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Thread: Is it possible to develop and maintain a healthy relationship with a codependent

  1. #11
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Whether or not she's a codependent is a side issue, really. If you want a healthy relationship, you need to work on yourself first. Firstly, to get your own values sorted out, for example - if you'd rather wait to get to know someone before having sex - stick with that. There's nothing wrong with it.

    I'm also rather mystified that you think she works through issues in a 'mature and productive way'. People who are emotionally mature don't 'escalate an encounter to sexual', pull away because things were moving too fast - only to try and escalate them again when you next meet. People who are emotionally mature don't create this much drama when you've only been seeing each other for a month, and it's also a bit worrying that your friends consider this kind of behaviour normal and that you have some kind of problem for not accepting it. It isn't, and she's displaying some alarming behaviours which you are right to be backing away from.

    As an aside, I used to feel repelled by guys who were really over-the-top romantic in the very early stages; I told myself that this was because my low self-esteem didn't permit me to receive love and attention, and to go with it. Not only did the relationships end in disaster, but I've realised in later life that this behaviour is typical of people who turn out to be abusers or commitment-phobes, and the repulsion I felt was my intuition telling me, very sensibly, to run. (I don't doubt my gut feelings any more.)

    You need to firm up your self-esteem to the point where you can trust your gut feelings and not dismiss them on the say-so of your friends. Your reasons for having doubts about this girl, charming though she may be, are very sound. And your account of your own issues suggests that you're far too vulnerable to deal with this kind of relationship, which may end up causing you considerable harm.

    Couples vary enormously in the amount of affection they express openly, and one of the tasks of a relationship is to find someone whose needs chime with yours; otherwise one person is likely to feel overwhelmed, and the other to feel neglected. There's no right or wrong in this, but it is important to find someone with whom you're compatible. It doesn't sound as though this is the case with this girl. Also, changing to please another person (which it seems she is trying to do) never, ever, works.

    Dating is the stage where you get to know each other and find out whether there's something deeper there; it's a time for having fun, not for lengthy, heart-rending introspection. Challenges in relationships happen later, when there are life-changing events and you really need to discuss things at a deep level, and if it's a challenge at this stage - then perhaps it's time to walk away.

  2. #12

    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Sorry for the late reply, and thank you for all of the valuable feedback. It was all very helpful.

    As an update, I had to end things with her.

    After a date, she displayed some condescension towards my theatre, coupled along with more remarks about me moving in with her. She told me she was "half joking" about the moving in comments, and that she was just talking about the possibilities down the line, but I told her that it was concerning to hear her bring the idea of me moving in with her so frequently so soon, and combined with her having clear issues with my theatre, it brought up some major concerns. She expressed that she was frustrated with my theatre, because she was used to spending all of her time with a partner, and felt that we should be spending all of our time outside of work together. I told her that wasn't feasible or practical, that I had my own life and interests and hobbies, and she was having difficulty accepting that. At one point she told me "I'm concerned that you're the one trying to lead the pace of this relationship when you yourself have so little long term relationship experience, and I am the one that does." That kind of bothered me, and tbh, I was a bit upset for the rest of the date.

    The next day following the date, she reached out to me via text message to apologize for some of the things she said. We also talked on the phone, and she further apologized, stating it was wrong of her to say what she said, afterall, her long term relationships obviously hadn't worked either, and a lot of it was because of her habits. She said that even her mom had explained to her that her expectations of a relationship weren't realistic, and she said she was beginning to realize that she had some issues that she needed to work on; she just wasn't sure if she needed to do that alone, or if we could stay together and work things out while she figured it out. I told her I didn't know the answer to that question, and during our discussion, we both mutually agreed that it was best to take a few days apart, think about what we felt was the best course of action, and then come back in a few days to talk about it. That was on Sunday.

    On Monday, she texted me first thing in the morning. I tried to give it a pass, because she wished me a happy 1st day of school (I'm a teacher), and she left it at that.

    On Tuesday, she texted me again, this time telling me she was having her big meeting with her boss (she had previously told me she was meeting with her boss to talk about career advancement opportunities, so she was relaying this to me.) I was getting frustrated because I felt like she wasn't respecting the space we had mutually decided to give each other. She then later texted to ask if her and I could talk on the phone at a certain time. I figured it was about what we had talked about, but I wasn't available when she wanted to talk, so I told her we could talk on Wednesday. She agreed.

    Then later that night, at the time she knows I go to bed, she sent me a kissie gif that we used to send each other. I definitely felt like this crossed the boundaries we had set up for each other, and I decided not to reply. She texted me one more time basically to say "I don't know if you are asleep or if I shouldn't have sent that picture." But I still didn't respond.

    On Wednesday, first thing in the morning, she texted me "I'm sorry for sending you the picture last night.", and then followed up with another text that said "Are you over it?" I figured since she asked me directly, I needed to answer directly, and at that point I was, because she was not respecting our boundaries in any capacity, so I told her I was over it. She said that we didn't need to talk that night, because if I'm not excited, there's no need to work things out, and that she didn't have any hard feelings and she wished me a happy school year. I told her that I too didn't have any hard feelings and it wasn't anything personal, and wished her luck as well.

    She later texted me to say she wanted to talk on the phone to clear the air, and then she called me. I explained to her that it wasn't personal, that I felt her feelings were genuine and her intentions were pure, but I told her honestly that when she sent me that picture, it made me realize that we were not on the same page about things, and that at our current stages in life, we were just going to cause conflict for each other and it would be bad. She was upset, told me how much she was going to miss me, and how much she liked me and hoped things would work out but she seemed to understand.

    But then on Thursday, she texts me AGAIN, telling me that I inspired her to start getting out and having fun and doing things on her own, and that she was going out with a meetup group that night. I did respond to tell her I was happy she was doing that, and I hoped she had fun, but I also read it as her trying to tell me that she was doing what she thought I wanted her to do so that I could take her back. And so I didn't keep texting her after that.

    Yesterday, there was nothing, but today, Saturday, she texts me in the morning telling me she misses me, and she is in town (we live in neighboring cities about 45 minutes apart) and was hoping we could meet up today, even just as friends. I told her that wouldn't be a good idea, and she followed up by saying that she felt bad and wished that we could mend things, even if it was just as friends. I told her that it was way too soon for that, if it could ever even happen period, and that I didn't know that we could. And I realized I messed up and wasn't firm enough, because she immediately texted back asking "What can I do to help?" Before I could reply (I was going to tell her there was nothing she could do to make the situation different), she sent a longer text saying she will leave me alone, that she misses me, and if she never hears from me she will be sad, but she knows she has to respect me and my wishes, and she already messed that up, and was "painfully" (her word) disrespectful to me and has paid big time for it, and that she hopes I can forgive her for it someday.

    I did not reply to that last message, and at least as of now, I haven't heard back.

    But yea, whether the proper term is co-dependency or just neediness / clingyness / desperate, idk, but she is having a really hard time with getting it. I've tried to be completely honest with her, and even where I have been probably a little less firm than I need to be, that comes from honesty within myself as well because I do truly believe her to be genuine and pure intentioned, she just does not know how to express those feelings and does so in a toxic and unhealthy way. But I feel like the message she is hearing is that she can just do certain things that will magically fix the situation and I'll take her back, and I guess that I'm not 100% closed off to that possibility, but I also know that the likelihood of her reaching an emotional state that I feel comfortable with to rebuild a relationship is probably very minimal, so I'm certainly not waiting around for her to show a couple signs that I can bring her back, and I definitely don't want her to either, but I feel like that's what she is doing.

    So I guess the next course of action is to just be firm if she tries to reach out again, because I've probably been giving her slivers of hope, and if that's the message she is receiving, then I need to stop sending that message and be more careful and firm with what I say to her.

  3. #13
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Cloud Nine
    You're not a match and it's been a few dates. Cut your losses. You are talking in days of dating as if it were years of a relationship. Are you recently divorced/separated or broken up? You don't seem ready to date. Be efficient. If after a couple of meets/dates, things are stalling out, just move on.

  4. #14
    Platinum Member figureitout23's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Or you could, gee, I don’t know, block her.

    But then you wouldn’t be able to keep playing with her would you?

    Sorry dude, I see major control and commitment issues on your end as much as on hers.

    Work our whatever baggage you have before trying again.


  6. #15
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    I agree wit FiO.

    All this after 5 or 6 dates? It's a bit as if you were drawn to her precisely for the same reasons you're ending it—or trying to end it. Sounds less like romance than psychoanalysis, a stage on which to reenact something from your past with different results or test out a kind of version of yourself—to confirm your own self-work by checking it against someone else's shortcomings. Odds are high that when we're exerting this level of energy to understand someone else it's because in them we've found a way to keep the lens off ourselves or a kind of screen onto which to project our own issues in a way where they feel more solved than they are.

    I'd take a minute to reflect on that. I'd take a minute to acknowledge that you may like all this contact from her, that she's not the only one with some unhealthy habits that aren't so conducive to romance. You're infusing something that is pretty typical in dating—bad match—with all sorts of mystery that allows it to occupy a lot of mental and emotional bandwidth. I'd try to figure out what's behind that instinct if I were you.

  7. #16
    Platinum Member Jibralta's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    I think you are misunderstanding the term, "codependent." That term denotes an enabling relationship where one person (the codependent) enables an addiction or even a mental health problem in another person. I don't think this is what you mean when you say she is codependent.

    Your concerns seem to stem around her seemingly poor personal boundaries (sleeping with you, her getting freaked out and breaking up with you, and then her persisting in being affectionate even after it is clear that she is not comfortable being that way).

    She could be struggling with or trying to work out a few issues within herself. But it's really not possible to say for sure without knowing her. And it's not particularly relevant, either. I can't figure out some of my friends who I've known for 20+ years. I still like them, and they're still good friends.

    I think the important questions to answer here are: Do you like her (as a person, not just physical attraction)? Do you respect her? Can you communicate? Do you want the same things at this point in time? If you answer "No" to any of those questions, there's really no point in continuing.

  8. #17
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    New York

    Is it possible to develop and maintain a healthy relationship with a codependent

    I totally agree with figureutout23 and bluecastle. You have become more invested in psychoanalyzing her than you are in dating her. Almost as a way of distracting yourself from acknowledging your own shortcomings. I would focus more inwardly as opposed to outwardly as being the cause of your current situation. She clearly has issues but yours aren’t any better. After all healthy people attract healthy people and same for unhealthy. You seem to have had a certain desire of control over her. Control stems from insecurity. I think you should take a break before dating.

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