Codependency is something quite a lot of couples deal with. This need and dependence on your partner can unfortunately lead to unhealthy habits and patterns within the marriage, which will negatively impact both you and your partner.
The good news? You can absolutely become less codependent on your partner, all you need is to work on it for a bit – and you’re here, which means the first step – awareness – has already been taken!
Let’s take a closer look at how you can actually start being less codependent:
Figure out where your codependency is coming from
Before you can start working on bringing the level of codependency down in your relationship, you need to figure out where all this codependency is coming from.
Do you have a very controlling and dominating parent who has modeled being overly dependent on others for you?
Or perhaps you have a parent who has been too independent and distant for you to really connect with.
Maybe your childhood was “normal” and healthy and you just have a natural level of codependency – something that is not always negative.
It is crucial to first understand where this codependency is coming from, so you can start working on how to let it go.
The thing is, in most cases, codependency stems from past experiences, which have shaped us in one way or another.
This actually has to do with your attachment style, which is a theory I’ll explain a bit in my next point:
Look into attachment styles and which one is yours
Another thing you can do is look into attachment styles – i.e. how you relate to others, and what your attachment style is.
According to the theory of attachment styles, every person has a particular style of connecting with others.
Some people attach to others by being independent and self-sufficient, i.e. they are very autonomous and self-reliant.
Others attach to others by being in a state of constant connection with their partner and greatly depending on their partner for their sense of security and well-being.
There are 4 main types:
It is important to know what your attachment style is, especially if you suspect you might be too dependent on your partner and/or if this is creating problems in your relationship.
Codependency is a common indicator of an anxious attachment or fearful-avoidant attachment style, but you can take a simple quiz online and find out which attachment style you have.
The good news?
This is more like a spectrum, not a life sentence – the more you heal, the more you move towards secure attachment, which is the ultimate goal.
Looking into attachment styles and how to heal your attachment style will greatly help you with being less codependent in your relationship or marriage, believe me!
But there is another pillar that cannot be ignored:
Take good care of yourself and build a relationship with yourself
A major contributor to being codependent is a lack of self-love and self-care.
If you don’t feel valued, cared for, and loved – you are very likely to seek this from the outside – from your partner.
In order to combat this and make sure that you are taking care of your own needs and not relying on your partner for this – you need to be mindful and aware of what your needs actually are.
What do you need to feel loved, cared for, and valued? What are your boundaries and limitations? How can you communicate these to your partner?
If you don’t even know – or have a vague idea – what your needs are, you have work to do.
Start by writing down everything you can think of that you need in terms of love, care, and validation. Be sure to not skip this step – it is crucial to get this right!
Building a relationship with yourself will be crucial here, and sometimes it can be helpful to get a little support.
This free masterclass by the shaman Rudà Iandé will show you how to build a loving and fulfilling relationship by focusing on the relationship you have with yourself, first.
This is probably the most important step you can take in becoming less codependent!
Once you have a better relationship with yourself, this next step will be easier, too:
Differentiate between needs that should be met by your partner and needs that you can (and should) meet yourself
One thing that is very important to understand when you want to decrease your level of codependency is that you need to differentiate between what your partner should be meeting for you, and what you can and should be meeting for yourself.
For example, your partner should be meeting your need for intimacy and connection.
If they’re not doing this, then that is something that you need to address with them.
However, if you feel lonely whenever they leave the room, you need to look into how you can meet these needs for yourself.
This does not only apply to big things – it applies to the little things too. If you feel like you need some alone time from your partner, or you need your partner to do something for you, you can absolutely ask them for this.
The thing is, you should be able to meet all of your own needs, your partner is simply there to help you out with that and meet your needs for you from time to time – but the point is, when they are not available, you need to be okay on your own.
Otherwise, you feel like your life depends on your partner.
This brings me to my next point:
Set boundaries for yourself and your partner
When you do have a need that your partner should be meeting for you – you need to be able to set boundaries with them.
For example, if you need some reassurance from your partner, but they still haven’t done it after you’ve asked them several times, you have to be able to set a boundary with them and let them know that they need to do this for you.
If they don’t respect your needs and boundaries, and they continue to not do this, then you have to be able to set a harder boundary with them and address it with them.
Also, you need to be able to set boundaries for yourself.
If you have set a boundary for yourself to do more things on your own but then you keep putting it off, this is something that you need to work on.
Speaking of doing something on your own:
Be a bit more independent – try out activities without your partner
If you are too dependent, you need to start trying out activities without your partner.
If you never leave your house without your partner or only go to activities and events with your partner, you need to try to do this less – and do some things on your own.
It is important to do this not only for your partner but also for you. This will help you recharge, meet new people, have some time on your own, and experience life and the world a bit more on your own terms.
It can also help you feel more confident and secure in yourself and your abilities.
You can absolutely go out and do things on your own, even if your partner is 100% supportive of you doing so.
The more you do on your own, the more you start to realize that your happiness is not completely tied to your partner – it is independent.
This brings me to my final and most important point:
Internalize that no matter what happens with your partner, you will be okay
This is one of the most important things that you need to internalize and make a part of your relationship.
When you are codependent, you are often dependent on your partner for your sense of self-worth and your own happiness.
This is a very unhealthy way of being in a relationship – and is not something that is sustainable.
You absolutely need to internalize that no matter what happens with your partner, you will be okay.
You need to be able to still be happy and have a good relationship with yourself even if your partner leaves you – or you leave them.
This is very hard to do, especially when you have been in a codependent relationship for a long time.
It is crucial that you work on this with all your might, and accept all the help and support you can get.
This is the only way you can make sure that you are in a healthy, loving, and happy relationship. And there is no better place to be than that!
The thing is, you will be okay. Sure, you will be heartbroken if something ever happened, but look at all your past relationships and heartbreaks – you healed and then met the person you are with now and became happy again, and that would also happen this time!
Understanding that there are multiple people in this world who have the potential of making you happy is crucial in forming a healthy attachment to your husband.
You are amazing for even looking into this subject, self-awareness is a trait that can be hard to come by, so props to you for that!
Healing codependency is not always easy, but once you begin, it will get easier with every day.
Good luck on your journey!
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