Are You In A Codependent Marriage? Here’s How To Know — And What To Do About It

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Signs Of A Codependent Marriage And How To Get Healthy

Are you wondering if you're in a codependent relationship or codependent marriage?

Many relationships start with romance — cozy weekends in bed and that feeling that you just can’t imagine your life without each other. It's often an equal and balanced relationship of give and take for most couples.

However, as the days roll into weeks, months, and years, it can soon become apparent how much the dynamics in the relationship can change.

For some people, this can mean change for the better. For others, they sadly become codependent caretakers of each other.

RELATED: 10 Definitive Signs You're In A Codependent Relationship

An addiction to a relationship.

Codependency has been termed an addiction to a relationship, when a person’s focus and purpose is managing and attempting to control another person’s life.

It's defined as an excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, typically one with an illness or addiction who requires support.

Nowadays, codependency has also been used to describe other unhealthy balances in relationships where one person gives up themselves to look after another.

If you feel like you've changed in your relationship for the worst, if your partner's mood and well-being is the focus of your day and life, then know that you're not alone. Just admitting this, you're now in a great place.

Awareness is the first key step.

Identifying that something is not quite right in your life can change the course of your destiny and your relationships, overnight.

Many people live a life where they stop living for themselves and, instead, live to help others.

They get so caught up in the day-to-day business of life, jobs, kids, and career that before they know it, they are three to 20 years older and a part of who they were and what they wanted from life pre-relationship has almost become extinct.

For many people, they know — deep down — that they are codependent, that they live their life to please others, and rarely please themselves if at all.

Often, this comes out as feeling constantly stressed, worried, and anxious about what might happen to other people in their lives.

The inability to say "no."

All the people I've counseled for codependency in marriage or other relationships had symptoms of anxiety, insomnia, and stress. Many felt sad and frustrated.

But, the clearest sign and symptom of codependency is the inability to say "no," despite being desperate to.

It can be difficult to say "no" to someone with an addiction or aggressive behavior, to take care of someone, or to perform sexual acts within a romantic relationship, even if you don't want to.

Codependency is essentially where one person gives themselves up in order to get love from the other.

It's no longer just about helping people with an alcohol or drug addiction — it’s about focusing your whole life on another and letting it rule you.

Relationships and marriage do change people — they change over time. But if not for the better, then it's important to address the issues sooner rather than later.

We were all born with unique gifts, talents, and a purpose. But, if we've become disconnected from who we are and what we want, we can drift to a place that's not beneficial to our physical, emotional, and mental wellness.

Codependency is linked to high levels of stress.

If you're saying "yes" to someone else all the time, it’s likely that you're saying "no" to yourself.

Luckily, stress-related health problems can be changed simply by addressing the stresses. In this case, it's your codependence in one another's lives.

In her best-selling book, Mind Over Medicine, Dr. Lissa Rankin talks about how feeling stressed affects the body. She says that when people feel stressed, this causes the brain to perceive a threat which can then affect everything from blood pressure to kidney function.

Worrying about others can affect your body more profoundly than what you eat, how much you drink, or whether or not you smoke, her research showed.

RELATED: 3 Important Steps For Breaking Free From A Codependent Relationship

Do you worry about your partner? Do you feel alone in your relationship?

Do you feel like you have to give up your needs, wants, and desires to keep your partner happy? Who comes first in your life: you or your partner?

Many of us are taught at a young age to put other people first.

It’s seen as the nice and right thing to do — it makes us the good girl or the kind guy. But is this really the basis for a healthy relationship?

Very often, we assume that by not putting other people first we are selfish — something that nobody wants to be called. The truth, however, is that putting yourself first is the opposite of selfishness.

In his codependence research, Dr. Gabor Mate claims that those who are showing signs of codependency in adulthood both marriage and family relationships are doing this because they learned this as a child.

They wrongly think because this is what they did as a child, this is who they are. Yet, it's not who they are but something they had to do and become — it can be changed.

Cultivating healthy boundaries. 

Asserting healthy boundaries is essential for cultivating more love for yourself. In order to be and give your best to your partner, children, co-workers, and friends, you have to start by giving yourself the best of you.

Putting yourself first starts by figuring out what you need to live healthily, happily, and with little stress.

If you're taking on too much and missing out on things you need or love, ask yourself why you gave that up and why didn’t you pursue it?

Were you afraid of being judged? Were you worried about your partner’s potential reaction to something you wanted to do?

Did you say to yourself, "I am too busy worrying about and looking after them to think about me"?

If you've realized from reading this that you're showing the signs of codependency, then think about what you would like to change for yourself in your relationships.

Start with two "no's." Where in your business or relationship do you want to say "no," but are not doing so?

RELATED: 5 Ways To Break The Cycle Of Codependency In Your Relationship & Be More Independent

Nicola Beer is a Marriage Transformation Specialist and Founder of Save My Marriage Program. If you're considering getting some help for your marriage or current relationship, then do take advantage of her free individual or couple online relationship counseling session. Or get the marriage secrets e-book now and, for a limited time, comes with a free forgive and let go meditation. ​