20 Warning Signs “Codependency” Exists in Your Relationship

codependency relationship signs

Supporting someone you love is a good thing that’s essential in any relationship. Showing you care and sharing in their highs and lows make them feel truly loved. However, this support needs to be mutual. When only one person does it, the relationship becomes unhealthy. No one deserves to be that person. You are meant to receive just as much as you give. Codependency happens when there are issues involved. Read these codependency relationship signs to find out if you need to free your relationship from codependency.

Constant or Extreme Sacrifices

Do you find yourself always going all out for your partner? Maybe you rarely have time anymore for visiting your family. You just can’t say no to your partner’s plans no matter how much you try. You feel as if you should never fail them. On the opposite, maybe it’s your partner who forgets himself by putting you first. Codependency can make anyone seem unreasonably foolish in love. Objects of affection are placed on a pedestal. They might even be worshipped that those who set them up high will do everything for them.     

Unhealthy Dating Pattern

Psychology proves how we tend to succumb (often subconsciously) to our own habits. The human brain forms and follows patterns. Whether it’s a daily schedule, or the crushes you develop, you actually have an inner trend. This is why you might keep falling for the wrong people. Unavailable, insecure, codependent, or selfish partners attract you if they are all you’ve encountered in the past. In addition, these qualities might be the same with important people you’ve known your whole life such as parents, guardians, siblings, and teachers. Your psyche looks for what you’re already familiar with. In spite of toxic individuals and the toxic relationship you can get into, your mind only knows conforms to your experiences.  

Low Self-Esteem

Due to history, personal background, or other significant factors, you may lack confidence in yourself. If you grew up with uptight parents, for instance, you’re more likely to see your worth in anyone but yourself. You’re raised to please in order to be accepted. Growing in an emotionally cold environment can produce self-esteem issues as well. You then unknowingly bring this codependency in your own relationships later on in life. You latch on to whoever appears to satisfy your hunger for affection, and you find it impossible to leave.

They Are Controlling

When someone uses manipulation to have their way, even with those they love, they probably have an abnormal need for control. They claim the driver’s seat. Everything must go according to their plan, including yours. They may blame you for their mistakes or pass on their negative traits to you (saying you’re the manipulative one). If codependency clouds your judgment, you wouldn’t take notice right away. You might even mistake their behavior for passion. 

Their Issues Occupy Your Mind

Do you catch yourself mulling over your partner’s issues? Do you think about them so much that they fill most of your conversations with other people? Because of codependency, you can only have and share such thoughts when your partner is not around. You might even be afraid to offend them by pointing out small but important matters. You can’t imagine communicating even though your gut tells you you must. Moreover, you get easily distracted by their actions when they are in a good mood. 

Poor Boundaries

Everyone has a right to have their own space. No matter how much they respect their loved ones, they shouldn’t allow them to go beyond the line. Codependency weakens your boundaries. You can’t stand up for yourself and assert your needs. You can’t help but to give access to your thoughts, feelings, and other things that are meant for you alone to know. In the end, you allow your space to be invaded, leaving you no privacy or ease. 

Fantasy Over Reality

If all you see is your partner, you might be treating them as a completely different person. Maybe your perfect image of them is not realistic. When you’re blinded by your emotions, the good parts overshadow the not-so-ideal. Yes, they may be super romantic and sweet, but you can’t ignore their anger issues. You can’t be in love with your idea of a person (flawless, best lover, savior-like, etc.), you’ll surely be disappointed. You have to embrace them for who they truly are.

Doing Everything for Them

Codependency can make you do what you wouldn’t usually do. Running someone else’s errands every week was never in your plan, but now it is. You serve your partner in every way, even if that means you have to do every single thing for them, including the ones they can do by himself. You can’t resist treating them like a child who needs assistance all the time. You’re assuming a mother role instead of a romantic partner.  

Their Mood Affects the Day 

Just one outburst and your road trip is cancelled. If they suddenly get lazy, the rest of your schedule is ruined. They always dictate the day with their own feelings. Their mood swings consistently affect situations, regardless of how you might suffer. You tolerate them as you’d normally do. You might even make up excuses in your head (“They’re just tired,” “They don’t feel well,” “I shouldn’t have insisted,” etc.). You’re the one to always compensate for the mess they make. 

No Life Outside the Relationship

You seem to have nothing else to do when you’re not together. You might have no hobbies, social life, or any other activity you enjoy. Even eating out can be dull. You don’t find activities you’d normally prefer exciting as they used to be. Your other relationships can also suffer as a result. Friends and family might take your behavior to heart and stop expecting you. Your satisfaction comes only from spending time with your partner. Codependency locks you up. It’s like being held captive in a familiar cage you’ve learned to cherish. 

Painful Emotions

Though you may try to hide your anxiety, fear, regret, or sadness from your partner and important people in your life, you can’t comfortably keep it that way forever. Sooner or later, you will explode. It will become too much that you can’t simply suppress it anymore. Worst of all, these emotions might lead to health complications. Hidden feelings can promote development of physiological and/or mental health disorders. When you’re so used to codependency, you believe you have no choice but to continue living the life you have. You put up with or deny the negative aspects of your relationship.

Seeking Validation

Codependency exists because you seek your self-worth in people. Though they may be bad for you, they make you feel special. They give you attention. As previously mentioned, it can start from an early age. People-pleasing is a means of being “seen”. Recognition, accomplishments, and praise empower you. Criticism and rejection breaks you. Still, other people can’t validate you. Your real value resides within you and you’re the first person who should know that. Codependency thrives by feeding on your weak spots.  


A relationship that includes unhealthy habits such as drug addiction, substance abuse, and illegal gambling can be dangerous. When it gets out of control, hurt is inevitable. For instance, someone might experience great pain while the other might pay for their actions. Your partner shouldn’t be tolerated if they are guilty just as you shouldn’t be too if you were in their place. Violence and unlawfulness are not acceptable. No amount of explanation can justify them. 

Neglecting Overall Health for the Other Person

There’s no question in making an effort to take care of those you love. You wouldn’t eat your favorite snack if you’re encouraging your partner who’s on a doctor recommended diet. You’d miss your business appointment if they are sick. Mindlessly risking your health, though, is never right. You’re not obliged to fulfill your partner’s every wish. If your partner is treating you like a maidservant so much so that your well-being is compromised, you shouldn’t just brush it off. 


It’s hard to accept codependency especially when you don’t understand it. You might think you’re just head over heels. Denying the truth and even honest opinions about your relationship or your partner comes naturally. On the other hand, you might already know, but you still refuse to admit reality. You’re too loyal to whatever it is that you currently have. You can’t let it go. It’s a matter of life and death. If you don’t take time to listen to trustworthy people you know, you will not realize how much your denial is causing you. When you can’t think straight enough to think for yourself, others can help you overcome your blind spots.  

Trying to Fix Them

Codependency can fool you into thinking you’re a “hero” of some kind. You might believe you have the ability to change someone. You might think that if you show more love and support, you can help them transform into a better person. That’s not possible. You can’t fix anyone but yourself. They might manifest change, but only for a while. They can’t turn over a new leaf unless they do it themself. You can try to rescue them from their demons as much as you want, but you won’t get anywhere.

Always Submitting

You always let them win. Without hesitation, you give in even to your own detriment. You probably forgot that your partner is not your master. All you consider are their feelings and their best interest. You forget about yourself entirely. Codependency makes you passive and absurdly submissive. It’s like trading your main role for a part as an extra. It doesn’t help your partner at all, because it only encourages their unhealthy behavior. Love is about giving and taking, mutual respect, and equality.

Feeling Trapped

Feeling alone and powerless in a relationship is a huge red flag. You don’t want to or can’t find the strength to leave something that hurts you even when there’s a way out. Maybe you think you’ll regret giving up what you’ve held onto for so long. Maybe you’re thinking there’s too much at stake (children, finances, reputation, etc.). Codependency underestimates the impact of serious relationship problems on you. Years mean nothing if all you’re getting out of your relationship is pain. 

Taking Responsibility for Them

Codependent people don’t think twice in standing up for their loved ones. They would go to jail for them. They’d lie about their faults. They’d beat themselves up for the bad things that they bring upon themselves. Because of this, they are really held responsible. If you’re always taking your partner’s place to save them, they may keep relying on you for everything without taking any responsibility at all.

Losing Yourself

You’re no genie. Your partner too. When one party begins to lose their identity in a relationship by giving every piece of himself, more trouble ensues. No one must completely lose himself for another person. Codependency can damage people, relationships, and even society if not managed. Once you lose yourself, you lose your life. The ones you love and the ones who truly appreciate you will lose you as well.

Codependency is never healthy. One-sided affection can turn any relationship into a form of slavery or obsession. Pain, distorted thinking, and serious risks are sure to happen. No matter how subtle codependency relationship signs may be, they need to be addressed. Don’t hesitate to seek therapy and even proper authorities if you’re experiencing abuse (physical, verbal, psychological, etc.). Nonetheless, you can get rid of codependency especially if both you and your partner are willing to. You can also go through two separate therapies–one for couples and another for you or your partner, depending on the kind of behavior that requires attention. Keep in mind that you need to accept whatever solution is necessary. If you need to leave your partner, do it. Make yourself and your own well-being top priority, as should always be the case. 

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Written by Hannah Grace

A B.S. Psychology graduate who fights both real and imaginary shadows every day with music and words.

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