The best thing about relationships is spending quality time and feeling comfortable and safe with your partner (to me at least). However, it’s easy to slip into codependency, since it can look and feel a lot like love, but it’s important to know where to draw the line. To put it simply, codependence is an excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner or friend, and it can lead to a toxic relationship.
These are some of the warning signs of codependency:
- You need constant reassurance
- Your mood changes depending on other people
- You feel responsible for other people’s happiness, but resentful for giving more than you receive
- You trust other people more than yourself
- You only feel valued when someone needs you
- You avoid conflict
Oof, this just got too personal. As someone who is still relatively new to relationships, I definitely relate to some of the signs presented above, and have presented some codependent tendencies. But hey, it’s not the end of the world… right? The first thing you need to do is to recognize your toxic behaviours. Yes, it’s a hard pill to swallow, but it’s important to do this if you want to stop being codependent, and start building interdependence.
What is Interdependence?
According to experts, interdependence suggests that partners recognize and value the importance of the emotional bond they share while maintaining a solid sense of self within the relationship dynamic. Having a healthy interdependent relationship can be presented in several features, and includes:
- Healthy boundaries
- Personal time
- Clear communication
- Taking responsibility for behaviours
- Healthy self-esteem
- Creating a safe space for each other to be vulnerable
Sounds nice, right? I did some digging myself and found some ways that can build an interdependent relationship. So this one’s kinda for me, but also for anyone who’s struggling with codependency! You are not alone.
1. Practice Self-Awareness
It’s important to maintain a healthy sense of self in romantic relationships. Hence, take a good look in the mirror and remind yourself about your core beliefs, hobbies, interests that you would continue to pursue, even when you’re in an intimate relationship. It’s easy to lose yourself in a relationship, and I totally get it! But not knowing yourself, or not being happy with who you are as an individual will only lead you to codependency, which is NOT what we want!
2. Nurture Your Relationships
No, I don’t mean THIS romantic relationship that you can’t get your mind off of. I mean your family and friends. I get that you probably want to spend the majority of your time with them, but cutting out your family and friends can easily lead to a codependent relationship. It’s not fair for you to depend on them alone to fulfill your needs. Plus, your family and friends can provide an outside perspective on your relationship when you need it.
3. Speaking Up For Yourself
This means saying “no”, as well as speaking up for your values and opinions. Saying “no” is an essential part of creating healthy relationship boundaries. They help you understand each other and your needs, instead of going into people-pleasing territory, which will ultimately lead to a codependent relationship. Like saying ‘no’, speaking up about your core values shows off the real you. It’s normal and healthy to have your differences in a relationship, so don’t be afraid to speak up!
4. Checking In With Each Other Often
Vulnerability enters the picture here (ew). Being vulnerable can be difficult at times, but it’s crucial. You can talk about any worries, concerns, or boundaries you may have with your partner by having regular check-ins. Being in an interdependent relationship means that you can lean on each other for support when the relationship needs some improvement. You won’t be afraid that the relationship is gonna end whenever you need to make an individual life decision, and you won’t be reliant on your partner’s affection.
More on relationships? Read these: