Why codependency in dating isn’t such a bad thing

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Do you feel you’re codependent on your partner? Or maybe they’re the ones who are emotionally or physically dependent on you. 

If you’ve heard common perceptions of codependency in dating, chances are that you consider it something harmful to your relationship and are looking for ways to fix it.

But guess what?

It turns out that codependency in dating isn’t such a bad thing as everybody thinks it is.

And in this article, I’m going to give specific reasons to let you know why codependency can be healthy and even beneficial for your relationship.

What is codependency?

Most people think that codependency is the psychological state of being that comes from being with a person who is experiencing unhealthy dependence on you.

They believe that it’s when both partners are too focused on their needs and not focused on the needs of their partner. And that’s why codependent relationships usually don’t last for long.

But actually, that’s a misconception about codependent relationships.

Considering that this was something that worried me a lot regarding my relationship, I decided to conduct a thorough research about codependency, and I realized that social psychologists usually define this phenomenon in a completely different way.

In fact, the American Psychological Association (APA) defines codependency as “the state of being mutually dependent, for example, a relationship between two individuals who are emotionally dependent on one another.”

What does it mean?

Well, it means that codependency is a relationship in which one person supports, encourages, and takes care of the other. It means that two people in a relationship want to get as close to each other as possible. Therefore, it is a form of helping and caring for another person.

Okay, I’m not saying that this is always adaptive and can’t lead to harmful effects. However, it’s healthy when you want to see the person you’re dating when you want to get closer.

So, let’s discuss the specific ways in which codependency can be a good thing in dating.

6 ways codependency can be a good thing in dating

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1) It promotes trust between partners

Did you know that being interdependent on one another can promote trust in relationships?

It’s true.

And this is where codependency comes into play. Codependency in dating allows you to trust your partner more, and it even makes them trust you more as well.

In other words, codependency is the ultimate sign of trust between two people.

Why?

Because you are showing your willingness to place yourself at the mercy of another person and allow them to have control over your life.

When you do this, it’s like saying, “I trust that you will always make decisions that are best for me and our relationship.”

And when someone sees this kind of self-sacrifice in a partner, they become much more likely to extend their own self-sacrifice as well (in the form of giving up a part of themselves or making sacrifices on behalf of the other person).

This ultimately leads to an increase in overall trust within the relationship, which is a very good thing.

The reason is that whenever you’re codependent with your partner, they trust that you’ll be there when they need you.

In this case, they don’t have to worry that you’ll leave them, and they’ll be more willing to open up to you.

But here’s the thing:

Such a kind of trust is only possible if both partners depend on one another.

Otherwise, codependency in your partner might lead to distrust instead of trust and damage your intimate connection as a result.

2) It makes it easier to communicate your needs to your partner

Another potential benefit of codependency in dating is that it makes it easier for you to communicate your needs to your partner.

Now you’re probably wondering how this works.

Well, if you’ve been in a relationship for any length of time, you know that communication is an essential part of any healthy relationship. 

In a codependent relationship, both of you need each other. You’re emotionally and physically dependent on each other.

Therefore, codependency in dating means that neither of you can live without the other.

So this creates a level of intimacy between you and your partner.

You share so much with them that it’s easy for you to communicate what’s important for your happiness and well-being in the relationship.

You know how much they mean to you, so it’s not hard for you to tell them what they need to do or change if they want their relationship with you to last forever.

But how can you express your needs to your partner if they’re too dependent on you? 

This is where codependency in dating comes in. If a person has become dependent on someone else, then they will be more willing to listen to the other person’s thoughts and opinions, even if they don’t agree with them. 

When this happens, it becomes much easier for the other person (who isn’t dependent) to share their thoughts and feelings with their partner without fear of judgment or retaliation. 

And this ultimately leads to increased communication between partners and makes it easier for each person in the relationship to express their true thoughts, feelings, and desires

How so?

If you’re aware of your partner’s needs, you can try to meet them as best as you can and help your partner feel more comfortable with you.

All in all, for a relationship to be successful, both partners have to meet each other halfway and do their best to take care of each other.

If one partner is doing a lot more than the other and there’s no communication, then yes, that would be bad and could lead to the end of the relationship.

But if both partners are open and honest with each other, they can use each other’s strengths to help each other out and make the relationship stronger.

3) It helps you become more aware of your feelings

Believe it or not, being codependent is also related to a higher sense of self-awareness.

I know it might sound confusing, but if you think about it, codependency in dating can actually make you more aware of your feelings and needs.

For instance, when you’re codependent on your partner but they’re not giving you the love and attention that you need, it will force you to take a good look at yourself and figure out what’s missing in your relationship.

This will prove to be very beneficial for your relationship in the long run because it will allow both of you to become more aware of each other’s needs, which is a vital part of any healthy relationship.

What’s more, having an exclusive relationship with yourself is an integral part of intimacy in relationships.

Let me explain what I mean.

A while ago, I felt that I was becoming overly dependent on my partner and was looking for ways to get in touch with my inner self and save my relationship.

That’s how I encountered the renowned shaman, Rudá Iandê. He advised me to watch this mind-blowing free video where he shows the importance of building a healthy relationship not with our partners but with ourselves.

And guess what?

I realized that this is only possible if you reflect on your thoughts and feelings and become more aware of your emotions.

Considering that codependency promotes self-awareness, it’s actually a very good thing in dating.

This means it can make your relationship more stable and help both partners grow and improve their communication skills.

From my experience, the answer can be found in the relationship you have with yourself. 

4) It makes your partner more secure

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Want to know one more common benefit of codependency in dating?

It can make your partner feel more secure.

Yes, believe it or not, if your partner is insecure, they’ll be more likely to become dependent on you and avoid taking risks.

That’s because when you’re in a codependent relationship, it means that you’re not afraid to be emotionally dependent on your partner.

And if you have a satisfying level of intimacy in your relationships, your dependence might make your partner depend on you as well.

Ultimately, this means that both of you can feel safe and secure with each other. And feeling safe and secure is one of the most important things in a relationship.

So how can codependency make your partner feel more secure about your emotional connection?

The thing is that when you’re codependent on your partner, it means that you’re comfortable with being emotionally dependent on them.

And if you feel comfortable with this level of emotional dependency, it shows that you don’t have any fear of being rejected or abandoned. And your partner will be able to feel this sense of security as well.

5) It allows for a deeper emotional connection

Perhaps not surprisingly, being dependent on your partner is one of the most effective ways to get emotionally closer to them.

The reason is that individuals who were emotionally dependent on their partner also reported being more satisfied with their relationship.

In other words, if you’re codependent on your partner, you’re probably more in love with them than anyone else.

The result?

Codependency helps create a deeper emotional bond between two people.

For example, if both partners are sharing their emotions with each other on a regular basis, then they will definitely start to feel closer to each other.

This is because when two people share their feelings with one another, they tend to feel more emotionally connected to each other.

As a result, you get less anxious about your relationship and feel like you’re in a safer, more secure place.

And that’s exactly how your emotional bond gets deeper and deeper with an increased level of codependency.

6) It can save your relationship from cheating

And finally, the most beneficial way codependency can be good for your relationship is that it can keep it from cheating.

If you’re dating someone who has a tendency to cheat on you, then codependency can be an effective way to ensure they don’t.

Sounds impressive, right?

Of course, I’m not saying that depending on your partner completely is a great way to avoid cheating, but sometimes it actually works that way — it can save your relationship from infidelity.

Codependency in dating can prevent your partner from cheating on you because they feel like they need your love, care, and attention to feel happy.

And since their happiness is dependent on you, they’ll think twice before doing something that will hurt you.

It may sound crazy, but it’s true.

One of the possible explanations is that it makes your partner feel needed.

Whenever they notice that you’re codependent on them, your partner feels wanted, which makes them less likely to be unfaithful.

And what’s more, codependency helps keep your relationship more stable and secure. And whenever both partners feel secure, there’s less chance for them to cheat on each other.

That’s how codependency can save your relationship from cheating.

When is codependency beneficial in a relationship?

After understanding the specific ways in which codependency can be a good thing in dating, let’s look at when it can actually be beneficial for your relationship.

First of all, codependency can be beneficial if you’re aware of your partner’s needs and the fact that you’re doing more than your fair share in the relationship.

This way, you can open a dialogue with your partner and discuss ways to alleviate their dependence on you.

Having a partner who depends on you isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s a healthy sign that your partner trusts you and feels safe around you.

And when both partners are aware of the situation, they can learn to use each other’s strengths and help each other out when needed.

For example, if one partner is more organized, they can take care of the household chores, pay the bills, and plan family events or vacations.

On the other hand, the other partner can be more nurturing and look after children or seniors in the family when needed.

And that’s only one of the many examples of when codependency can be beneficial in a relationship.

But as I said, it can only be beneficial if you and your partner are aware of the situation and are comfortable with it.

If you’re not, then you’re in for a long road of resentment and conflict.

Why is codependency usually considered bad in relationships?

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Although many people mistake codependency when they consider it necessarily bad for relationships, it’s also true that being codependent on your partner increases the chances of you feeling hurt, left out, and frustrated.

Why so?

Because when you’re codependent on your partner, you expect them to respond to your needs in a certain way, and if they don’t, you feel hurt and disappointed.

In other words, you’re placing too many expectations on them, and when they fail to meet these expectations, you feel let down.

Another reason why codependency can be harmful to relationships is the fact that it usually leads to one person feeling like they’re giving more than receiving.

And as I learned in my social psychology classes, violating the reciprocity norm, which means the mutual exchange of energy and support between partners, can lead to negative consequences.

Why?

Because in this case, one person ends up feeling like a martyr while the other feels like he or she isn’t being appreciated enough.

And this is where the resentment toward each other begins.

When one partner starts resenting the other because he or she feels unappreciated, this resentment gradually grows and ultimately leads to feelings of betrayal, anger, and disappointment.

And soon enough, these feelings develop into full-blown arguments about minor issues, which later turn into big fights about major issues.

Considering this, you won’t be surprised if I tell you that codependency badly affects relationship perception and life satisfaction.

So, here’s the thing:

It’s unhealthy when you can’t make decisions on your own and when you worry too much about what your partner thinks.

But as I said, it doesn’t mean that codependency is always harmful to your relationships. That’s why I believe it’s important to discuss specific reasons why it can be a negative thing in your romantic relationships.

So why is codependency in dating usually considered bad?

1) Codependents sacrifice their own needs

Want to know what’s the most common reason why codependency is usually considered bad in relationships?

Well, there’s one thing about codependents that is pretty obvious: they always put the needs of their partners before their own.

And this is actually a bad thing, right? I mean, how can anyone expect you to be happy if you’re not taking care of yourself?

Well, here’s the thing: it doesn’t have to be that way.

Even though codependents are usually very selfless people who are totally committed to their partners, when they put their partners’ needs before their own, they’re actually just being who they really are.

Sometimes it’s just a simple gesture of care that doesn’t mean that it’s going to turn the relationship into an unhealthy connection.

But where’s the line between healthy and unhealthy dependency whenever someone sacrifices their own needs to please their partner?

In the relationship you have with yourself! That’s something I learned from Rudá Iandê’s masterclass on Love and Intimacy that I mentioned above.

Believe it or not, the only way to maintain a deep level of intimacy is to build a healthy relationship with your inner self.

After listening to Rudá’s free video, I quickly realized how complicated my inner relationship with myself is. And his perspective helped me to figure out that the real problem was completely different.

The result?

I realized that taking too much care of my partner wasn’t such a bad thing. The worst thing was that I couldn’t reflect on my inner desires, and I lost touch with myself.

So, if you also want to fix the problem of neglecting your own needs, maybe you should think about watching his incredible masterclass on Love and Intimacy.

Check out the free video here.

2) Codependents can’t say “no” to their partners

The most obvious reason why codependency is harmful to romantic relationships is that people who are overly dependent on their partner have a hard time saying “no.”

Let me explain what I mean.

Codependents are people who love and care for other people more than themselves. They will do anything for them, even if it means neglecting their own needs and feelings.

And this is exactly why they often get hurt when their partners don’t reciprocate the same feelings toward them.

But that doesn’t mean that they’re bad people; in fact, it’s a great quality to be selfless sometimes, such as when you’re doing something helpful for someone else or when you’re simply there for your partner during hard times.

The problem arises when you refuse to take care of yourself because of your partner’s needs, or because you think that you have to be there 24/7 just to make them happy.

This is where boundaries come into play – you need to learn when to say “no” to your partner and when you should break off from doing something for them.

3) Codependents often feel insecure in their relationships

Okay, having a feeling that you’re codependent on your partner is one thing. But do you actually feel insecure whenever you’re not with your partner?

Well, the truth is that insecure relationships are often characterized by an excessive need to be reassured that your partner loves you or that they’re not going to abandon you.

And you know what?

This is exactly why codependents can feel insecure in their relationships.

You may feel like you’re the only person who can make your partner happy and that if they leave you, it will be the end of the world for you.

You may also fear being abandoned by your partner and feel like your life is empty without them. This is all normal because we all have these fears.

The good thing about feeling insecure in a relationship is that it means you really care about someone and aren’t afraid to show it. If people aren’t willing to show their feelings because they’re afraid of being hurt, then they don’t really care about the other person.

But the dark side of this is that codependents are usually people who are overly concerned about their relationships and tend to get overly emotional when something goes wrong.

This is because they feel insecure about their partners, which makes them afraid that they might lose them or get rejected.

So, even if it’s not always a bad thing to feel insecure in your relationship, that’s another reason why people consider codependency to be something negative.

Final thoughts

All in all, if you feel that you’re codependent on your partner, it doesn’t mean that you need to do something right away to save your relationship.

As you can see, codependency in dating isn’t such a bad thing. Instead, it can be a sign of a very strong and healthy relationship.

Therefore, it’s up to you to decide if it’s something positive or negative in your current relationship.

But in any case — the key to successful relationships is to maintain a healthy balance between being too independent and too dependent on your partner.

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Nato Lagidze

Nato is a writer and a researcher with an academic background in psychology. She investigates self-compassion, emotional intelligence, psychological well-being, and the ways people make decisions. Writing about recent trends in the movie industry is her other hobby, alongside music, art, culture, and social influences. She dreams to create an uplifting documentary one day, inspired by her experiences with strangers.

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