How To Avoid Codependent Relationships
Most guys will end up in some sort of romantic relationship at some point, regardless of their level of “game”. The question is: will it be healthy or toxic?
A codependent relationship might initially feel nice, but it’ll ultimately destroy any sense of self-confidence you held before entering it.
Once this type of relationship ends, you’ll typically come out the other end feeling more scared, desperate and depressed than ever before.
What’s more, this scenario is more common than you might expect…
Below, we’ll explore the damaging effects of codependent relationships and how to avoid them.
‘Codependency’ describes a relationship where both members are overly reliant on their partner for happiness.
It most commonly occurs when two people with low self-esteem couple up. They don’t love themselves, so rely on affection from their partner in order to feel purposeful.
Codependent lovers don’t know how to enjoy being single. In fact, they feel worthless without receiving love from a partner.
Their low self-esteem will repel mentally healthy romantic prospects, meaning they can only attract lovers with similar issues.
The typical actions of a lover in a codependent relationship include:
Of course, most mentally healthy adults would ditch their partner after a few instances of this behavior. Yet, in codependent relationships, both partners are just as terrified of singledom as each other.
So, they put up with this destructive behavior, rather than search for someone more suitable.
This decision is rationalized with narratives such as ‘the course of true love never did run smooth’ or that ‘all relationships have ups and downs’.
However, the truth is: most codependent relationships have far more downs than ups. Often, the real narrative going on inside both partners’ heads is that they won’t be able to find (or don’t deserve) anyone better.
This self-narrative is especially common among those who were raised by parents that stayed in unhappy or abusive relationships.
The continuous erosion of a partner’s self-esteem is one of the most common symptoms of codependent relationships. It’s also the most damaging.
Such emotional abuse occurs, either consciously or self-consciously, to prevent the partner from having the confidence to leave the relationship. It often occurs subtly over a long time period of time. This is referred to as a ‘poison drip’.
A ‘poison drip’ often takes the form of small verbal jabs, which can take their toll over time, leading one to believe (even more so) that they don’t deserve anyone better. It could also involve the active discouragement of activities and pursuits outside the relationship, increasing one’s reliance on their partner for happiness. In some cases, when the abuser senses they could get away with it, these shots could become more blatant, eventually leading to full-on bullying and/or physical abuse.
This behavior typically stems both from the partner’s frustration at their own perceived unattractiveness, and their fear of being walked out on.
In many codependent relationships, both partners play the role of abuser, dragging each other to the bottom of the emotional ocean.
As you may expect, dependence on a partner for self-esteem combined with emotional abuse from this partner can lead to serious depression.
Still, in most cases, the sufferer’s self-esteem is so weak that they continue to remain in the relationship.
Many turn to other self-destructive behaviors, such as alcohol or drug abuse, to cope with their unhappiness. Yet, they remain convinced that leaving their relationship will make them feel worse. Often, they’ll push away anyone who speaks ill of the relationship. As with any other addiction, the longer you stay in it, the harder it can be to let go.
When the relationship does end, the depression and lack of self-worth remains.
This makes it even more difficult to attract an emotionally healthy partner. As such, one of the most common coping mechanisms after the break-up is to jump straight into another unhealthy relationship.
This move is akin to running from your own demons, rather than addressing them.
The catch-all solution to avoiding codependent relationships is to realize your own value. Those who love and respect themselves will create boundaries for how they allow people to treat them. These boundaries should be even stricter for romantic partners.
If you suffered a difficult childhood, learning to love yourself may be easier said than done. Nevertheless, this guide on building your self-esteem is a great starting point.
Another key step is to realize that it’s possible to improve your attractiveness to women. You can learn to get better with the opposite sex, regardless of your looks or financial status. This website is packed with articles on how to do this. A good start is this guide on finding and keeping your perfect woman.
If you’re currently in a codependent relationship, the best step for both parties is to cut ties immediately.
You may think it’s more honorable to try and ‘save’ your partner from their feelings of low self-esteem, but this is often impossible. You can only ‘save’ women who want saving. Many codependent women have backgrounds where they only know pain. No matter how much love you give them, they won’t be happy. They’ll always need more.
By cutting off the relationship, you create the leverage for your partner to address their own demons. You’ll also free yourself from the threat to your own happiness and self-esteem.
Perhaps in cases where marriage and children are involved, it could be worth seeking relationship counselling. Either way, your partner needs to be ready to ‘save’ themselves.
Most guys don’t have great self-esteem or an abundance of romantic options.
If you become the guy who does, you’ll never be in danger of falling into a codependent relationship.
Before settling into a relationship, learn to love yourself and improve your seduction skills to the point you’re no longer worried about singledom.
By doing so, you’ll be able to choose the best girlfriend from a huge pool of options. Plus, you’ll be less worried about discarding women who overstep your boundaries.
That’s a great recipe for eventually finding a healthy and happy relationship.
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About Joe Elvin Joe Elvin travels the world working remotely as a lifestyle writer and confidence coach. Throughout 2017, he filmed his entire dating life as part of a national television documentary in the UK. His new book 'The Camera Never Lies' details the brutal truths about dating and relationships learned from this experience. You can learn more about the book and download the first chapter for free by clicking here >>