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Is it Love or am I Just Codependent?

Posted on June 3rd, 2024

Hi there, folks! Let’s talk about something that often gets muddled in the complexities of intimate relationships: the difference between love and codependency. You see, it can be easy to confuse the two, especially when you’ve been with someone for a long time, and you’ve grown accustomed to relying on each other. But trust me, there’s a big difference between healthy love and unhealthy codependency, and it’s important to know the signs.

So, what exactly is codependency? Well, codependency is all about prioritizing the relationship above everything else in life. It’s about sacrificing your own needs and desires for the sake of the relationship, and it often leads to harmful habits like, resentment, futile arguments, and control. In short, it’s not exactly the stuff of fairy tales and happy-ever-after.

On the other hand, healthy love is all about interdependence. It’s about finding a balance between your own identity and emotions, and those of your partner. It’s about recognizing that you are two separate individuals who choose to come together in a mutual partnership based on respect, trust, and understanding. Healthy love is the resting place of well-defined and well-respected boundaries and clearly communicated wants and needs. Codependency is the lovechild of ‘you complete me (and without you I am lacking)’.

So, how can you tell if you’re experiencing love or codependency in your relationship? Well, let’s break it down:

  1. Love-bombing vs foundation building: In codependent relationships we tend to: fall in love, make commitments, and only then really get to understand our differences, at which point it may be too late. In a healthy relationship we meet and get to know our differences, establish if we can (and want to) work them through, then fall in love and make commitments! So Be Aware of moving too fast. Love-bombing can feel intoxicating and actually is! Wait for your cocktail of feel-good hormones to calm down from their state of limerence before you make hard-to-reverse commitments.
  2. Sacrifice vs. Compromise: In a codependent relationship, one or both partners may constantly sacrifice their own needs for the sake of the relationship. However, in a healthy relationship, compromise is key. Both partners are willing to make concessions and meet each other halfway without sacrificing their own happiness or well-being.
  3. Unrealistic Expectations vs. Realistic Expectations: Codependent relationships often involve unrealistic expectations, where one or both partners expect the other to fulfil all their needs and desires. In contrast, healthy relationships are built on realistic expectations, where both partners understand that no one person can fulfil all their needs, and they communicate openly and honestly about their wants and needs. Often-times in codependent relationships we are actually in love with the ‘illusion’ of love and happiness rather than with our realities.
  4. Resentment vs. Gratitude: In a codependent relationship, resentment can build up over time as one partner feels overwhelmed by constantly putting their own needs aside. In a healthy relationship, gratitude and appreciation are key. Both partners acknowledge and appreciate each other’s contributions to the relationship, fostering a sense of mutual respect and admiration and a sense of being on one another’s team.
  5. Control vs. Autonomy: Codependent relationships often involve one partner exerting control over the other, whether consciously or unconsciously. In healthy relationships, both partners respect each other’s autonomy and independence. There is no need for control or manipulation because both partners trust each other to make their own decisions.

So, there you have it, folks. While it’s easy to mistake codependency for love when you’re in it, it’s important to recognize the difference. Remember, love is about mutual respect, trust, and understanding, while codependency is about sacrificing your own well-being for the sake of the relationship. If you find yourself in a codependent relationship, it may be time to seek help and work towards building a healthier, more balanced partnership. After all, you deserve nothing less than true love and happiness.

Salli Andrews

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