Do you feel like your partner is your entire world? Are you constantly exhausted by the effort it takes to keep your relationship alive? Do you often have to make extreme sacrifices to meet your partner’s needs? Are you constantly enabling their bad behaviors by shielding them from the consequences of their actions? Do you take on most or all of the responsibility in the relationship? Is your entire life built around pleasing your partner? All these are symptoms of codependency and it can do a world of harm to you, your significant other, and your relationship

can a codependent relationship work

What’s wrong with codependent relationships?

Mental health means taking care of ourselves and others. We should never have to choose one over the other as an ongoing way of relating to someone.

Living for and through others leaves us with not much of a life of our own because our value solely depends on their well-being.

When we lose ourselves in another person, we surrender our authenticity, sense of self-worth, and efficacy. And, since we can’t control others’ happiness, we end up on a fool’s errand.

How does someone become Codependent?

Codependency is often rooted in adverse childhood experiences (ACE). A person can become codependent when they take on an inappropriate emotional responsibility or they are ‘parentified’ (being placed in a parental role at a young age) in order to survive a traumatic upbringing.

When this happens the person – often the child – will begin to neglect and forsake their needs for the sake of another’s – usually the parent.

Unfortunately, this becomes a learned behavior that on the one hand helps you survive your childhood, but sets you up to struggle to maintain healthy relationships as an adult. And all too often, a parent is either over or under protective which encourages in unhealthy ways for the child to become codependent.

But having an awareness and understanding of codependence can help you find clarity and peace in your relationships, which can be the path to being less codependent. Don’t forget – change IS possible.

Can you love someone if you’re codependent?

Without question, you can love someone if you’re codependent on them. Love isn’t a simple “yes or no” type of feeling, it is not codependency vs love. You can love someone who is incredible for you, but you can also love someone who is detrimental to you.


People in codependent relationships sometimes suffer from emotional bonding. This is when two people become so emotionally attached to each other that they can’t function without each other even if this attachment isn’t healthy or good for either one of them.

Can codependency ruin a relationship

You might be asking yourself how does codependency affect relationships? After all, if the enabler and codependent have found their rhythm, perhaps it can work? With time, codependency erodes any sense of partnership and potential growth.

If you’ve ever been called a codependent before, learning how codependency ruins relationships is a very important issue to look into. It’s not that codependents can’t create successful, happy partnerships, but that some of the core requirements for mutual and sustaining love are not as easy to create.

1* You Lose Connections With Family Or Friends.

Your partner isn’t meant to be your whole world. That’s a sign of codependency. It places your focus on your partner to the point where you start to withdraw from other important people in your life. This makes it even harder to leave the relationship when you decide it’s no longer right for you. Since you’ve abandoned or pushed away everyone else who cares about you, giving up on the relationship feels like giving up on life itself. Because without it, you’ve got nothing and no one else.

2* You have no self-care

At some point, people crack when focused on someone else to the extent that they deny their identity, feelings, and needs. That’s how codependency ruins relationships because deep down, codependents blame the other person. They expect people to be mind-readers and to know exactly how to meet their needs.

Key symptoms of codependency can come from a lack of self-care. In fact, there’s no self because codependents lose themselves in the other person. With time, the codependent can become an emotional wreck which puts their mental health at risk. This clearly puts a strain on both partners.

Can you love someone if you’re codependent

3* You’ll Have A Hard Time Getting Your Needs Met.

In a healthy relationship, you can ask for what you need and your partner would do their best to meet those needs they care about you. But in a codependent relationship, you may be ignored, shamed, insulted, yelled at, emotionally blackmailed, blamed, or punished for expressing your needs. So you start to suppress those needs because you feel you partner won’t value or acknowledge them.

4* Mismatched responsibilities

Codependents want to help other people so they can feel good. Essentially, people with enmeshed identities believe they are improving themselves by helping others. This can make codependents take on too much responsibility which is another cause for how codependency ruins relationships.

Again, it’s a strange paradox to experience. On the surface, the codependent is doing extra things on behalf of the other person, which might seem generous. Deep down, they secretly need more thanks and more adoration than anyone can give. When these excessive and silent demands aren’t met, both parties get frustrated.

5* You Lose Your Individuality.

Both partners understand the need for retaining some level of independence. They carve out time for themselves and the things they enjoy doing. They have their own interests and activities that are separate from what they share with their partner. In a codependent relationship, all that goes away. One or both partners completely lose themselves in the relationship. They stop having an identity outside of that relationship. Everything in their life revolves around their partner.

6* Drives inequality

A codependent relationship involves a giver and a taker. While this might seem perfect at first, if taken too far, it can create frustration and discontent. Of course, that doesn’t mean that we don’t have different skills to offer in a relationship. Nevertheless, the alarm bell should ring when the imbalance is always on one side.

7* Emotional Abuse

Worse yet, you don’t even expect anyone to meet your needs, since you have low self-esteem and feel like you are never enough. This sets you up to be with someone who is narcissistic, someone who only cares about their own needs, and is happy to have you focus on them. They aren’t interested in meeting your needs.

In a healthy relationship, your partner won’t feel comfortable if they can’t ever take care of you or do things for you. They also won’t be comfortable making you 100% responsible for all the problems in the relationship. In fact, if you can’t accept love and caring, or don’t know how to tell your partner what you need, this can lead to the demise of your relationship.

How to fix a codependent relationship

1* Find your voice

Rarely will relationships hold a true fifty/fifty divide, but patterns of codependency are fueled when one partner is continuously accepting less space within the relationship.

The more space you allow yourself to take up in the relationship, the more you also give yourself permission to use your voice and advocate for your own needs.

Give your partner an opportunity to know you better by making your voice heard. Unlike codependent relationships, healthy relationships are flexible enough to provide room for both partners.


2* Stop trying to “fix” your partner’s problems

A big issue couples experience in codependent relationships is trying to “fix” the other person or solve their problems. In a codependent relationship, you often find yourself so focused on the other person that you become overly involved in their problems and emotional ups and downs.

Because of this, you feel responsible for helping them overcome their issues and try to “fix” everything for them.

If your partner is addicted to alcohol, you may find yourself throwing away their stash or checking in with them every hour. If they are experiencing depression, maybe you are constantly pushing them to go to therapy and reminding them to take their medication daily.

3* Lean into the discomfort

As humans, we are hard-wired to avoid pain and discomfort, which also leads us into fairly creative escape patterns.

But while humans are designed to avoid pain, the human experience is programmed to include it.

When it comes to codependency, we can attempt to control our own experience, avoiding the awkward and uncomfortable, by overly focusing on and caring for our partner.

The old adage, “if you’re okay, I’m okay.”

Until we learn that we have the capacity and capability to manage the uncomfortable, we will continue to find ourselves in these patterns of avoidance.

4* Learn to say “No”

Women Gesturing No Sign With Yellow Background Isolated Wall

Fear of rejection is one of the most prevalent fears underlying patterns of codependency.

In fearing rejection in a codependent relationship, we can develop a narrative that we must play a certain role in order to hold value within a relationship. This keeps us in a pattern of saying, “yes,” in order to maintain that role, regardless of our own needs.

If it is hard to say, “no,” within a relationship, then a “yes,” will always be undermined.

How to fix codependent relationship

5* Start setting healthy boundaries

One of the reasons your relationship has gotten to this point lies in the fact that you and your partner haven’t set some boundaries on time.

In fact, the truth is that you underwent a kind of collision in which you’ve become one. As romantic as this sounds, it’s exactly what brought you here in the first place. That is why you must start setting healthy boundaries now.

For example, your partner can’t be invited to your time with your friends. Or they shouldn’t be in the room whenever you talk to your parents. Or agree not to call each other every five minutes when you’re not together.

6* Learn to identify your own feelings

One of the most common dynamics within codependency is over-identifying with the feelings of our partner, and under-identifying with our own feelings. Feelings provide a wealth of information and guidance.

So, if we constantly pay more attention to the feelings of our partner, we more than likely are acting in a manner more serving and attentive to them, regardless of our own emotions.

7* Practice Self-love

You love your partner. Or at least, you think you do. But let’s not get into that now. Instead, let’s discuss a more important kind of relationship you should be more focused on.

If you wonder what relationship in your life could be more important than the one you have with your significant other, you’ve got yourself a problem because guess what? The relationship you have with yourself is much more important. I guess you forgot all about it, and that’s why you’re here right now.

8* Learn the difference between being alone and lonely

There is a huge difference between being alone and lonely, and it’s about time you learn it. I know that being by yourself and spending time without your partner scares you the most but trust me, it’s precisely what you need to fix this relationship.

No, I’m not talking about necessarily taking a break from your romance. If you live together, you’re free to continue doing so. If you date, go on dates; just try reducing the frequency of your get-togethers.

Thanks for reading, please share to educate others and don’t forget to like and comment your opinion in the comment section. See you next time and have a great day