9 patterns women repeat in relationships when they’re codependent

Of the many attachment styles, codependency is probably the most destructive. It leads to resentment and unequal power dynamics. 

Codependent women are overly reliant on their partners for happiness and a sense of self-worth. 

If this sounds okay to you, I hate to say that you might have anxious attachment tendencies. 

It’s not healthy to make your partner your everything. 

I would know – I used to. 

Your partner should be a priority, but when your world revolves around them, and you feel completely lost when they’re not there, you have a problem. 

Wondering if you’re codependent? I got you.

Let’s get into some common patterns women repeat in relationships when they’re codependent. If you relate to more than a few, you might fit this category. 

First up…

1) They’re overly accommodating

Codependent women tend to go to great lengths to keep their partners happy. Often with no worry about what it means for them. 

They’ll typically compromise on their own preferences. 

A codependent woman might agree to watch a movie she doesn’t like or eat at a restaurant even if it serves nothing she prefers.

And while compromise is a normal part of relationships, always being at the short end of it isn’t.

In this case, the codependent woman is the one who always gives and never takes.

Over-accommodating your partner’s preferences can lead to a lack of balance, resentment, and unhappiness over time. 

Codependent women rarely realize this, which is also why…

2) They easily prioritize their partner’s needs

At face value, this isn’t a bad thing. But what codependent women do is detrimental. 

You see, prioritizing your partner’s needs shows you love and care for them. It also shows you want them to be happy in the relationship.

But codependent women get so wrapped up in the idea of keeping their partners happy that their prioritization of this goes to an unhealthy extreme. 

If this is you, you might constantly look for more ways to make your partner’s life easier or happier, even if it drains all your own time, energy, and self-care. 

In healthy relationships, both partners should have their needs and desires considered and respected.

Codependent women don’t see it this way. They will prioritize their partner’s needs even when it’s inconvenient or makes them feel uncomfortable.

And before they know it,…

3) They neglect their own boundaries

Another typical pattern codependent women repeat is allowing people to cross their lines. 

These women might struggle to assert boundaries in the first place or simply push them aside if it seems like their partner is bothered by it. 

A codependent woman will agree to things she usually wouldn’t and have a hard time saying no.

Do you downplay your boundaries to put your partner’s needs ahead of yours? Or feel guilty for even considering your own needs or the need for boundaries?

This is destructive, and it leads to inner conflict and unhappiness. 

Establishing boundaries and recognizing their own needs are really hard for codependent women, and because of this,…

4) They struggle to make independent decisions

Codependent women might hesitate to take any significant steps without talking to their partners first. 

Whether it’s to open a store account or say yes to going out with a friend – even when they rarely do something for themselves to begin with.

They may be unsure of their own judgment or be scared that what they decide will upset their partner. 

Of course, it’s a good idea to get your partner’s input. But you don’t have to do this for every little decision – especially when it doesn’t affect them or your relationship. 

A codependent woman struggles to grasp this, and when they repeat this pattern, it often leads to a lack of self-confidence and self-reliance. 

If it continues long enough, they become disempowered and lose personal autonomy

Want to know the main reason why codependent women repeat this pattern? 

Well, it’s because…

5) They seek validation and approval from their partner

Wanting your partner’s approval is normal. We all like to know we’re accepted and loved. 

But codependent women often place their entire worth in their partner’s hands. 

They continually want reassurance that they’re good enough, pretty enough, smart enough…

This makes them feel valued and secure in the relationship. 

And it’s problematic. 

You should never rely on someone else to feel good about yourself.

People with secure attachments appreciate support, validation, and encouragement from their partners. But it’s not the sole source of their self-esteem. 

Building self-confidence and a sense of self-worth independent of your relationship is essential for a balanced dynamic. 

6) They have difficulty saying no to their partner

relationship with emotional manipulator 1 9 patterns women repeat in relationships when they're codependent

For codependent women, saying no to their partner goes beyond a desire to be accommodating. They have a deep-rooted fear of causing conflict in their relationship. 

If this is you, you’ve probably done things you don’t necessarily agree with or let things go, even if your partner’s actions hurt your feelings. 

But the thing is, saying “no” when necessary is an important part of healthy communication and boundary-setting in any relationship.

Codependent women enter a damaging pattern when they don’t do this. They lose their sense of individuality and self-expression. 

And more often than not,…

7) They enable destructive behaviors in their partner

Let’s face it: we all have some toxic traits. And sometimes, we need someone else to put us in our place. 

But if your partner never sets boundaries, essentially forcing you to check your behaviors, there’ll be little reason for you to. 

And this is exactly what happens in relationships where women are codependent.

Without asserting boundaries or expressing what upsets them, codependent women unintentionally allow their partner’s unhealthy or harmful habits to continue. 

They might even make excuses for their partner’s destructive behavior or help cover it up. 

Want to know the worst part? They do this believing that they’re helping or saving their partner.

It’s pretty sad, actually.

Enabling behavior is harmful to these women and their partners. They could end up getting hurt badly, and their partner won’t face the consequences of their action, which can stop personal growth in its tracks.

I’d know. 

A few years ago, my partner got addicted to meth. I knew little about the drug and how hard it was to stop using. 

He convinced me that he’d lose his job if anyone found out. I helped him hide his addiction and get clean. 

Only to sit next to his hospital bed a few months later when he had heart problems. 

Turned out he never stopped using, continued to manipulate me, and gave a damn. 

My heart was broken, and he wasn’t any closer to getting clean than the day I first found out. 

I often wonder how different things could’ve been if I got him professional help back then. 

But I didn’t want to upset him or cause a fight, so I went against my better judgment.

And that’s the thing about codependent women,…

8) They avoid conflict at all costs

Codependent women will go to great lengths to ensure there’s peace in their relationship – even if this means suppressing desires or concerns. 

They get so attached to their partner that they avoid any disagreement that might jeopardize the relationship. 

Take a moment to think about your relationship:

Are there a few unaddressed problems?

Do you often resent your partner?

Is it difficult for you to talk about things you disagree with or things that worry you about them or the relationship?

If you answered yes, then you might be codependent. 

I know it can be hard to speak your mind when you think it will cause a fight, but conflict is part of healthy relationships. 

You shouldn’t fight over every little thing, but addressing the big issues creates an opportunity for growth. 

And yeah, codependent women struggle to see this in a positive light because…

9) They fear being abandoned or rejected

This is probably the most significant pattern codependent women repeat: an intense and irrational worry that their partner will leave them. 

The thing is, they become so overly dependent on the relationship for their emotional well-being and sense of self-worth that not having their partner will crush them. 

Are you clingy? Jealous? Needy? 

If so, then this might be you. 

Your fear is the driving force behind many of these behaviors. 

But it’s also what stops you from evolving into the person you’re meant to be. 

Overcoming the fear of abandonment is key to breaking the codependent pattern. 

In a healthy relationship, both partners should be free to express their individuality without fearing rejection.

Once codependent women realize this and develop a sense of self-worth, they can break free from their destructive behaviors. 

And it starts with recognizing why they’re codependent.

Codependency often traces back to childhood. 

If you grew up in a dysfunctional family where you experienced emotional or physical neglect or had a family member with addiction issues, you’re more likely to have low self-esteem.

This can make you believe that your worth depends on caring for others. And that if you don’t, you’ll be abandoned. 

Fun fact: this isn’t true! 

Secure partners who want healthy relationships don’t leave when things get tough. 

Picture of Natasha Combrink

Natasha Combrink

Nats is a writer who loves creating content for purposeful brands. She enjoys spending time outdoors, crafting, and diving down rabbit holes. After rediscovering life, she wants to help others live to their full potential. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

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