Are you a codependent girlfriend?
Codependence isn’t a word you hear every day, but it’s something many of us struggle with.
But what exactly is codependency, and how can you tell if you’re codependent?
Here’s how to spot it, and how to fix codependency in your relationship.
1) You depend on him for everything
Years ago, I heard someone say something to the effect of “I’m not sure how I’d survive without my boyfriend.” I was a little dumbstruck.
When getting to know that better, I understood why that led to such bad consequences.
You’re a little bit like the cinder girl in Cinderella because you depend on him for everything from basic needs to being there for you when you need it most.
You rely on him for food, shelter, a shoulder to cry on, and even fleeting moments of self-worth or security.
If he happens to be unavailable at any point in time (which is most likely), you’re likely going to fall apart emotionally — mentally and emotionally depleted if not altogether devastated by the knowledge that he isn’t available…and you need him anyway.
2) You never feel like you’re good enough for them
Perhaps codependents are so needy because they don’t feel like they’re good enough for their partner.
Is that the case for you?
Do you try to hang onto him (or her) because you think that you’re not worthy of better, or that no one else in the world would want to be with you?
Relying on someone else for everything can feel pretty good — it makes us feel like we don’t have to worry about anything because that person will take care of everything.
But if he’s doing all of this stuff for you out of pity, and isn’t actually interested in being with you (which is probably the more common scenario), then it’s going to be pretty hard to make anything work.
3) You get upset when you don’t hear from them
I have to admit, this one was really hard for me to wrap my head around at first.
I had a boyfriend a few years back, who I thought was awesome.
Unfortunately, I was so codependent.
When his phone died and I didn’t hear from him for a few hours? I am freaked out!
When he would have other plans and forget to call me? It made my life pretty much unbearable. I acted like I had been abandoned or something — which I hadn’t because we were just in different places at the time.
Likewise, codependents often don’t want their significant other to be traveling the world or having a fun time without them — they get upset when they don’t hear from them, and count down the days until they see their partner again.
Talk about unworkable!
4) You find it difficult to make your own decisions
“I don’t know what to do with myself when he’s not around.”
“Without him, I can’t make a decision.”
“I have to ask for my boyfriend’s advice before I decide to do anything.”
Codependents often find themselves in this mindset — they don’t know what life would be like without the person they’re codependent with, and they worry that they might not be able to cope without them.
In addition, codependents tend to believe that whatever their significant other decides is the right thing to do is the right thing. (Hence why many of us are quick to criticize our partners when they make a decision we disagree with.)
5) Your mood always depended on them
When I was codependent with my ex, my moods were entirely dependent on how he was treating me and what kind of day he was having.
If he was in a bad mood, I’d be in a bad mood. If it rained on the day we had planned to go camping, I’d be sad all weekend.
It sounds like it’s just a byproduct of being in love, but codependents will often say they’re “moody” — and they primarily blame themselves for that.
This is because they rely on others so much that their happiness (or sadness) is determined by those around them.
6) You have to text or call them all the time
I’m not talking about calling once every few days or having a little text message exchange.
I’m talking about texting or calling him multiple times each day, to check on what he is doing and who he is with, and you’re OK with it.
Conversely, if he makes plans to hang out with someone else when you don’t get a chance to talk, you get upset and might feel inclined (or even obligated) to cancel your plans too.
Lately, I’ve heard some counselors challenge the idea that codependents are even necessarily needy for attention but that’s definitely one of the hallmarks of being codependent.
7) You inevitably find yourself “needing” them a lot more than they need you
I’ve heard codependents say things like, “I feel that I love him more than he loves me” or “I find myself wanting him to be by my side more than he does with me.”
It’s no wonder — as a codependent, you’re going to find yourself needing your partner more than they need you.
This is because your moods and emotions are dependent on them, so naturally, you’ll want to call or text that person first, and you need them to be with you all the time.
8) You’re always planning for a future together
You’re not just texting or calling your significant other to say hi, but also to set up plans for hanging out later.
“Oh, I love that movie! We could watch it after dinner tonight.”
“We should get dinner before our workout tomorrow.”
“Do you think we should go on a hike this weekend?”
Sometimes, codependents literally see their partners as their future.
I want to make it really clear here. It’s normal to think that our partner is a part of our future. But when you think of them as “your actual future” – then you have to take notice if you are a codependent girlfriend or not.
And since many of us were raised by parents who weren’t there for us financially or emotionally, this idea of a future together is appealing and normal…and not necessarily unhealthy.
But it can also be confusing and scary when you realize that your partner is the only future that you could have. If anything happens, you will find it like the end of your world.
Not to mention that if that person in the future might be not at all interested in being in a relationship with you.
9) You try to control your partner
You might think that coining the term “codependent” means you’re a victim of your partner.
That’s not true.
You’re probably codependent because you try to control them — something like, “If only I could get him to change.”
or “I need him to want me.”
In addition, codependents often take on the role of being their partner’s personal therapist and telling them how they need to change, how they should stop doing things for them (even if those things are really important) to start doing things for you, or what he needs to fix in himself.
10) You worry about what others think of you because of your partner’s behavior
I don’t mean you worry about what your partner says about you to others.
Although, it’s really common for codependents to believe that their friends are telling them their significant other isn’t good enough or that their family is judging them negatively.
I’m talking about something a little different — I’m talking about how you worry about how your partner is being perceived by others.
For instance, if your significant other has a negative reputation at work, or his friends don’t want to spend time with him anymore because he’s never doing anything without you (comment on Facebook, hang out), then you’ll feel incredibly insecure and afraid of being judged.
11) You have difficulty saying no
When I was codependent with my ex, I remember we were going on a date one night.
On that same day, I had aced an exam so I was feeling pretty confident and I thought it would be nice to spend time with just my partner.
But when my ex asked me if I was ok with his friend hanging out with us, my answer was yes (of course!).
However, I wish now that at least once in a while, I had the courage to say no — especially if it meant being true to myself.
I knew how important it was to be true to myself, but I always let my partner’s expectations get the better of me.
12) You give up your own interests and passions
As a codependent, you might have given up many of your own interests and passions to keep your partner happy.
Maybe you’ve dropped off the bowling team or stopped going to church or no longer have time for the hobbies that used to make you happy.
And then you wonder why you’re suddenly unhappy — because now, there’s nothing left of who you used to be.
13) You take on their addiction or problem and feel like a “fixer”
Codependents often want to help others fix their problems.
One of the ways they attempt to do this is by taking on the role of fixing their significant other.
It’s not necessarily that they think they’re smarter or better than them, but they do think they know how to fix things better.
If your partner has an addiction or struggles with an issue, you might find yourself trying to “fix” it or take on their problem as your own — without ever asking if he wants your support.
14) You frequently blame yourself when your relationship doesn’t work out
Codependents love to blame themselves for things.
And if there weren’t specific events that led you to realize or accept it, you probably always assumed you were responsible for any issues in your relationship.
But even if there was something that happened between you and your partner that led to the end of your relationship (like cheating), it doesn’t mean that it’s all your fault.
I know it’s hard and I know it’s scary to think that someone you loved would hurt you, but that doesn’t mean you’re at fault.
Think about the fact that most of the time, people cheat because of character flaws that have nothing to do with their partner.
15) You’re clingy and needy
Call me crazy, but the more attached someone is to a lover, the more clingy that person is going to feel.
It’s just human nature.
And codependents? They tend to be extremely clingy!
Part of this stems from the fact that they see their partner’s success as directly linked to their own.
When you’re truly codependent, you’ll feel insecure about the relationship if your partner has a great week, or if they make a lot of money or get a raise.
You’ll probably also feel neglected and jealous when they have time for other people.
And then you’ll get anxious when your partner spends time away from you too — because now that person is gone and it’s back to the way it was before.
16) You often enable your partner’s bad habits, mistakes or addictions
Even if your partner has a really bad habit that you don’t want to encourage, you might feel like you have to because you’re codependent.
For example, I once dated someone who was completely dependent on their prescription drug of choice.
We lived together for a year before I had to make a decision about helping him get better — and frankly, I didn’t know how to handle that.
I ended up enabling him by giving him money, even though I knew it was dangerous for him to use his meds that way.
For codependents, it’s deeply ingrained in us to want to rescue our partners because we think they’ll be devastated if we don’t.
And when we can’t save them from themselves, it can be really hard for us to let go.
17) You feel responsible for their feelings and well-being
Codependents are very concerned with taking care of others — even when it means sacrificing their own interests and needs.
I know lots of codependents who chose a career in a field that was difficult and challenging, but lucrative.
They did it to help out their boyfriends and make sure they could take care of them.
But they paid the price.
And so I would encourage you to explore other ways to take care of yourself, like pursuing your passions, exercising regularly and meditating or practicing yoga every day — things that will improve your well-being in the long run AND allow you to feel better about yourself.
18) You struggle with showing your emotions
Codependents can struggle with showing their emotions in healthy ways.
I once knew someone who would always apologize when they were happy or elated about something.
Especially, when they feel upset with their boyfriends, they struggle to express their true feelings.
They were afraid that if they expressed how they felt, it would cause a negative reaction in the other person.
It’s important to learn how to deal with your emotions so that you can get them under control.
Emotion is something that exists in every one of us.
If you aren’t careful, you might end up feeling like there’s a constant battle going on inside of you.
When you’ve been feeling this way since you’re dating your boyfriend, it means that you have a high chance of being a codependent girlfriend.
19) You comfort your partner even when they’re wrong
If you’re codependent, you might be the kind of person who always tries to tell the other person they’re not wrong — even when they are.
You might constantly say things like, “I don’t agree with that” or “That’s a terrible idea.”
But then, you go on to say things like “But I love you anyway.”
That’s because of your need to keep that person happy.
And it works — but at a great cost.
In other words, if your partner is being irrational or making bad decisions all the time and you’re trying to constantly comfort them, something is definitely off.
20) You have a hard time moving on when the relationship ends.
I know that I was a codependent.
I always had difficulty making decisions without consulting my boyfriend — even if he was at work.
The more time he spent away from me, the more clingy I felt.
That becomes even easier to see at the end of the relationship when the two of us had quite a few rifts.
Actually, now that I think about it, they weren’t really my fault. But at that time, I didn’t realize it and still tried to hold on.
It was only when he was the one to end the relationship that I knew it was irreversible.
Can you believe it? It wasn’t until six months later that I started to feel less depressed.
Even so, by the time he got a new girlfriend, I was still very heartbroken and stalked them for a while.
Until I happened to see this clip, I gradually gained an understanding after being exposed to the knowledge and values that Ruda Iande sent.
As Ruda Iande mentioned in this mind-blowing free video:
Love is not what many of us think it is. In fact, many of us are actually self-sabotaging our love lives without realizing it!
I realized that I was letting the codependence – which I wasn’t able to control by myself, destroy my previous relationships.
And since then I have changed, not only better in later relationships, but also to become a better version of myself.
If you are facing the same problem as me before, click here to watch the free video. I bet it can help you like it helped me.
How to overcome codependency and become an independent girlfriend
So how do you get out of this situation?
Well, the best way is to get out of this relationship.
But if that’s not an option, here are some measures you can take:
1) Practice self-care daily
Codependents often neglect taking care of themselves and their own needs so they can take care of everyone else.
This means making sure you have meals to eat every day — and that it’s nutritious, delicious and filling.
It means getting plenty of sleep every night.
It means going out with your friends and doing something that makes you happy — even if it’s only once a week.
And it means knowing your boundaries and sticking to them.
In other words, if someone doesn’t respect you, distance yourself until they do. You can’t give up on your own needs in order to take care of someone else.
2) Find a mentor
Codependents are often so afraid of being abandoned or left alone that they choose relationships that provide lots of emotional support.
This is why codependents tend to gravitate towards codependent people and other types of toxic relationships.
But instead of trying to be with a toxic person, find someone who you feel safe and secure with, who won’t emotionally abuse you — even if they’re not always available to you 24/7.
This might be a good friend or family member — but it could also be someone from one of your hobbies or interests, like cooking or singing in the choir.
The more you can surround yourself with people who will listen to you, provide advice and support and do things with you, the more you’ll feel like you’re growing an actual friendship.
If you cannot find someone, or if you need help from professional trained relationship coaches, try this Relationship Hero.
This is a popular site that many of my friends, including me, reach to when we need advice from a professional perspective.
I don’t want to say too much. But because I know that it’s so hard to take the first step by ourselves without any guidance – and this site is a great place to start – so I recommend it.
3) Treat your time together as something sacred
And honestly, I would also encourage codependents to learn how to say “no.”
Please do this for your own good.
You’re going to meet another person that’s perfect for you — and so it’s important to know when relationships don’t work out.
4) Keep things light and fun
Codependents often take everything seriously, which can make dating very difficult.
If you want to get out of this relationship, try to find a way to smile and laugh together as often as possible — that will make it easier for you to be yourself.
And if you’re working on your boundaries, try to avoid discussing serious topics with your partner when things are tense — only when it’s an open conversation about how he is doing or why he isn’t feeling very good.
5) Learn what you’re looking for in your relationship
And finally, if you’re codependent, detach from the emotion and look at the facts as clearly and unemotionally as possible.
This means being honest with yourself about how your relationship is working out — or not working out — and asking yourself what’s really most important to you.
Is it having a boyfriend who always texts you back within 1 minute?
Is it having someone who makes you feel safe?
Is it having someone who will help you out financially or take care of you when something goes wrong?
Or you just love that person no matter what he’s doing, only want the best things for him and that your true happiness?
Figure that out, and you’ll be able to figure out what to expect in a relationship. That will make your life easier.
So that’s my list of signs and symptoms of codependency.
I hope this has been helpful for you.
If you’re codependent, I want to encourage you to start slowly and be aware of what’s going on with your behavior.
It might not be easy — but it will be far better than staying in an unhealthy relationship!
Remember that your self-worth is important — but it’s not more important than the value of your own life.
Do what makes you happy (even if it isn’t a romantic relationship).
This means spending time with people who make you feel good about yourself, putting yourself first, and setting healthy boundaries with everyone else.