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

  1. #1

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

    I am in the early stages of a relationship with someone new. We've probably only known each other for about a month or so, and in that time, we've seen each other about 5 or 6 times. We aren't "officially" boyfriend / girlfriend, but we have decided to be exclusive, and she has mentioned she is ready to be my girlfriend. I told her I'm not there yet, and I have a few concerns as to why.

    1. We became sexual on our 2nd date. We went back to her place, and she told me she didnt want to get carried away, but initiated and escalated our encounter to sexual. We didn't have sex, so I wasnt sure where exactly her line was since she escalated it to the point of sexuality. She then ended things a couple days later, saying we moved too fast and she was overwhelmed. We talked a day or 2 later and decided we both wanted to keep going, but to slow things down.

    2. Despite saying she wanted to slow things down, she did try to escalate our next couple of dates to sexual again. I told her no, and we didn't. She did keep trying, but she accepted my answer.

    3. On our 3rd date (the first after "breaking up" and reconciling), she asked me about my theatre schedule (I do theatre as a side job, and am currently involved in a show), and in a playful and joking, but i also took to be truthful manner, asked me how important theatre is to me and if I have to do it, because it's a busy schedule for me and we can't see each other as much as she wants us to.

    4. She does frequently text me in a manner I believe is a bit excessive for how long we have been seeing each other, displaying loads of affection.

    Now the reasons why I am continuing it with her despite these concerns:

    1. Following our "break up", we had a very mature and positive discussion about what happened, how we were feeling about the speed of things, and how we could address it going forward. She gave me very clear parameters on what she was and was not comfortable with, and I was able to do the same.

    2. When she asked me if I was ready to make her my girlfriend, and I told her I wasn't ready, she listened very well and was very accepting of my reasoning. I told her of my concerns with how much time she wants to spend together so soon, and how thats a lot for me right now and I value my own personal time. I told her what I need from her in the relationship, and she was very accepting of what I had to say. She said she agreed with me, and could give me that. While that was just a few days ago, she has shown at least a minimal amount of self awareness and attempt to change that behavior that was concerning to me.

    3. I have my own issues with mental issues, anxiety, depression, and even codependency of my own, all of which I am working on through various means including different forms of therapy. I feel in many ways, I have become very protective of my mental and emotional well being, sometimes to the point of being OVER protective, and too quick to push away things and people that aren't just perfect. To the point that some of the forms of affection she has shown to me, that I have felt were a bit much, friends have told me that they are completely normal and if I can't handle that, then perhaps i need to just stay single. So i think a lot of what I'm feeling is also self imposed as well.

    I like this girl, enjoy spending time with her, and would like to see where it goes with her. But she has also shown me some things that are a bit intense. It's definitely triggering some anxiety. I see someone who can potentially be a very intense relationship, with lots of boundary setting, but I've also seen someone who can potentially work through issues in a very mature and productive manner. So I'm kind of just in a see what happens place with her right now.

    But has anyone had or witnessed success stories with dating someone who has codependency? Are there certain things I can do that both help with that aspect of the relationship? How much of this is just early figuring things out challenges?

  2. #2
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    Are you layman diagnosing her with codependency because she shows traits similar to you or has she told you she is codependent? I can feel a lot of restraint and resistance coming from you. When you described towards the mid-bottom of your post about being overprotective of your mental and emotional wellbeing, I do get the sense that you are a little defensive and afraid of getting hurt.

    I think it's a good idea to take things slow and follow through on those items you both discussed. That was a very mature and respectful thing to do together. You're on the right track. If you feel uncomfortable about some aspect of the relationship or in getting to know each other, speak about it together and continue strengthening that bond. I'd emphasize digging deep and getting to know each other more (all the good, bad and ugly) and coming to terms with whether either of you have the patience to deal with the other and your respective concerns/issues.

  3. #3
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    To me this has nothing to do with fancy terms like codependency -it's much simpler -if it's this much work/analysis/ "relationship talks" like you're having in the first 5 dates it's a glaring sign that you two are not compatible. Good luck with your show! I was serious with someone for 7 years who did theater on the side- yes, very time consuming, yes I admired/respected his work/passion so much and enjoyed meeting his theater cohorts!

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    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    This is simply a lot of drama. She's too forward and clingy for you and this will blow up in your face. You "broke up" after 2 dates? Think about that.

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    I have some experience of dealing with a clingy and needy girlfriend. It is a lot of work and not recommended if you are not in a very healthy and secure place yourself.

    [Register to see the link]

    Check out my thread from a few days ago for an idea of what that could be like a year down the line.

    Co-dependent people are vulnerable, which can feel like a burden and responsibility. If I broke up with a confident and independent girl, I'd know that no matter how upset she might be, she will get over it and find new happiness. Dumping a co-dependent person who relies on you feels like abandoning a helpless child. I have not had the heart to do it thus far, despite all the advice on that thread to do so.

    i.e. I would recommend that you steer clear of her. If somebody is co-dependent, I think it is more healthy for them to either seek self-improvement to become confident and independent, or to find somebody who has the mental strength, time and resources to take care of them in the long term.

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    OP, I am assuming you mean "dependent" as "co-dependent" would suggest she enabling you and your mental and other issues in some form or fashion in an unhealthy way.

    That is my understanding of co-dependant anyway.

    Is she doing that, enabling you?

    Imo, from what you've written, as others have said, she is simply needy, clingy and intense (your word) which may escalate to "obsessive." Which is different from being dependant or co-dependant.

    She may also possibly have abandonment issues, but don't confuse that with co-dependency, that is a whole different thing.

    My advice is, in addition to telling her you're not ready for a relationship quite yet, explain to her she is moving too fast, you're not comfortable with the pace she is setting and want to dial things back.

    In short, explain your boundaries very clearly while making it clear you like her and want to continue dating to see where it may lead down the road, gradually and organically, no rushing and no pushing.

    If she continues doing what she's doing, and disrespecting your boundaries, then dump her, next.
    Last edited by katrina1980; 08-25-2019 at 11:24 AM.

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    Co-dependent is a term that is often misunderstood or misused.

    Co-dependency refers to those who are so fearful of being unloved or abandoned they will do anything and everything for others, often to their own detriment or at great personal or financial cost. For example, at a CODA meeting I attended there was a woman who told us about being 30 minutes late to work because her son insisted he needed her to bring him a Dr. Pepper. Instead of going out to buy his own Dr. Pepper (he was an adult and had his own job), he demanded she bring him one. So she did, because she feared if she didn't her son would get "mad" at her and stop loving her.

    Clingy and needy are not "co-dependent" traits. They are traits of insecure or fearful people but it manifests itself in different ways such as constant text or call barrages, crying, insisting the other person give up family, friends and a social life because they want that person all to themselves, etc.

    Two clingy people could have a relationship, it isn't the healthiest but they are fulfilling each other's needs.

    If this woman is "triggering" anxiety in you, it's best to hold off until you can find a healthy way to manage your anxiety. Working with a therapist is an excellent way to do this.

  9. #8
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    Thanks for explaining bolt, I was also a bit confused about the term.

    I posted but then looked it up and changed my post.

  10. #9
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    Borrowed from Psychology Today:

    "The following questions can serve as a guide to determine if your relationship involves codependency:
    Does your sense of purpose involve making extreme sacrifices to satisfy your partner's needs?
    Is it difficult to say no when your partner makes demands on your time and energy?
    Do you cover your partnerís problems with drugs, alcohol, or the law?
    Do you constantly worry about othersí opinions of you?
    Do you feel trapped in your relationship?
    Do you keep quiet to avoid arguments?"


    I see this term being used improperly so frequently!

    I struggled with codependency which is why I have done so much research.

    But clingy, needy? Relying heavily on one another to feel whole? NOT codependent.

  11. #10
    Platinum Member figureitout23's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by boltnrun
    Borrowed from Psychology Today:

    "The following questions can serve as a guide to determine if your relationship involves codependency:
    Does your sense of purpose involve making extreme sacrifices to satisfy your partner's needs?
    Is it difficult to say no when your partner makes demands on your time and energy?
    Do you cover your partnerís problems with drugs, alcohol, or the law?
    Do you constantly worry about othersí opinions of you?
    Do you feel trapped in your relationship?
    Do you keep quiet to avoid arguments?"


    I see this term being used improperly so frequently!

    I struggled with codependency which is why I have done so much research.

    But clingy, needy? Relying heavily on one another to feel whole? NOT codependent.
    Agree, clingy and needy donít = codependency, but relying heavily on another to feel whole? Iíd define that as codependency.

    Itís not a healthy mindset.

    OPer to answer your question... I think the fact that you arenít running in the opposite direction given your perception either you have some codependency issues yourself and are projecting or you have some commitment issues and recognize your perception may not be reality.

    Just my take.

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