15 Signs That You May Be Codependent in Love

Love & Learn 11

The term "codependency" was once applied to those who were in romantic (or other) relationships with a person who was addicted to substances or alcohol. The definition of "codependent" has grown, over the years, to include any person who is in an unhealthy, mutually satisfactory relationship.

People who have issues with co-dependence (often the result of childhood traumas), often seek and form one-sided, emotionally destructive relationships, as a result of low-self esteem.

Sounds pretty harsh, right? Luckily, like with all problems in life, a little knowledge may be all it takes to change these unhealthy patterns of behavior.

Here are some signs that you may be codependent.

1) Thanks to a pretty nasty case of low-self esteem, you don't see yourself as lovable or worthy of love.

2) You must be right and save face in front of your partner - even if that means lying or being evasive in order not to evoke anger or rejection from your partner.

3) Instead of being honest about pain, you instead mask the pain so it shows up in indirect fashions: you may lash out in anger, use humor or isolate yourself rather than show pain.

4) You believe that your partner (and, frankly, ALL of your partners) are unable to care for themselves; instead, they need you to care for them in order to be okay.

5) At the same time, you put aside your own wants and needs in order to ensure your partner has all that he or she needs from you.

6) You're afraid to open up to your partner and let him or her know what you want and need out of the relationship, because you're afraid you'll appear "weak."

7) You constantly go after unavailable partners - those who are married or those who are not looking to date, in order to keep yourself isolated and alone.

8) You lavish gifts, praise and attention upon those you want to date, mistaking this type of attention for love.

9) You find that you stay in bad relationships for far too long - you're loyal to a fault, which, coupled with a fear of being alone, means that you're more content to stay with the "devil you know" versus the "devil you don't."

10) You avoid intimacy on any level (sexual, physical, or emotional) to maintain distance between yourself and others in an attempt to keep yourself "safe."

11) You allow your addiction to your relationship to distract you from forming actual intimate relationships.

12) Rather than use healthy patterns of communication in relationships, you instead, use indirect or passive-aggressive types of communication to try and avoid conflicts or spats.

13) You use sexual attention from others as a sign of approval and acceptance.

14) You mistake sex for love.

15) You're afraid to show any outward signs of emotions because you're afraid you'll be seen as weak by your partner.

What are some other signs of codependency?


Image via .v1ctor./Flickr

commitment, dating, love, marriage


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mamio... mamiofthree1982

Wow that totally describes my ex. I'm 6 months pregnant with his daughter and he got a bit of attention from a girl who was after his friend and he broke up with me and kicked me and my kids out of his house. He said I stopped paying attention to him and by that he meant I wasn't giving him sex every night. I'm very angry but at the same time I feel sorry for him because I know something happened to him as a child and his parents never got him or his siblings counselling for it. His sis-in-law said this is what he does though, has a girlfriend but then when he gets bored of her he's always got another lined up the next day. Its sad really because if that's what he has to do to feel loved then he will never be fully satisfied. He has 2 older boys that he won't make the commitment to see either, if he doesn't care enough about his own children then I guess he doesn't care a whole lot about anything else.

mommy... mommy2annaliese

This is me. I just don't know how to fix it :(

4grtkidz 4grtkidz

Get out while you can! We all have some unresolved childhood issues..but..we try our best for our kids.My abuser..husband..used my heart..like many of you...to feel sorry for his childhood..his old girlfrind using him..she was married with 3 kids..then had had another..told him and 10 otherd they were the baby daddy. Then moved in and out of his home etc...he was and is a grown man...37 at the tiem..I as grieving for the love of my life who died on hïs. Way to help 911 victims because he grew up in ny.bwhile out of town on his way..a hospitl sent him home..daying it was only indigestion.He phoned home..spole to our younest..who sang him his abc..s..and 2hrs later..he died way too young at age 35 of a heart attack. Anyway..our family friend began grooming me for his future wife.I was stupid because I though I was unlovable by anyone else..and who else could I trust with my kids.He had known and loved them..supposedly for yrs...I am telling you all this because we all can be vulnerable.Please find soemone you can trust to talk to.these men seek woemn who don't have family support etc..so we believe we have to help them etc..a pastor..afriend..a codependants group..alanon etc...run!

lalasha lalasha

"Not I" said this chick! So happy to beable to say that! I was raised by recovering addicts in the meeting halls I know well what codependency is and I know how to not go there. Yay for fucked up childhood, really some parts were shitty but it prepairded me for so much of life.

the4m... the4mutts

Idk what signs would point to co-dependency, because that is sooo not me. It took me fo-freaking-ever to notice that an ex bf was far to dependant on me, and had validation issues.

When I noticed, I tried to help him, but I'm not a "fixer" either. I want a stable person, not someone to fix. I loved him, but had to let him go. It was horrible for both of us.

But to 4grtkidz- I don't think most men or women intentionally prey on vunerable people. I don't think most people can spt co-dependancy enough to pick out the weak ones, if you will.

jinjelle jinjelle

Re: "Co-Dependent"

I SO Wish that people would STOP using this blaming/shaming word.   To me it is one used by abusers and the psych community itself (Sadly complicit in victim-baming, I believe) to not only blame their victims, but to get them to blame themselves.   This continues the abuse by refocusing the issue and blame onto the victim.   PLEASE STOP ENABLING this VICTIM-BLAMING TERM so common in the dialogue of so many abusive practices.  People do not ENALBE an abuser, they are doing what they have to in order to survive them.   Do we call those who have been mugged enablers or co-dependents just for living on or walking down astreet?   Most victims are women, so this seems one more way to subjugate them and < per an abusers mindset, blame them for their bad behavior.  (When they werewooing their partners they behaved, so they KNEW they were abusive and had to behave well enough to attract and keep someone.  To my mind, that makes for DELIBERATE trickery.)


AgGurl92 AgGurl92

I use to be this way...until i finally broke things off with my ex and took a few years to myself. Anytime he asked for something I didnt refuse in fear that he would leave me - and this was in HIGH school.

Learning to tell people "no" was the main thing i had to learn. my mother smothered me so much that when I finally graduated high school at 17 i had to learn the hard way on how to be INdependant instead of COdependant. 

Getting out is the main thing that is necessary. If u can get out, take the time you need to find YOURself and YOUR strength it IS possible to reverse codependancy and be INdependant.


im happy to say that in two months I'll be married to a great guy. and if i hadnt taken the time to find myself and be independant I woulda missed out on the great oppertunity. =) 

Nunya... Nunyabusiness

Woot woot! Dh and I are not codependnat in these ways. We are dependant on each other but we definitely let each other be themselves and not expect (too much) from them. To a degree I guess I'm more dependant of him though since I am a sahm.

Terri Rose

How can you be in a relationship and independent at the same time? If you've decided to pair bond or couple, you did so for a reason (a need, want, desire, etc.) and if you're with someone, you're not 100% independent. It seems that there are varying degrees of dependency in every relationship (even friendships). It's just about knowing where to draw the line and stop being a doormat just so your partner sticks around--and it's also about not being afraid to be alone.

nonmember avatar Michael86

People who suffer from chronic depersonalization should also take a look at what codependency is. DP is basically caused by trying so hard to get love from others that you totally ignore your own needs, plus you may want to please so many people that you're in a conflict. You have to learn to love yourself, so you won't need the love from others.

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