Are you a Codependent Dater?

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We throw around the word “codependent” to describe the clingy couple or the woman who makes excuses for her husband’s bad behavior.  But do we really know and recognize the patterns that lead to a codependent relationship? 

What if true codependence looked like some of the bad habits we (gasp!) display in relationships?

“Though there are many different versions of codependence, they all share the same underlying problem: They try to control their partner and they aren’t comfortable on their own.”–Dr. Seth Meyers

I can hear you now…”I’m not controlling, or “I’m not a passive control freak” in dating.  And while it may not be your issue, it couldn’t hurt to ask yourself a few simple questions:

  • Were you raised with a family member battling addiction?
  • Were you the peacemaker in a family of contention?
  • Do you try to control your environment –obsessive cleanliness or order?
  • Do you find yourself compensating for other’s bad behavior?

Once we identify the red flags in our past brokeness we can change the cycles that seem to inevitably repeat themselves in each new relationship.

But where do we get started?

Dr. Seth Myer’s Love Prescription deconstructs the patterns of Relationship Repetition Syndrome -what we like to call the insanity cycle- doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

The following article shares great insight on codependent couples and how to break these pesky and unhealthy behaviors.

Enjoy…

The term “codependent” emerged as a way to describe the relationship dynamic between an addict and his or her emotional caretaker. For example, Person A has a habit of getting too drunk, passing out, and arriving late to work the next day, so Person B tries to do everything possible to keep Person A on-track. Person B tries to control the behavior of Person A not out of spite or malice but to help keep the relationship functional. The caretaker’s fear is that, without their help, Person B will set off on a downward spiral that leads to more problems – sickness, the end of the relationship, a lost job, or even death.

In a codependent relationship, both individuals are codependent – not just one, no matter how extreme one member of the couple may seem to be. In the example above, the person who drinks too much depends on the caretaker to clean up their messes, both literal and figurative; the caretaker depends on the person who drinks too much to need him or her in order to survive. No one in a codependent relationship is truly happy. When the codependent attaches to someone and the relationship gets bad, the codependent feels unable to leave his or her partner. Instead, he, like all codependents, will stay because the alternative of being alone is too threatening.

See, the M.O. of the codependent is to avoid separation at all costs. This approach requires that the codependent abandon his own emotional needs in order to keep the relationship going. In other words, he loses himself. Over time, the term “codependent” has expanded to include couples in which there is fear around separations and attempts to control each other’s behavior. I will give you another example below of what a codependent relationship looks like.  READ MORE

–Samantha and Tim

For more resources, READ: Codependent No More, by Melody Beattie. Codependent No More is the kind of book that can become your friend, one you can keep on the nightstand and leaf through every few days for a tune-up. The book includes a chapter on anger which is especially helpful, as many codependents swallow their anger and need to learn how to express it appropriately.

Dr. Seth Meyers has had extensive training in conducting couples therapy and is the author of Dr. Seth’s Love Prescription: Overcome Relationship Repetition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve.

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