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How to Overcome Codependent Relationships

Updated on January 17, 2017

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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