Codependent relationships are not something anyone should aspire to. They’re dysfunctional, they mess with your head, they prey on your anxieties, and they take up way too much time and energy. However, I keep finding myself in them no matter how many times I tell myself I’m going to start dating differently.
I hate conflict. There’s almost no grievance big enough to make me address it head-on. I tend to let resentment build and keep it pent up until I absolutely can’t stand it anymore. Usually I just end up making excuses for why the thing in my relationship that’s bothering me is actually totally normal and worth ignoring. Part of being in a codependent relationship is always trying to make sure things are OK even when they’re not, and that’s how I am in every aspect of life.
I always think I can “save” people. Every guy I’ve ever dated has had major character flaws, and even though I know that you can’t save someone who doesn’t want to change, I somehow find myself believing every new guy is different. Anyone with way too much empathy knows how addictive it is to see a person’s potential and try to help them rise to it, and no matter how many times I learn that the hard way, I can’t help but keep trying.
It seems like all the really passionate guys are also a little messed up. Maybe I just need to look a little harder, but it really seems like all the thoughtful, emotionally alive men I meet are pathologically insane at worst or kinda damaged at best. The guys I’ve met who have their lives together just don’t seem to have access to that wild and raw side that I crave so much in a partner.
I get bored in stable relationships. A lot of my friends are in committed relationships with sane partners who love them, and while I see that as something to aspire to in theory, in practice, I’d go crazy with boredom. However unhealthy it is, I need excitement in my love life, and if I was secure in the relationship and able to trust my partner about everything, I’d be bored out of my mind even if it was healthier.
I love feeling indispensable. Every time I try to save a new boyfriend, it’s like I open the floodgates of dependency and he becomes manically attached to me. This may sound a little terrifying to normal people, but as someone with very low self-esteem, I find it to be utterly addictive. The feeling of being needed by someone is profound even if it isn’t sustainable or good for you.
I fall for every sob story in the book. For someone who is generally pretty mistrustful of people, I can’t seem to separate truth from fiction when a man is weaving a tragic autobiography for my benefit. If he seems sad and lonely and lost, I’m in.
I’m kind of addicted to the drama. Whatever my relationships lack in stability, they make up for in drama. Every one of them is like a roller coaster at a theme park, leaving me out of breath and dizzy. No matter how exhausting and overwhelming they seem at times, I keep jumping back on for another go.
I love feeling like I’m the center of someone’s world. Even when I know a guy is too dependent on me for his or my own good, it makes me feel important and needed. Having felt like the clingy girlfriend my whole life, being on the opposite side of it is always a relief. I love feeling like I’m the most necessary part of someone’s life, and even when this clinginess and appreciation turns into a little too much dependency, all I have to do is remind myself what it’s like to feel unnecessary in a person’s life, and it makes me forgive all the things I shouldn’t.
It just reinforces all my insecurities. Needing someone starts with the deep certainty that you’re not enough on your own, and I’ve struggled with those feelings my entire life. Being in a codependent relationship is like eating at an all-you-can-eat buffet of your worst insecurities. We always seek out people who understand us, and when you’re positive that you’re full of issues that can’t be resolved, you seek out people with similar issues who will make you feel like your anxieties and poor sense of self are justified.
Being in a relationship where I’m always pretending is a lot easier than being myself. Codependent relationships are all about pretense and delusion, and this can be a very welcome scenario for those of us with a pathological aversion to revealing ourselves to anyone. Any relationship where I can keep someone at arms’ length while still feeling passionate and a little desperate is actually pretty ideal in my world.
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