Relationship Codependency: 10 Signs & Solutions

Wondering if you're experiencing relationship codependency? We explain the 10 key warning signs of relationship codependency to look out for and how to overcome it going forward


We've all met someone who's "clingy" in relationships - or maybe you've been told that you are.

Depending on your partner for support and desiring closeness in a relationship is normal.

But is it possible to take it too far?

This is exactly what happens when relationship codependency occurs.

In this article, we'll break down what relationship codependency is, what signs to look out for, and how you can overcome it with your partner.

What is Relationship Codependency?

Like we said, depending on your partner in a relationship is normal - in fact, it's even healthy.

So what's the difference between dependency and codependency?

In relationship codependency, healthy boundaries tend to dissolve completely.

Instead of simply leaning on your partner for healthy support, your involvement with your partner becomes almost like an addiction.

Codependent partners have difficulty making decisions on their own, asserting themselves, or leaving relationships that have grown unhealthy because they need their partner's validation. They may have very little of a life outside of the relationship and feel it makes up all of their self-worth.

Relationship codependency often occurs in individuals who have experienced difficulties at home in childhood, like an abusive parent or parent struggling with addictions. It's common in those with anxious attachment styles.

Learn more about the anxious attachment style. ->

10 Signs of Relationship Codependency

1. Extreme People-Pleasing

People experiencing relationship codependency are often people-pleasers.

In your personal relationships, you may have difficulty saying no. Your life seems to revolve around making others happy in your relationships instead of yourself.

2. No Life Outside the Relationship

When experiencing relationship codependency, you might notice that your relationship has taken over your life.

You might struggle to maintain your other relationships with family and friends, or abandon hobbies and interests.

3. Extreme Relationship Anxiety

Intense desire to please your partner and fear of abandonment that comes along with relationship codependency results in a lot of anxiety surrounding the relationship.

You may spend a lot of time worrying about the relationship or whether your partner will leave you.

Learn more about relationship anxiety. ->

4. Lack of Independence

Those who struggle with relationship codependency often have difficulty forming opinions or making decisions on their own.

You may find yourself feeling like you need partner's permission before making personal choices, big or small.

5. Lack of Self-Advocacy

When in a codependent relationship, you may have difficulty speaking up for yourself against mistreatment.

This looks like avoiding pointing out things that make you uncomfortable or expressing your needs in relationship.

6. Making Excuses

Those experiencing relationship codependency frequently bend over backwards to cover up for their partner's bad behavior - whether that takes shape as abuse within the relationship, or self-destructive behaviors like substance addiction.

7. Feeling Trapped

Relationship codependency ultimately leaves you feeling stuck in the relationship.

When you're codependent, you feel as though you need your partner and can't stand on your own. No matter how bad things get, you continue to hold on out of fear of abandonment.

8. Low Self-Esteem

Lack of confidence and self-esteem contributes to relationship codependency.

You may be very concerned with other's opinions of you to the extent that their judgments determine your self-worth. This makes you reliant on your partner to feel good about yourself.

9. Avoiding Conflict

Relationship codependency may cause you to feel that conflict may "break" the other person. As a result, you prioritize their emotional wellbeing over your own. It seems more important to stay on their good side than to advocate for yourself.

10. Giving More Than You Get

Codependent relationships are often unbalanced, with one person who acts as the giver and one who is the taker.

The giver often ends up in situations where feel the need to "fix" others, and don't get much in return.

How to Overcome Relationship Codependency

Relationship codependency can be an extremely dangerous pattern.

When you feel stuck in a relationship and unwilling to let it go, abuse and mistreatment can easily get swept under the rug in an effort to save the relationship.

But how can you overcome the unhealthy patterns of relationship codependency once they've already started?

1. Set Healthy Boundaries

One way to overcome relationship codependency is to begin enforcing healthy boundaries in your relationship.

This means beginning to speak up about your needs and how you want to spend your time instead of bending to your partner's will every time. mTry starting with something small and work your way up to bigger issues.

2. Build Self-Esteem

The biggest thing that can help you overcome relationship codependency is building your self-esteem.

When you're confident standing on your own, your relationships are a choice instead of a necessity.

To build your self-esteem, try daily journaling with a journaling app like Jour. Jour's personalized journal prompts help you work through negative thoughts and boost your mood. It's a super easy way to get to know yourself better and feel more self-sufficient at managing your emotions!

Healthier & Happier Relationships

Relying on your partner for emotional support - or even being a little "clingy" - is all pretty normal in a relationship.

Relationship codependency is what happens when this is taken to an unhealthy extreme.

Some common warning signs of relationship codependency are people-pleasing, lack of independence, relationship anxiety, and feeling trapped.

To overcome relationship codependency, it's important to make an effort to set healthier boundaries and build self-esteem.

And don't forget - if you're looking for a way to improve your relationship with yourself and learn to better manage your emotions, the Jour app is only a tap away!