Whether you call it co dependency in love or a codependent relationship, the result is the same: two people depending on each other in unhealthy ways. Co dependent partners feed each other’s sickness and support each other’s unhealthy patterns of relating and communicating.
Here, Dee shares her tips for ending co dependency in love – and she tells us what she wishes she knew 40 years ago.
“Our culture and the media often portray a woman needing a man to take care of her and/or her children,” says Dee on How to Know if Your Relationship is Worth Fighting For. “We get sucked into that and it’s just not true. Every man is not a good man and even a good man can be a horrible husband. Be smart. Respect yourself and stay pure. I wish someone would have given me that advise when I was growing up. It’s never too late to start over. I’m almost 50. It’s time I give myself a great life! I hope you do the same.”
Dee recommends reading Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself by Melody Beatty.
Remember, you don’t necessarily need to end a co dependent relationship. If your partner is willing to see his or her contribution to the co dependency – and if he’s willing to try to make changes in his life – then you can rebuild your relationship.
Sometimes couples go through unhealthy stages of love, but are able to join forces and build a better marriage or relationship. Other times, the only solution is to end the relationship.
That’s what Dee did – she left her unhealthy, co dependent husband.
Dee’s Tips for Untangling Codependency in Love
“It’s been six weeks and one day of freedom for me and my kids,” says Dee. “There is peace and love flowing through the house. We all have jobs and we work together as a team. The changes in the kids, especially my 15 yr old daughter are beautiful. I did the right thing.”
Don’t let a man oppress you! How can you be everything God created you to be when someone won’t let you grow?
Think About Who You Are Outside Your Relationship
“I started a new job last week which is very demanding,” says Dee. “There is possibility of becoming the Manager in three months. It’s an exciting, challenging and demanding job. One I couldn’t have taken or succeeded in if I were still living with my husband.”
In a co dependent relationship, your partner wants to hold you back, keep you down, and not see you blossom.
Deesaid that once told her that her husband was jealous of her, which is why he couldn’t enjoy anything with her. “I brought out in him the places where he wasn’t successful,” she said. “I believe that now. It’s a very sad thought. It means he was extremely insecure. His rights, rules, time and schedule always came first. People rarely mattered, especially his family. That is very unhealthy.”
Take Breaks From Your Relationship
“Get out for walks with the kids, go to the beach, the park,” she says. “If your partner wants to go with you sometimes, let him. At least you are out. Enjoy the beauty around you; the laughter of others. Play with your kids. Think of five things you can appreciate everyday.”
Dee also encourages women not to let their partners inside their heads. “That space is one you do have control of,” she says. “Take nothing he says personally, then it won’t hurt so much. See it for what it is…HIS issue.”
Ending co dependency in love is about untangling yourself from his issues. You need to figure out where you start, where he ends, and whether you can stop being co dependent with him. And if you start to believe the lies he tells you, call the 1-800 number of a shelter, get a counselor and find a way to get out of the house. Even if you volunteer once a week or join an exercise group, you need to take a break from the co dependency in your relationship.
Figure Out Why You’re Co Dependent
Dee encourages women to keep their minds, hearts and thoughts pure. Don’t be mean, hurtful or vengeful. Just detach lovingly! This is one of the tips on ending co dependency from Codependent No More.
“I am in stage 4 of the stages of abuse,” says Dee. “When I was out of the house for two weeks, I really hoped to hear from him for a few days. I had to explore what it was in me that kept being drawn back to him. It turns out I have an approval addiction….but I can’t afford to care about what he thinks, says or believes about me. That will suck me back in.”
Find Support in Your Girlfriends
“My girlfriends love and accept me unconditionally, and that’s more than I have ever gotten from a man,” she says. “I can even get a hug from one of them when I need it. This has changed my life radically.”
Dee says she still wants to be part of a couple, and she always wanted to be married. “But I didn’t marry for love. I’m still trying to find out what I married for.” She was married three times, and is fine with spending the rest of her life alone. She wants to enjoy her life and her kids – without being trapped in a co dependent love relationship.
“I mourned my dream of a happy and exciting marriage,” she says. “I think it’s better to stay alone until your kids and his are out of the house, because second marriages and step families are hard.”
Do you think you’re the cause of the co dependency in your love relationship? Read When You Bring Out the Worst in Your Boyfriend.
Can you untangle yourself from a co dependent love relationship? I welcome your comments below, but I can’t offer advice. You may find it helpful to share your story, though – writing often brings clarity and insight.
Is your relationship in trouble? Get 7 Steps to Fixing Your Marriage from relationship coach Mort Fertel. It's free and helpful, no strings attached.
Need encouragement? Sign up for my weekly "Echoes of Joy" email - it's free, short, and energizing. Like me!