It is human nature to depend on others. We lean on those around us for support, love, and guidance. Having close bonds with other people can help us navigate life’s challenges easier. It’s the idea that we know we have others to rely on when things get too much for us to handle.

All of this is great, especially when it comes to relationships. It gives us the power in knowing that at the end of the day, we have someone to turn to. To confide in when things get rough.

When we rely on our partner’s for so much, it can be hard to see where the lines blur between healthy or unhealthy dependency.

Most people have heard of co-dependency when it comes to substances or alcohol. However, co-dependency can also be a term easily applied to relationships. Co-dependency, in terms of relationships, is not necessarily always a bad thing. When there is an even amount of give and take, with both partners relying on each other, that can be a signal of a healthy relationship. But, what if this is one-sided?

The one-sided nature of co-dependency is when it can turn any relationship into a toxic one. Maybe you have never heard of the term before, or perhaps you have but just didn’t know what it was. Below, here are the signs to look out for if you believe you are in a co-dependent relationship.

Pre-Occupation With The Other’s Happiness Over Their Own

Having a nurturing personality is great. It gives you the ability to care and show empathy towards others. However, at some point, taking care of the needs of others more than your own can go south very quickly.

A tell-tale sign of co-dependent relationships is when the happiness of their partner goes beyond their own needs and wants. It goes beyond putting someone else’s needs and wants over your own. It’s the inability to understand when caring for someone is getting in the way of caring for yourself in the ways that you need.

No Trust

By this, we don’t mean not trusting the other partner, but in one’s self. This is often exhibited by one partner being unable to make a decision without any input from the other person. While it is healthy to make decisions together, it becomes unhealthy when no decision can be made without them. Not being able to trust the decisions that you have to make for yourself and relying on the other person is a sign of co-dependency that should be addressed, because it creates an imbalance and pressure on the relationship.

Not Knowing Who You Are Without Them

Our self-identity is so important. But, pop culture tells us that being so intertwined with someone else is an ideal. Something to strive for. This is an extremely toxic behavior and a classic sign of co-dependency.

Building your whole entire personality and self around another person is never something we should strive for. What makes each of us unique is typically the dynamic that works so well in relationships. Losing who you are because of another person can spell disaster for the long-term health of a relationship.

How To Break The Cycle

One of the first ways to begin breaking the cycle of co-dependency is by admitting that their is a problem. Without acknowledgement of an issue, it can never be fully dealt with.

Developing self-awareness and understanding who we are outside of our relationships can also break the cycle. It helps us to see our self-worth as an individual and not just who you are as part of a couple.

Finally, a great way to break the cycle of co-dependency is seeking support from a licensed therapist. We are here to help couples recognize the toxic behaviors that are truly preventing them from living their best lives together and as individuals.

Reach out to our office to get started with couples counseling.