Have you ever wondered whether you are too dependent on your partner? Merriam-Webster dictionary defines codependency as “a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (such as an addiction to alcohol or heroin)” or “broadly : dependence on the needs of or control by another”. Of course it is bad to be codependent based upon the first definition; the broad definition is where I believe many people run into trouble.
Codependent is a misleading and often misinterpreted word. I have seen numerous posts on social media basically referring to any relationship where you’re “co-depend” on one another as toxic…that we should have everything in our life together and figured out before we even try looking for someone to date. This thinking is not only a misinterpretation of the word, it is toxic itself.
If you’re waiting until you have everything together and not going to bring any baggage or negative energy into a relationship before you look for one, you’re either going to die single or you’re a liar. No one is perfect. Everyone brings negativity into relationships. Of course if that’s all you’re bringing, that’s a problem. But my fear is that many people buy this lie that we should have everything figured out before we jump or that our partner shouldn’t have any issues.
This attitude breeds a toxic idea that will consume any relationship. If your expectation is that you or your partner should have all their shit together, shame and judgement are going to run rampant in your relationship. Worse, it eliminates the possibility of real love and turns marriage into a conditional contract, ripped up anytime either person makes any major mistakes (which is undoubtedly going to happen because both people are flawed humans).
If you don’t depend on anyone for anything, you are the one with the problem. Humans are built to rely on one another in community. We do need each other. Any healthy relationship is co-dependent in terms of each person relying on the other for some of their needs. A healthy marriage is one of give and take, sharing responsibilities, sacrificing, and putting their needs in front of your own (as long as these are healthy needs).
Being codependent in this way is not weak…it is love. This toxic view that you’re weak or broken or disqualified from a relationship because you are going to “need” or rely on something from that other person is prideful, arrogant, and selfish to its core. Unfortunately, this self-reliance on steroids is killing people’s chance for happiness and love.