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Codependent Relationship Issues

"I'm Codependent and in Desperate Need of Advice"

This question is from a Group Therapy post in our TrèsSugar Community. Add your advice in the comments!

I really need advice on two different parts of this: the overall codependency issue and one specific guy.

When I'm not in a relationship with anyone, I feel OK. I spend more time with my friends, I go out, I keep active, but I do generally enjoy being in a relationship more than not being in one. This doesn't mean I actively look for relationships, but when I do have one it kind of takes over me.


So when I am in a relationship, I overthink everything. I analyze every detail, and I get in way over my head. I try to guess when the guy will want to hang out so I can plan my schedule around him. I fall, hard. And at the same time, I try not to show it. I'm a little afraid of being too easy, not enough of a challenge, so I make sure that he usually texts me first, he is the one making the dates and etc. But at the same time, giving him that control makes me very anxious.

This is all general. The specific guy I am seeing now is giving me a whole new dimension of trouble. We've been dating, and sleeping together, for over two months. However, in a recent conversation he told me that he isn't ready to commit to me, but that he can see it happening in the future. I feel a bit uncomfortable with this, as I am not sure if he's leading me on or not (even if he doesn't realize it). And my co-dependency (or whatever you'd like to call it) is making it very hard for me to handle potentially being rejected, I have had friends tell me that if I'm not getting what I want out of the relationship then I should probably leave, but I'm not sure I could work up the strength to do it when I still feel like there's hope.

This is not quite as well worded as I wanted it to be, I apologize for my thoughts being all over the place. I really just need some advice on how to stop feeling like the guy I'm with, in general and this specific guy, is the be all and end all. I don't know how to restrain myself. I have good friends, I have my own activities, but somehow he just comes in and makes everything else seem less important. I don't want it to be that way, I want to have my own passions be as important if not more important than the guy in my life. And in this case specifically, I'd like to know if I need to walk away, and how to do so.

Thanks all.

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clblues clblues 5 years
I share the same story as above.  All this talk about "living in the now", and "no expectations, no dissappoinments" makes me very anxious.  I am afraid of being used for just "Ms. Right Now".  I am inspired by vanillasparkle's post, and give me hope that 1.  I can see things for how they really are.  2.  That I can have insight for future wrong people.  3.  That I can have the knowledge, will, strength to be able to walk .  Right now I like to give everything the benefit of the doubt.  He's always saying not to expect anything so there are no dissappoinments.  This leaves me feeling a bit hollow.  When reading the book "He's Just Not That Into You", they say if he's interested, he will find ways to be with you.  I've seen some of this, but then sometimes it goes sort of cold.  I keep telling myself to just live for the "Now" and enjoy the times I'm with him. But my gut is saying to not be someones option and wait around for crumbs.  Getting over Codep is so hard!
vanillasparkle vanillasparkle 5 years
I'm sorry to say but this whole situation boils down to one thing: your insecurity. If you truly valued yourself, you wouldn't put up with a guy who makes you an option. You have to believe FOR YOURSELF that you are worth a guy who is nothing but sweet, kind, and loving to you and would never think of giving you an answer like this guy has. If, let's say, you stay with him and he decides to break things off in a couple of months, you can't say anything to him because he already warned you that he was noncomittal. He essentially shrugged off any responsibility he may have in how much you invested your heart into him. "Sorry, I told you not to."   You may lead yourself to believe that you, too, don't want anything serious, but from the way you described yourself, this doesn't seem to be the case. And I'm saying this because I was like you before I found someone who showed me that being considerate, thoughtful, and a downright decent person wasn't too much to ask of a guy.   There are a lot of guys out there nowadays who believe they can act like douches/spoiled children and women will put up with it, but then there are other guys who are warm-hearted and genuinely interested. Don't settle for less and change the way you view men and yourself, and you won't have this dilemma again.   As for being the way you are in relationships (codependent) I got over it, bit by bit, by repeating this phrase: "He's not the only one." I blame technology too-- Don't think he has to answer every text you send within a 10 minute timeframe, but also be wary of the guy who doesn't answer until 5 hours later or maybe even the next day (yea, I stayed too long with that one). Believe he should chase you (old way of thinking, but I'm not going out with a guy who doesn't TRY to hook me), and occupy yourself with other tasks. Also, don't just set your sights on just one. Talk to two different guys at a time. Believe me, it will help your nerves.   So in sum: Dump that guy, stay single for a bit until you build up your self-confidence, and then dive back in with different expectations of how you should be treated and what you should expect from men and yourself. Good luck!  
lisaknisa lisaknisa 5 years
I think you should walk away from this guy. I can't say for certain that he's using you or leading you on, but if a guy really wants to be with you, he'll do whatever it takes. This guy says he's not ready to commit but is also stringing you along by giving you hope because he "can see it happening in the future." What is so special about the future that isn't working for him right now? He's not done playing the field? He doesn't want to commit to one person? He's not feeling stable enough yet? Or maybe he really doesn't want a relationship but doesn't have the guts to be honest.   I've been in the relationship with the guy who says he'll be ready to commit "soon" or "someday" or "in 6 months" and I can tell you that for me it never happened. Maybe I'm jaded, but he may just like having a relaible friends with benefits situation. I'm sorry for being so blunt and it sounds like you want him to want to commit, but he doesn't and he's told you as much. Do you really want to stay invested in any manner in someone who isn't willing to invest in you? By doing so, you could be missing out on someone else who is over-the-moon excited about you and wants nothing more than to be with you.   Perhaps if you cut things off he will decide he doesn't want to lose you and is ready to commit, but you have to be prepared for that not to happen and for him to move on because he really wasn't ready or that interested. Don't waste your time hoping for someone to change - they never do unless they really want to. At the end of the day, talk is cheap and people lie. Unless you don't mind biding your time with someone who may not be sincere, I'd encourage you to challenge the situation and try to find a real relationship if that's what you want right now.
LeKoshka LeKoshka 5 years
I really appreciate the advice. I'm sure this stems from a place of unfathomable insecurity, as much as I wish it didn't. I seem to get very emotionally attached to people before really logically thinking about it. BiWife, I'm actually nervous about sitting down and talking to him. I've asked him what he wants from our relationship before, and his typical answer is that he doesn't know. He's just enjoying it as it is, which is great (I wish I could do that) but it doesn't comfort me much at all, or give me anything to work with. I don't think it was the sex that made me want commitment, I really like this guy and he treats me like something serious, so when his words don't match his actions (continually saying that he doesn't know what he wants our relationship to be) it is frustrating and makes me doubt myself. I appreciate the input, really.
henna-red henna-red 5 years
This is a great place to advertise, and a perfect community to take advantage of your product. Good luck with the book! :)
Darlene-Lancer-MFT Darlene-Lancer-MFT 5 years
My apologies for the confusion.Thanks for pointing this out. If you're interested, please check out my blogs and articles and a free ebook. I understand codependency inside out, having recovered and professionally specialized in the subject for 25 and 33 years, respectively.
henna-red henna-red 5 years
Oh, and just so the forum and members understand, it was probably Ms. Lancer who posted the original question. :) certainly not a crime, but a bit misleading.
henna-red henna-red 5 years
Just to be clear, and not to take away from the adivce of a professsional, but it would be a lot more honest, Ms Lancer, to let the folks here know you are promoting your own book. Thanks
Darlene-Lancer-MFT Darlene-Lancer-MFT 5 years
Intimacy is a challenge for codependents. The underlying low self-esteem (feeling worthy and deserving of love) makes them react to others feelings or anticipated feelings rather than coming from their own center. This causes a lot of anxiety. You mention feeling anxious giving him control or feeling led on (used?). This may stem from a relationship in your family of origin. You can begin to assert your needs and wants, but that may also cause you anxiety about being rejected. You haven't said whether you both are sexually exclusive. If that's important to you (along with protection from STD's), you need to honor yourself by talking about it. Speaking openly is difficult for codependents. The dilemmas of intimacy are addressed in "Codependency for Dummies."
henna-red henna-red 5 years
I've been reading He's Scared, She's Scared, by Sokol and Carter, recommended by Bubbles, who contributes here in the forum. Your relationship, sounds to me, like a classic example of two people who are commitment aggressive, and one passive, with you in the passive role. I'm just getting to the end, where they make suggestions about recognizing and controling these anxiety based behaviors in our lives. I'd like to recommend the book to you, I think it could help you alot. Specifically because you realize that there's an issue, and you want to address it. Sokol and Carter have spent 8 years interviewing people with commitment issues and the strategies they use to avoid, explode and withdraw from their relationships. You have some very good advice here. One thing I would add is that this kind of issue comes from somewhere, from something that you've experienced in your past, and figuring out what is causing the issue, the anxiety, can be helpful in dealing with the issues. Sounds like it's time to build you a small, private library or self help. Best of luck with your work! :) Getting information, and realizing that you're far from alone in the world with this kind of issue is helpful, in itself, in dealing with this. Take care
Darlene-Lancer-MFT Darlene-Lancer-MFT 5 years
You describe codependency perfectly! Many codependents do fine on their own, but lose themselves and their autonomy in intimate relationships. Good advice to make the effort to continue your independent activities. You will feel better and be less needy and more desirable. If there are qualities you like in this man, why end it? Two months is a short time to expect a commitment. Perhaps you expected that when you started having sex, but most people, especially men, don't assume sex and commitment are synonymous. They want to see if there's more than sex to build upon. Consider attending a Codependents Anonymous meeting. Make plans for yourself and let him know you're busy sometimes. It's important to keep up your separate life whether you're in or out of a relationship. One relationship can't meet all of your needs and shouldn't be expected to. "Codependency for Dummies" has lots of tools and exercises that will help you let go of your obsession and begin focusing on yourself.
meb563 meb563 5 years
First, kudos to you for recognizing that your behavior isn't the healthiest for you and for seeking out a solution. Biwife makes some great points - I agree that this sounds more like anxiety than codependence. You need to get to the bottom of your anxiety (why do you always plan your schedule around a guy? Are you afraid deep down if you aren't accommodating to him that you won't see him at all - that he doesn't care about you enough to find a compromise in your schedules to see each other?) I would recommend putting some effort into establishing (or re-establishing) who you are independent of any other person. What makes you tick? What are your hobbies? And don't always put your friends second just because you are in a relationship. All of us know that it's hard to not be completely wrapped up in the fun new phase of any relationship - but in even the very best relationships, that will fade and you will need your friendships to sustain you through good times and bad. Your significant other should be just that - one of, if not the most, significant person in your life. They shouldn't be the only person. Good luck :)
BiWife BiWife 5 years
don't think I would consider this co-dependency. That is usually marked by an inability to be alone, needing the other person to make decisions for them, and needing the other person to need them just as much. I would say this sounds like a kind of performance anxiety - you have this idea of how relationships are supposed to go and feel compelled to play your part pitch-perfect. The only problem with this is that every relationship is different, mostly because it includes different, unique individuals. Take your closest friend, your favorite aunt/uncle, and the kid you had to sit next to in 6th grade - the kind of relationship you have with each of those people is *very* different because of the different people involved. Romantic relationships are exactly the same. The romantic relationship your parents have is very different from the one your grandparents had/have, which is very different from the one your best friend or older sibling/cousin has with their significant other(s). So let's start breaking out of that mold mindset you have and start working on what do YOU need out of a romantic relationship vs a friendship. - what is your expectations for the current relationship you have? (is he someone you just wanted to try out for a while, take on a relationship test drive, or someone that you can't imagine your life without) - what kind of needs do you have that he is meeting? - what kind of needs do you have that he is not meeting? - what kind of needs does he have that you are meeting? - what kind of needs does he have that you are not meeting? - how important to you are the different needs that are being met (or not met)? It sounds like you're very unsure about what his needs/desires/fears are and are just trying to cover all your bases without talking to him about this. I think you should sit down (first with yourself) and figure out what it is that you want and need. Then you should sit down with your boyfriend and ask him about these things too. Don't make it this crazy game of 20 questions, but start a dialogue with him about each of your needs and fears and goals. Figure out from that whether his expectations are too daunting for you, or vice versa, or if you're just over-thinking things and he really doesn't expect all these things out of you, so you're bending over backwards unnecessarily. Relationships are about give and take, compromise comes from both sides, so check in with your partner and make sure that you're each involved in the compromise process and on the same page with each other's expectations. Let us know what you figure out and we can continue to help you sort thru things :)
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