help you to move on to healthier relationships. Best of luck to you.


Gotham33 5 years ago

Sarah you shouldn't just give up on a 23-year relationship. Have you tried counseling?


ann 5 years ago

This is so true.. at first it's hard, and you're right if someone realizes it;s really unhealthy, then we have to do what's right.. very helpful.


Getnbetter 5 years ago

This article has been very helpful to me. I am about to begin psychotherapy shortly because I am tired of doing what hurts me. Its time to gain the tools to live my best life and attract all the great things I deserve, including a healthy relationship!


Jane 5 years ago

This is an excellent piece. But no one ever seems to have advice for AFTER the therapy. Can you go back if your sigificant other has realised their problem and opted for six months of hard core rehabilitation? Can you wait and see or do you have to break all ties and forget about them? I realised there was something wrong, I would not have it or the abuse, and he went to therapy. But what now? It's a painful waiting game.


M. Rose profile image

M. Rose 5 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

Jane: I'm honestly not sure what the advice is for after therapy. If you both truly believe you've conquered codependence, I guess the only way to see if your relationship has changed would be to try and get back together. But you'd have to be wary of codependent traits creeping back into your relationship, as habits are hard to break (though not impossible). Best of luck to you and thanks for stopping by.


FED-UP 5 years ago

I HAVE BEEN IN A MARRIAGE FOR 7 YEARS RECENTLY I FOUND OUT THAT MY HUSBAND HAS BEEN CHEATING. WE SEPARATED AND IS NOW AND HE IS NOW IN COUNSELING. I DONT TRUST HIM AT ALL. HE NOW LIVES WITH HIS MOM AND I AM NOT SURE IF I REALLY WANT TO GET BACK WITH HIM,BUT I KEEP PUTTING IT OFF, BECAUSE I DEPEND ON HIM ALOT FINANCIALLY AND FOR TRANSPORTATION.


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M. Rose 5 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

So sorry to hear about your painful situation, Fed-Up. I hope things get better for you, whatever you decide.


Vinman 5 years ago

I was in a 3 year relationship with a woman who was codependent. It was a great relationship until a year or so ago, I think she felt she needed to be on her own and deal with her codependency after she asked me about marriage and I said i wasn't ready. Although we still see each other occasionally, she has informed me that she is now in a codependent with her daughter (22 y.o.) who has recently moved back home and calls her constantly day and night. I believe she has traded one codependent relationship for another. Any thoughts??


M. Rose profile image

M. Rose 5 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

Vinman- sorry for the late response. Sounds like you've got the situation pretty clear. Codependency can manifest itself like that...when one codependent relationship ends, they start another. Hope she gets the help she needs. Thanks for commenting.


c4vetteman 5 years ago

Try being gay, having a background with a dominating mother who was in and out of mental hospitals all of your life and ruled the house with the tenacity of Hitler, and then EVERY significant love of your like is alcoholic. The relationships with self absorbed alcoholics sneak up on you so subtly but you are in over your head before you know it. I just ended one; it is still so painful even though I know it is the only way to regain self respect and sanity. The good times were so wonderful that the ensuing loneliness is such an emotional killer that I see why people stay in such relationships way too long. By the time the relationship ends you are too emotionally drained to ever believe that a better life exists even with God's grace and love. At that point one wonders if so much damage has been done that they are incapable of recognizing much less attaining a good relationship.


notincharge 5 years ago

I am also in a co-dependent relationship. I am starting to do things for myself, but still fear there not being any time for us. It just seems now, we have even less time together and that it works well for him. There is no intimacy, none at all. I feel that leaving would be the healthy thing to do, but fear totally shutting down and becoming depressed if we do.


M. Rose profile image

M. Rose 5 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

c4vetteman: What horrible circumstances you've had...it is tough to escape the dysfunction of your background, but it's completely possible. Not sure if you've ever tried seeing a psychologist, but it could help you immensely to learn about healthy relationships and overcome your background. You CAN have a healthy life, regardless of how you grew up! You may just have to work a little harder at it than others. Best of luck to you and thanks for stopping by.

notincharge: A relationship with no intimacy is not a good relationship, nor one you should keep up. If leaving is the healthiest thing to do for you, you should do it. Even better, rely on your support system (hopefully you have one) to help you through the tough times after you leave. Taking steps toward a healthier life is always worth it. Good luck! Thanks for commenting.


Jonathan 5 years ago

I  am involved in a codependent relationship. I have been with the woman I love for 4 years.  When she first met me my mother had just passed away. I was 24 she was 36, she rescued me from Me from that dark hole of depression over the years blessing me with love and making me feel like a king . Fast forward it will be 4 years in October she just broke up with me two days ago.  We just got a huge house recently. Initially when I met her I didn't want kids and she agreed. She told me the love and caring she had for me thought she could change my ideas on having a kid. I am now more open to the idea but have my fears due to two divorces, and have been afraid of having a kid because i feel like I was the reason for my parents divorce.  She wants a commitment I have had every intention of marrying her in fact April of this year to propose. We had been arguing so much I delayed thought i would propose in October of this year.  I recently got out of an outpatient drug therapy as I was using marijuana to help me cope with grieving and also day to day struggles in life. In there I learned about codependency. In the beginning my girlfriend did what she could to rescue me from my depression but now she feels put off as we are not married and she is 40 now and says she wants a kid so badly.  She says she cannot waste anymore time on me,  shes angry and full of resentment as she feels I have added nothing to her life. We will live together until the house sells I'm upstairs and she's downstairs.  I am desperately  trying to convince her we can goto counseling now that the major problem has been identified. She says she doesn't have anymore time and doesn't want to go and she's done. I love her more than anything in the world and want to save this relationship. If anyone wants to talk jslim321@hotmail.com to give me advice or wisdom.


M. Rose profile image

M. Rose 5 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

Jonathan, so sorry to hear about your predicament. It's always hard when relationships don't turn out the way we wanted them to. Unfortunately, you can't convince another person to stay with you if she doesn't want to. It sounds like she's made up her mind, so all you can do at this point is let her go. Perhaps give her some time apart from you. If she misses you, she may come back. Best of luck to you.


SoCoDe profile image

SoCoDe 5 years ago from San Jose,CA

I'm sending this out to the universe tonight.

I'm in so much pain. I've recently discovered that I'm co-dependent. Seven years ago, I knowingly married an alcoholic. I didn't know he also has ADHD and OCD. Years of broken promises (I won't drunk tonight in front of our dinner guests, etc) has fractured, if not shattered my trust. In return, I pick on him for not being the man I thought he was. He doesn't trust me either. Such a miserable existence for both of us who were once so much in love. I'm reading Codependent No More and Codependent's Twelve Steps. Both books are vital to my survival...but tonight, I beating myself up with a weighted bat. The beauty of life is that nothing stays the same. Tomorrow will be a new day and another opportunity to try again. I believe that the universe gives us everything we need and there are no mistakes. Looks like the mighty universe is trying to get my attention in a big way.


Robert 5 years ago

I asked my ex to leave after 10 years of a codependent live-in relationship,as I knew we both had to work on our own issues. I was hopeful that maybe we could end up back together one day, as I lve her very much. We carried on seeing each other as 'friends' for 18 months until last week. I have been working on my issues, but she is unable to express her emotions/needs/thoughts, and either doesn't have the awareness of the problem, or is too scared to face up to it. Whenever I mentioned that it would be good to get back together again one day, tears welled up in her eyes and she said that I wasn't being fair and it was just manipulation. Last week she decided she had to move on to someone else she had dated twice. She was extremely upset when she ended our contact and admitted she had been ill for a week over it. I know I have to let her go - any contact would be seen as controlling. Life is not easy!


natpet 5 years ago

My heart aches for all of you who have felt the pain of an unhealthy, codependent relationship. For a therapeutic sake, I'll write a bit of my story...

Today I ended my relationship with my boyfriend of ten months. I just finally got to such a low place within myself that I literally could not drag myself through continuing this union, despite my boyfriend making big steps in the past few days to understand his/our problem and work to solve things within himself. I just no longer have the energy and have wanted "out" of this relationship for months now, after feeling fully taken advantage of (primarily financially), and now just being so resentful of him for it.

Our relationship started too quickly, in large part due to pressure from him to become exclusive and committed, and then he was taken to jail literally one day after we made our relationship official. I stayed with him throughout the next month and a half he was in jail because I felt awful for him and not even his mother would visit him or accept a phone call from him, so naturally I wanted to help him keep his hopes up and provide him love and support. This led me to paying all his bills and taking care of his house while he was in jail, which I naively thought I'd be repaid for when he got out. I was wrong, but didn't know right away so I stuck around to give him a chance to get his feet back on the ground, get a job, etc. Months passed by and I found myself slipping into stagnation and losing myself completely. My money disappeared and I was so resentful that he felt so entitled to all of it, until I essentially ran out.

Luckily he's now working and I managed to make it clear to him that it's his turn to begin paying his/the household bills, which he is indeed stepping up to the plate to do. Unfortunately he still suffers from a great insecurity and lack of trust, which has worn me too thin, on top of the resentment I already have about the finances. I have gone on feeling smothered and trapped for too long, and had to get out, for his benefit as well as my own. I love him and hope he continues to seek help for his issues, which he's just begun doing this week. I'm beginning a journey myself, to regain my self-worth and confidence and joy in life, and am willing to be a supportive friend of his (with a healthy distance), but not to enter any relationship until after I'm 100% good with myself first. It's truly scary to lose sight of your own life, and something I didn't realize I could fall into (I'm very interested in relationship matters and have a degree in psychology, so thought I was somewhat immune, I suppose. Now I realize how sneakily unhealthy patterns can develop and how difficult they are to face and properly fix or in this case, terminate the relationship).

If nothing else, in these past ten months in which I've wasted away, I have learned that I am vulnerable and that I am strong enough to have eventually put an and and come crawling out to seek better days ahead. I have nothing but love and hope for the best for my now-ex, who deserves happiness and freedom just the same as we all do.


M. Rose profile image

M. Rose 5 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

SoCoDe, Robert and natpet: Thank you for sharing your stories.


Susiewrap 5 years ago

If I break up with my codependent of 16 yrs, I will have no one to talk to. I never felt close to anyone, ever, except for him.


Craigslist nightmare? 5 years ago

Ok, I've read over 20 posts and feel I have a different challenge that needs your advice: I moved away from my hometown and unapproving church. I got into a loving 12 step fellowship here that I never seemed to get in my hometown after being in 12 steps for six years. I got restless from the ocean air and triggers of vacations, hookups, and even losing my virginity to date rape. So I started acting out with guys from an ad I did on CL. I weeded out a lot of jerks in texts and emails and was extremely firm when I sensed they were predators. I have all of this love around me; friends, divine guidance, a great job; but still feel empty and want physical closeness with a man after being a purist for 7 years raising my daughter alone from a short abusive relationship. So; I meet this guy who seems confident but is a lot like my mom (controlling, responsible, hard working, but a lot more emotional than my mom). He is an amazing kisser and brings out a side of me that is so fun and funny. Out of all the guys I've literally hooked up with in the last two months, he is the most grounded. Then he saw his ex and she's pregnant and he freaked and ended it with me (understandable!) but a month later I couldn't get him out of my mind and found his number and texted him. After some coaxing about how life throws you curve balls but you got to hold on to someone who lights your fire we started hooking up again that very night... so now each day he will start the texting with good morning and we go on throughout the day but here's the kicker: HE IS SOOO DELAYED IN HIS TEXT RESPONSE THAT IT DRIVES ME CRAZY!!! I've been to AlAnon dozens of times to supplement my AA so I know I'm the one being controlling, but let's just start with this: he contacted me in an ad and wanted to go to second base the first night and I allowed it the second night but he asked what I wanted first before we started getting physical and I told him I wanted a solid relationship. I asked what he wanted and he said he wanted to meet a real person. Then he saw his ex and said he almost passed out. She doesn't want him and didn't want the baby to be the reason to get back together...mmm there's a red flag. But right now he seems so confident and independent and I'm making a concerted effort to gain balance in my life by focusing on program, daughter, friends, and new job i love...can anything good come from Craigslist??? We'll see. But writing this helps me see that he really just wants a hook up, but I really want a relationship so he may just be 'caring' in order to get laid every weekend. He is from Mexico and has a great spirit; his dad's a pastor and he seems like he was loved as a kid; healthy and secure...but then why would he have to resort to CL? I am white, sexually dysfunctional and in dire need of my Higher Power to navigate my romantic life; not ME!!! I really want to see where it goes with this guy. I love what everyone has said about 'losing themselves'. I cut a relationship short with a woman recently and was able to come back with boundaries and she respects me now. I plan on riding this out because I love the way I feel when I'm around him and am working on my desperation when we are apart. I have a lot of strength, but am in a dark place with hooking up; which I haven't done in 20 years. I'm going through a rebellious teen phase at 42 and know I'm not allowing something solid and sane to build for my daughter and I, but maybe I will meet Mr. Right while hooking up with Mr. Wrong. I have been celebate 7 years and have learned a ton about me and men through this recent journey!!! When I freak out with insecurity; i remind myself that i'm ok and think of everything i have in my life. I sense deep down, though, that i'm actually allowing someone in my life who triggers my worst fears. He abandoned me once without a lot of thought, he can do it again... I'll take it one day at a time and see where it goes...


M. Rose profile image

M. Rose 4 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

Craigslist nightmare: Craigslist is pretty sketchy. Have you tried dating sites? Those might be a little safer. You're an adult...if you want to hook up, you can hook up. But if you feel it's unhealthy or bad for your safety (or especially your daughter's safety), you should definitely stop. Just make sure your focus is your family and your recovery, and make sure the hookups/relationships you end up in understand that and are onboard. That's about all the advice I've got. Good luck!


Goingmad 4 years ago

I have realised that I have become extremely co-dependant...my father died when I was very young I know that he was a very controlling man and that my mother was with him from a very young age and was not allowed much life of her own.

They were together for a very turbulent 25 years or so until he died. When he died my mum seemed to lose the plot and filled her life with going out and leaving me with babysitters only not to return until several hours after arranged I was only very young at the time she proceeded to have a string of drug and alcohol dependant partners who were abusive and moving

Them into our home, one relationship of which lasted for 8 years and lade my whole childhood and teenage years an absolute nightmare, I would fear to leave the house as would be worried about my mother. she lived her life partying and getting off her face with her awful bf for many years and I felt I had absolutely no support from her she chose him over me' everytime and would kick him out only to be a mess begging him back searching the streets for him even after he threw me across the room and had me' by my throat on the floor...I'm going into too much detail here but I had a turbulent time to say the least and therefore seeked security love and emotional support from bfs starting from a very young age I have had serious bfs ever since I was 13 and have never been by myself I have no family nearby and although my mother is now a different person has been single for many years now and suffers a lot of guilt for her actions in the past I am unable to feel close to her at all...I have no family around and seem to seek everything from my bfs that I have had making them my everything and focusing purely on making them happy...however as they have always been the focal point of my life and their love has made me' feel good I have always wanted to spend my time with them which of course is suffocating ad them being my only support is most definitely draining for them and needless to say my relationships have always been long ones but always ended in disaster...my bfs have always been addicted to marijuana and seem to always have very little emotional depth...every partner I have had has cheated on me and ended up leaving me which only continues to stem my feelings of insecurity and abandonment and my wants to please. Now whilst I am sure my childhood plays a big part in my behaviour I do not want to hold on to it and feel sorry for myself this is the first time I have spoken about it for many years but felt it necessary to paint the picture...I have been in yet another relationship for nearly two years now and am living with my partner I love him very much but all intimacy has drained from our relationship I know we spend far too much time together and work closely to eachotjer and have many of the same friends which makes it hard to be apart but we are on the brink of breaking up and I desperately need to turn things around by my co-dependency these days seems to come from the fear of being abandoned or cheated on and whilst I make an effort to do things away from him and he does things away from

Me I often feel anxious and vulnerable as I'm worried about what he is doing...I recently found he had been sending inappropriate msgs to women over the internet and now I feel so worried about what he will do when away from me...writing this makes me feel like I'm

Mad lol and I know I infact sound so...what I want to know is how do you work on co-dependency issues when they are triggered by the fear of being left or cheated on?


Goingmad 4 years ago

I should probably also mention that I suffered from OCD as a teenager with a fear that if I didn't do certain things something bad would happen to someone I cared about or that they would die this obviously triggered by the death of my father at a young age and the fear for my mothers safety I saw a psychotherapist for this and eventually I was able to stop the physical side to it however I still have the irrational thoughts, indecisiveness and anxiety that accompany OCD and therefore if my bf is out with friends and his battery dies on his phone and it gets really late I then panic and think that either he's had an accident and could be dead or that he's gone off with a other woman! I am well aware that these thoughts are somewhat ridiculous and whilst I am thinking them I know deep down that he is probably just enjoying himself with the boys and that he is perfectly fine and they have probably just gone on to somewhere else I am unable to shift the 'yea but what if' thoughts from my mind and end up in a state of anxiety...this doesn't happen often but I'm just giving an example of how my head can work. Sadly he had never given me any reason to be suspicious or paranoid of him until recently when I found those msgs but as he and I both know it was extremely wrong I truly believe it was triggered by the downfall of our relationship. Most peep will tell me to just end it now...and I know he is falling out of love with me but he is a good man and I just want to the chance to turn it around but the only way this will happen is by me working on myself and I know this...


M. Rose profile image

M. Rose 4 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

Goingmad: Wow, that's quite a story. You've got some serious stuff going on, stemming from things that have gone on your whole life. Honestly, I think the best thing you can do for you and your partner is to go see a therapist again and talk all this out. (Also maybe talk all this out with him if you haven't told him...let him know your feelings and where they're coming from.) You've got some tough things to work through, and it's wonderful that you already know that (just being aware of your issues helps so much). A professional will be able to help you work through your issues of codependency/anxiety/OCD and get to a healthier place. I wish you the best of luck.


melissa 4 years ago

I am just now coming to realize that I am a codependent. I have been with my girlfriend for 3 years. I want her all to myself, all the time. I know this behavior is not healthy, so I did some internet research. This explains a lot. I am in therapy so will begin working on my issues immediately. Being so codependent is bringing me down. There is a lack of intimacy. Although I cannot stop or modify my behavior, it still persists. Maybe I should end the relationship to set her free, and to really work on myself?


Svabhavo 4 years ago

I had been with a woman 25 years younger than me (I am 59) and from the start I felt that this relationship would not last as we had different rythms and interests too. However the sex was great and that was the big hook that kept me in the story.I stayed in the story another year but during that time I was obsessed about leaving the relationship but couldn't bring myself to do it and when after I got the courage up to end it, I always went back to the relationship and then the same feelings and thoughts about ending it came up again and again. It does take courage to say no to what you dont want. I still miss her but it feels right in my heart and energy


M. Rose profile image

M. Rose 4 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

Melissa: Maybe you can bring her into your therapy with you? I believe it's possible to work issues out together, even if the issue is primarily coming from one person. Just an idea. I agree with you that the most important thing is to work on yourself right now. Talk to your therapist about it, see what they think. I wish you the best of luck.


confused and unhappy 4 years ago

I am coming to realise that I am codependent and that all the problems in my marriage were probably my fault. I left my husband 9 months ago and am still trying hard not to go back to him even though I know we are wrong for each other.

My husband has issues with his temper and I tried hard to always please him to prevent his temper from re surfacing. He would scream and shout and headbut doors and put holes in them. He also tried to have sex with my daughter (his step daughter) when she was only 14 years old while I was at work, this happened 9 years ago. Then 3 years ago he had an affair and left to be with this other women, he only lived with her for a week before realising he had made a mistake and I allowed him to return home. He also has an obsession with pornography, we would be watching a family film and he would be in the living room with us and would be looking at pornography on his laptop. It's taken me 15 years to leave him and I still feel like going back when he says loves and misses me and wants me to go home he has even threatened suicide. My confidence is non existent and I know longer know who i am. I know this is all my fault as what sort of person am I to put up with this behaviour for so long and still be tempted to go back to him. I thought if I loved him enough and tried hard enough and was strong enough our marriage could work. I now know how wrong I was. All I do is go to work and come home, I don't know how to move on from this and I am trying every day not to back to him as I would be letting myself and my family down so badly. Did I make him do the things he did, was it my fault.


Heartbroken 4 years ago

Hi,my boyfriend of 10 years broke up with me 4 months ago. I have been so heart broken that I really felt that it wasn't worth living and was very close to ending my life as I felt so worthless.

I have now been going to councelling and have been told that I was in a co depending relationship. I realise from reading your articles how much damage I caused in our relationship and how much pressure I put on my boyfriend to be with me as I just couldn't understand why he didn't want to be with me as much as I wanted to be with him. I just felt every time he didn't want to be with me or include me as a heart breaking rejection. I dont know if this stemed for the early years in our relationship.

As his marrage was still going through a seperation agreement and I became pregnant. I ended up having a termination to avoid my baby being used against him in court. He then cheated on me with his ex wife for one night as he said his head was a complete mess. I was totally devasted but tried to continue with our relationship as I truly loved being in his company both mentally and physically. but now he is gone and wants nothing more to do with me. I now can see that it was all my fault and I pushed him away. I could never see that before I just hated the rejection


Jessica. 4 years ago

Thank you so much. You have no idea how much reading all of your stories has helped me. My love goes out to all of you.


M. Rose profile image

M. Rose 4 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

confused and unhappy: My goodness. No, you didn't make him do anything. Everyone should be responsible for their own actions. He did the things he did because he wanted to do them. You were right to leave. He doesn't sound like a good person. Stick to your guns and stay away.

Heartbroken: So sorry to hear that you went through such a trial. I hope things get better for you in the future.

Jessica: Glad this helped you!


Rúben Brito 4 years ago

I´m a codependent, I think I now know how to have my life and respect my partner but the thing is... She broked up, mostly because to help me... She studies pscychology... I want to get back to her, because we love each other... I don´t know how to do that.

Please, if someone read this, I'll really apreciate your help.


Ann 4 years ago

I'm Ann, and I have been in this great relationship with this very special guy. But in the almost 3 years we have dated I have cheated 4 times. I am codependant and only found that out the 3 time I cheated. I did start helping it but slowly stopped when I realized I still had the one I loved by me. That should have been a warnin sign to me. But now the 4th time happened and he broke up with me because of it. I am serious doing this for me this time. But once I do I want to help us. I do care for him even though I did not show it. I know the things I want to do in life but I want to share it with the new me and him. Can it be fixed?


Jon 4 years ago

Hi... I have to say that although this is an interesting read you have little or no understanding of codependence as a phenomena. Codependence is a reaction experienced by healthy but highly empathic people when exposed to the behavior of people with serious problems; most notably but not restricted to alcoholism and other addictions, Bipolar disorder, and the real biggy personality disorders (particularly cluster B's). The reality of the situation is that if you identify that your partner is codependent it is not them that need therapy as you suggest (although it would be helpful for the reactive depression and PTSD that they are most likely experiencing) but the person who is in the relationship with the codependenent. They will however most likely not get help as there problems preclude them from seeing they have a problem. What you are describing is more akin to dependent personality types (aka bunny boilers) which is an entirely different phenomena. I do find it extremely worrying that someone so ill informed would have the audacity to post on such a sensitive topic.

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