50 big signs of a codependent partner

Do you think that your partner might be codependent?

A codependent partner is someone who is emotionally and/or physically dependent on a partner for support, reassurance, and validation.

Codependents often have trouble trusting themselves or others because they are afraid to be alone and because they fear abandonment.

They may also have trouble expressing their emotions and communicating effectively with others.

In addition, codependents may struggle with low self-esteem and a lack of personal boundaries.

Does this sound like your partner?

It’s not always easy to recognize codependency in your relationship, especially if you are a little codependent yourself.

Here are some red flags that you could be dating a codependent partner:

1) They try to control you

Codependent people often feel insecure in a relationship and are constantly seeking reassurance that they are loved.

In their effort to get this assurance, they might try to control you to get what they want.

For example, they might try to control where you go, who you talk to, or how much time you spend with other people.

2) They have an extremely difficult time being alone

If your partner has an extremely difficult time being alone, it could be a sign that they’re codependent.

Codependent people often don’t have a strong sense of self. In order to feel whole, they need someone else to make them feel loved and secure.

They might try to “fix” their loneliness by spending more time with you than is healthy. They might even follow you around when you go out with friends, try to “fix” your problems, or become clingy and dependent on you.

This is because they feel like they need to be with you in order to feel complete.

3) They are constantly blaming themself

If your partner is constantly blaming themself for everything, it could be a sign that they have a codependent mindset.

According to Mental Health America, codependent people have, “A sense of guilt when asserting themselves.”

They think they are “bad” for having emotions like anger, sadness, and resentment.

They feel guilty for doing or not doing something.

They’re constantly blaming themselves for anything that goes wrong.

Does that sound like your partner?

4) You constantly have to walk on eggshells in your relationship

Do you feel like you constantly have to walk on eggshells in your relationship? Well, it could be another sign that you’re with a codependent partner.

The thing is that codependent people often feel anxious and unsure of themselves. This often leads to misunderstandings and hurt feelings. And in response, it makes their partner afraid to say or do something wrong.

Sound familiar?

5) They have trouble experiencing happiness or joy

Codependent people often neglect their own needs and desires in order to meet the needs of their partner.

You might notice that your partner has a hard time experiencing happiness or joy in your relationship.

They might seem a little “robotic” and like their emotions just aren’t there. They might constantly put your needs before their own.

They might even make “sad” things feel “happy” by convincing themselves that it’s okay.

6) Their self-esteem is extremely low

A high percentage of codependent people have low self-esteem. They often don’t feel like they’re worthy of love because they don’t love themselves.

You might notice that your partner has a low sense of self-worth. They might have a hard time recognizing their own achievements, and they might feel unworthy of receiving love.

They might think that you deserve to be with someone who’s better than them.

7) They constantly worry about you

If your partner is constantly worried about you, it could be a sign that they’re codependent.

  • They might worry about you because they don’t feel like they’re capable of meeting your needs.
  • They might worry about how long the two of you will last, or if you’ll ever find love and happiness.
  • They might also worry about your health and well-being.
  • They might be constantly asking you if you’re okay or if there’s anything they can do for you.
  • They might also insist on helping you with all of your problems, even the ones you can handle on your own.

8) They are overly responsible for your feelings

Here’s another one: Codependent people often think that they need to be responsible for the emotions of their loved ones.

What do I mean?

Well, for example, they might guilt trip you for feeling angry, sad, or resentful. They might even apologize for your feelings or try to make them go away.

9) They think they’re responsible for you

Does your partner think that they’re responsible for you? If so, it’s another sign of someone who is codependent.

They might think that they need to “save” you from loneliness, sadness, or anger. They might think that they need to fix your problems, even if you don’t want them to.

They might think that they need to make you happy and keep you safe.

10) They sacrifice their needs for yours

If your partner is constantly putting your needs above their own, even when you don’t ask or want them to, it could be a sign that they’re codependent.

Codependent people often have a hard time recognizing their own needs. They might think that their needs are frivolous and unimportant.

11) They have abandonment issues

If your partner fears that you’re going to leave them, their codependency may be the result of abandonment issues.

This fear can make them clingy and needy, and it can be especially problematic in a relationship.

Your partner may be unwilling to let you out of their sight, and they may even sabotage your relationships with other people so that you’re forced to stay with them.

If you notice that your partner is extremely jealous or acts paranoid when you have to spend time away from them, this could be another sign of codependency.

12) They can’t make a decision by themselves

It can be extremely frustrating to be with someone who can’t make a simple decision.

For example, if you’re going to see a movie, you’ll ask them what they want to see and they’ll reply “What do you want to see?”

Or you’ll ask them what they want for dinner and they’ll reply with “What do you want for dinner?

This could be a problem if you are always the one who gets to decide what to do.

This can be a sign that they don’t believe they have the power to make the right decision.

If your partner can’t make a decision without you and they need you to reassure them that they made the right choice, they’re definitely codependent.

This can lead to both of you feeling frustrated and unhappy because they’re relying on you to make the decision for them.

13) They need constant approval

I dated a codependent once and they couldn’t go do anything without asking for my approval. It drove me nuts!

If they need constant reassurance, it means that they have no sense of self-worth. 

This can make you feel resentful because you don’t want to have to praise them for everything.

This can also make you feel bad because you are just giving them a fake sense of self-confidence.

It’s like trying to build a house without a strong foundation. Eventually, the house of compliments will collapse in on itself.

14) They don’t have many friends

Humans rely on each other for support and companionship. They go out and have adventures with the people they care about most.

Relationships are what help us grow as individuals and be happy.

However, if your partner doesn’t have many friends, they may not be getting the social support that they need.

This can make them feel like they can’t rely on anyone but you. This can lead to them relying on you for everything and preventing you from meeting your own needs.

15) They’re afraid to be alone

If your partner is afraid to be alone, they may be codependent.

It’s natural to want companionship, but if your partner can’t even spend a few hours on their own, that’s a sign that they’re too reliant on you.

This can cause resentment in both of you.

16) There is a taker and carer dynamic to your relationship

A codependent relationship is one in which one person is the taker and the other is the caretaker.

As a taker, you may be self-absorbed, unable to trust others, or even emotionally dependent on someone else.

That would make your partner the caretaker. They spend their time taking care of you and your needs instead of their own.

In this type of relationship, both people often end up feeling helpless and frustrated because a codependent relationship is a form of emotional dependency.

17) They enable their partner’s addiction

Did you know that codependency and addiction go hand in hand?

A codependent partner will often enable their partner’s addiction by covering up for them and helping them to continue abusing drugs or alcohol.

pexels alena darmel 6642911 50 big signs of a codependent partner

A codependent partner may enable their partner’s addiction by covering up for them, or by helping them to continue abusing drugs or alcohol.

They may do this because they feel responsible for their partner’s actions, or because they want to feel better about themselves.

18) They want to “fix” you

If your partner has a desire to “fix” you, it could be an indicator that they are codependent.

This desire may show up in their desire to change your habits, like your eating or work habits, or to change your personality.

A healthy partner will listen to your problems and give you advice when you ask for it, but they won’t be constantly trying to solve all of your problems.

19) They are constantly making excuses for your behavior

If your partner is constantly excusing your behavior, it could be a sign that they are codependent.

A healthy partner will not make excuses for you, but will instead hold you accountable for your actions.

When you make a mistake, they will help you learn from it and will expect you to do the same.

But if your partner is making excuses for your actions, it could be because they want you to stay in a certain way.

They may be afraid that you will change for the better and leave them, so they are constantly making excuses for your behavior in an attempt to keep you where they want you.

20) They need constant reassurance from you

A codependent partner will need constant reassurance that they are loved, wanted, and needed.

They will ask questions like, “Do you still love me?” and “Do you miss me when we are apart?”

It’s like they need to hear that you love them in order to feel loved themselves.

When you are with a codependent partner, you need to be careful not to get caught up in their need for reassurance. They will constantly ask you if you like them and if you want to stay with them.

You need to put a stop to this by not answering their questions or, when you do, answering with honesty.

21) They worry about you constantly

They’ll call you several times a day just to make sure you are safe.

They may also badger you to see if you have eaten, if you have slept, or if you have taken care of your basic needs.

When you are with a codependent partner, it’s important to set boundaries with them.

Trust me, you cannot be on the phone with them all day and ignore your other responsibilities.

22) They lie to defend you

If your partner is constantly lying to defend you, it could be an indication of a codependent relationship.

A healthy partner will want to solve your problems and help you learn from your mistakes.

They won’t constantly be lying to your friends and family to defend you.

A codependent partner will do this because they don’t want you to be in any kind of trouble. As I mentioned earlier, they feel responsible for you.

23) They make you feel guilty when you are apart

Codependent partners like to make you feel guilty when you are not together. Mine certainly did.

If I made plans to go see a friend, he’d badger me to stay home and watch a movie with him. If I went out anyway, he’d make me feel guilty – like I did something horrible.

A codependent partner will often feel neglected and unimportant, so they will do whatever they can to make you feel guilty when you’re apart.

24) They need to be needed

A codependent partner needs to feel needed.

They will constantly want to do things for you. They will also often sacrifice their own needs in order to meet yours.

They have an extremely hard time letting go and will feel lost if you don’t need anything from them.

25) They want to do everything for you

They’ll do your laundry, make your lunch, walk your dog, go on your errands, do your taxes… I mean, if you let them, they’d brush your teeth and give you a bath.

Codependents want to do everything for you, even when you don’t need them to. It might sound great, but trust me, it’s not!

26) They can’t say no to you

A codependent partner will be afraid of saying no to you and disappointing you.

They will end up doing things they’re uncomfortable with in order to keep you happy.

They will not be able to say no to you because they are so afraid of losing you.

27) They want to make all of your dreams come true

When someone is codependent, they often feel that they have to take care of their partner and help them achieve their goals.

They may feel that they can’t be happy unless they are taking care of their partner, and may spend all their time thinking about what they can do to make their partner happy.

This can lead to resentment and eventually creates a lot of tension within the relationship.

28) They want you to be happy at all costs

A codependent partner wants to make you happy at all costs. They are usually very self-sacrificing and will go above and beyond to make sure that they can keep their relationship afloat.

They may also be very emotionally dependent, which means that they may feel compelled to behave in a certain way in order to keep their partner happy.

While this may sound like a desirable quality, it can actually be a form of manipulation if you are not careful.

29) They want to be your savior

When you have a codependent partner, they often take on the role of savior.

Because they’re so eager to help, it can be easy for them to overstep their boundaries and become overly involved in your life.

As a result, it can be hard for you to say no because you don’t want them to think you don’t need them. This can make it tough for you to establish boundaries and set healthy limits.

30) Your mood affects them

If you notice that your partner’s mood is closely linked to yours, it could be a sign that they are overly dependent on you.

If you have a fight with your partner, then your partner may feel responsible for making you feel better. They may try to cheer you up by any means necessary, even if it means sacrificing their own mood.

A codependent partner may not be able to differentiate between your feelings and their own.

This can cause them to feel responsible for your emotions, which can be unhealthy for both parties.

31) They need to know what you’re doing and who you’re with all the time

In order to feel secure in a relationship, many codependent people will try to keep tabs on their partners.

This can include things like wanting to know where you are at all times, wanting to know who you are with, and wanting to know what you are doing.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll feel suffocated by their behavior.

I mean, it’s normal to want to be involved in your partner’s life and know what they’re up to.

However, if it becomes an obsession – it’s another sign that they are overly dependent on you.

32) They want to know what you’re thinking

Partners who are overly dependent on you may want to know what you are thinking at all times.

They may want to read your diary, or they may want to know what you think about certain topics.

This can feel like an invasion of privacy, especially if you are not used to sharing your private thoughts with your partner.

It can be difficult to know where to draw the line when it comes to what is okay and what is too intrusive.

33) They have no boundaries

Take it from me: codependent people have no notion of boundaries.

They have no idea what a healthy relationship looks like or what boundaries are.

They are so scared of being alone that they need to stay in control in order to prevent it. But that means sticking to you like glue and not giving you any space.

It also means interfering with who you see and what you do, picking out your clothes, telling you what to eat, etc.

34) They cancel plans to be with you

If your partner frequently cancels plans in order to spend time with you, even when you don’t ask them to, it’s not a good sign.

Encourage them to go out and see their friends. Tell them that you’ll be there when they come back, you’re not going anywhere.

35) They want to do everything together

If your partner wants to do everything with you all the time, it can be a sign that they are overly dependent on you.

They may want to go to all of your appointments and therapy sessions, or they may want to go to all of your events. This can be a sign that they feel like they need to be a part of your life.

They may feel like they need to be a part of everything that you are doing in order to feel closer to you.

pexels george pak 7973205 1 50 big signs of a codependent partner

36) They have trouble adjusting to change

Stress is a common source of emotional pain for people with codependency.

The life events of codependents can be overwhelming, and the resulting feelings of anxiety, fear, sadness, or anger may interfere with the ability to cope.

Codependents may also struggle to change the circumstances in their lives because they are too focused on how things are now.

As a result, they may find it difficult to adjust to changes that occur over time.

37) They’re always upbeat

A codependent person is someone who needs to keep their emotions and feelings under tight control.

They often feel the need to put on a happy face in order to avoid upsetting people around them.

38) They neglect their self-care

A person with a codependent personality is someone who has difficulty taking care of themselves.

They may neglect their own needs for the sake of others, which can result in lack of sleep, poor nutrition, and other unhealthy behaviors.

39) They have trouble communicating their needs

Codependents often struggle with meeting their own needs and deep down long for someone else to make them happy.

If you are in a relationship with a codependent, you may be doing them a huge favor by helping them understand they deserve better.

40) They offer advice even if it isn’t asked for

Giving advice is a common behavior among codependents. Sometimes this can be because the person wants to “fix” the other person, but it can also be a way of showing how much they care.

Unfortunately, this can be seen as condescending and bossy. Many codependent people end up giving too much advice and not listening to what the other person really needs.

41) They don’t know how to talk about their feelings

If your partner struggles to open up about their emotions, especially the negative ones, this could be a sign that they are codependent.

They may fear that you will reject them if they reveal their true feelings and worries. This can lead to them bottling up their emotions and creating an unhealthy environment in the relationship. .

42) They expect you to do as they say

A codependent partner may expect you to follow their rules and do as they say without any discussion. This could be a sign that they subconsciously want to control you.

Controlling a relationship can lead to resentment and arguments. If your partner expects you to follow their rules, you may feel like you don’t have a voice in the relationship.

43) They feel underappreciated when you don’t need their help

If your partner feels like you don’t need their help, they may feel unappreciated.

You see, a codependent partner may crave being needed by their partner. They may feel like they have found their purpose in life when they are helping others.

This is because they have low self-esteem and need to feel needed. A codependent relationship can cause resentment and unhappiness as both partners begin to feel drained.

The partner who is doing all the giving will eventually begin to feel overworked and unappreciated.

Let your partner know that you appreciate the help they provide, but that you want to be an equal partner in the relationship.

44) They want to please you

Dependent partners want to please the person they are in a relationship with.

They may have good intentions, but it can lead to dependence because you are relying on them for emotional support and validation.

If this is happening in your relationship, it is important to work together to establish firm boundaries and create a healthy environment for yourself.

45) They feel like a victim

A partner who becomes “stuck” in codependent behavior may feel like a victim of circumstances.

They may feel like they are unable to change the situation and they blame themselves for any failure.

They may feel like they do not have control over their life.

46) They suffer from depression

A codependent partner may try to mask their feelings of sadness and low self-esteem with excessive giving to others. They may feel like they have to do everything for their partner and friends.

If you think they are depressed, help them find a good therapist to talk to.

Let your partner know that you are there for them without expecting anything in return.

47) They always need to check in with you

If your partner feels the need to constantly check in with you, this could be a sign that they are codependent.

The thing is that a codependent partner may feel insecure in their relationship and want to make sure that you still love and appreciate them.

48) They’re always apologizing, even when they’ve done nothing wrong

Apologizing is one of the most common behaviors among codependent people.

They feel an intense need to apologize for any perceived wrong, no matter how small. They’ll apologize for doing something, not doing something, or even for being in a bad mood.

The thing is that codependent people tend to feel responsible for everything that happens and they feel the need to fix things whenever they can.

What’s more, codependents want to be liked and accepted, so they go out of their way to make sure everyone else is happy.

49) They feel worthy only when they make sacrifices for you

Oftentimes, codependent people feel like they can’t be themselves without the other person’s approval.

In order to get your approval, your partner will go out of their way with big gestures and make sacrifices – anything to show you how much they care so that in return, you’ll give them your unconditional love.

What exactly do I mean by sacrifices? Well, for example, a codependent person who loves their job would quit so that their partner could accept a job abroad.

It’s all about putting the needs of their partner first.

50) They have no interests outside your relationship

Finally, people with codependency tend to be more focused on their partner than they are on themselves.

They don’t have many friends and they have few or no interests or hobbies outside the relationship. Now, that’s a lot of pressure to put on their partner. As a result, they often feel lonely and isolated, while their partner feels overwhelmed.

Is there a solution?

Of course, there is a solution!

Hey, just because someone is codependent doesn’t mean that they have to stay that way for life.

If you and your partner are willing to put in the work, you can change your codependent relationship into a healthier and more independent one.

The thing is that when it comes to love, most of our problems stem from the complicated relationships that we have with ourselves, codependency included.

Now, I have a confession to make – I used to be codependent.

I couldn’t do anything without my partner. The world outside our relationship was a blur.

And guess what? I was miserable. I expected my partner to be my everything and to make me feel whole – but that’s not possible. The only person that could make me happy was me.

So if you’re in a relationship where one or both partners are codependent, the solution is to work on the relationships you have with yourselves. This is something that I learned from the shaman Rudá Iandê in his amazing free video on Love and Intimacy.

In order to be happy with somebody else, you first need to be happy with yourself.

Rudá’s video offers practical solutions that will help you build a happy and lasting relationship – without being codependent – with your partner.

So what are you waiting for? Sit down with your partner and watch this game-changing video.

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Picture of Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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