Codependency is a tricky subject when it comes to talking about bad habits in your relationship.
When you think about two codependent people, you probably picture a couple that can’t stand to be apart and can’t function without the other. It’s not exactly wrong, but codependency often rears its head in far more subtle ways.
There are habits in relationships that are sometimes normalized by society as just being a part of being in a relationship.
Even so, these are five codependent habits you should be aware of and try to break out of if you do them.
1. Doing more than your share.
A little bit of inequality in terms of a relationship’s basic needs is pretty normal. If one partner works and the other stays home, for example, the stay-at-home partner will probably be doing a lot more dishes and laundry than the working partner. However, there are many parts of a relationship where the two need to be meeting each other halfway. This includes things like intimacy and splitting of expenses.
If you find yourself doing more than your fair share of the work in your relationship, take a step back and reflect on it for a moment. Why is it that you’re doing more? Is it to try to keep them from leaving? Open up a line of communication about your wants and needs when it comes to the distribution of work in your relationship.
When you enter into a relationship, you’re entering into an agreement that essentially says that you’ll take your partners wants and needs into consideration when sussing out your own. When you’re with someone, you can’t just do whatever you want whenever you want. Neither can your partner. But on the flip side, it’s a codependent habit to try and control what goes on in your relationship.
Realize that you have a life and your partner has a life. There are terms you agree on, like monogamy and cohabitation, but you can’t try to control every move that the parties in a relationship make. Trying to be controlling is a codependent habit that will harm your relationship.
3. Not respecting boundaries.
Isn’t it just a sign of marital bliss when two people have broken down all boundaries with each other? Maybe. But also not necessarily. If two people in a relationship have communicated that they don’t mind if you brush your teeth while they’re using the toilet, hey, that’s totally cool. Good for you. But because society puts this pressure on us to remove barriers no matter what, it can lead to some codependent habits.
It is not normal to give up your personal boundaries for the sake of making your relationship into something someone else says it should be. If you need private time in the bathroom, require it. If your partner needs a night out with the boys, let him have it. Give each other space and don’t cross boundaries just because you feel like you’re supposed to.
4. A desperate need for approval.
This is one of the more quintessential aspects of a codependent relationship. When you love someone, you want their adoration and approval of course. But you shouldn’t need their approval and adoration. It will come naturally if you bet he person you are.
But if you push it, it comes off as desperate and is generally a pretty unattractive thing to witness. Get out ahead of this codependent habit and your relationship will be better for it.
5. Inability to communicate.
In my view, nothing ends a relationship more effectively than a breakdown in communications. You hear it a lot in popular culture: relationships take work and sometimes you just have to let stuff you don’t like happen in order to maintain the relationship. See how that might be considered codependent, though?
You can and should talk about the little things that bother you. Even though they’re small, you can still express your feelings. Maybe an issue gets reconciled, maybe not, but you’ve communicated and that communication is important.
When you’re in a codependent relationship, it can be hard to flip the script and break out of it.
But try. Your relationship will be better for it.