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How do I know if my partner and I are codependent and what can I do about it?

June 20, 2024

Manhattan man kissing his partner's forehead. How do you know if your relationship is codependent?

Codependency is a complex and often subtle pattern of behavior in relationships, and it can be challenging to recognize. It typically involves an excessive reliance on each other for emotional validation, self-worth, and identity. Here are some signs that you and your partner may be codependent:

1. Difficulty Setting Boundaries

Codependent individuals often have trouble setting and maintaining healthy boundaries. They may feel responsible for their partner’s emotions, behavior, or well-being and have difficulty saying no or expressing their own needs and desires.

Brooklyn man and woman sitting by a lake reflecting on their relationship.

2. Low Self-Esteem

Codependent individuals often have low self-esteem and derive much of their self-worth from their role in the relationship. They may feel worthless or unlovable without their partner’s approval and validation.

3. Enabling Behavior

Codependent partners may engage in enabling behaviors, such as covering up their partner’s mistakes, making excuses for them, or rescuing them from the consequences of their actions. This can prevent their partner from taking responsibility for their behavior.

4. Intense Fear of Abandonment

Codependent individuals often have an overwhelming fear of being abandoned or rejected by their partner. This fear can drive them to do whatever it takes to keep the relationship intact, even if it means sacrificing their own needs and values.

5. Lack of Independence

Codependent partners may have difficulty making decisions or taking actions independently of their partner. They may rely on their partner for guidance and validation in all aspects of life.

Brooklyn couple holding each others hands. Has your relationship shifted into codependency? Therapy can help.

6. Neglecting Personal Interests

Codependent individuals may neglect their own interests, hobbies, and friendships in favor of spending all their time and energy on their partner. Their world may revolve entirely around the relationship.

7. Intense Emotional Reactions

Codependent individuals may have extreme emotional reactions to relationship issues. They may become excessively anxious, depressed, or angry when they perceive a threat to the relationship, and these emotions can be out of proportion to the situation.

8. Difficulty in Other Relationships

Codependency can affect not only the romantic relationship but also other relationships in the individual’s life. Friends and family may feel pushed aside or neglected because the codependent person prioritizes their partner above all else.

9. Difficulty Expressing Feelings

Codependent individuals may have trouble expressing their true feelings and needs to their partner. They may suppress their emotions to avoid conflict or to maintain the illusion of a perfect relationship.

10. Caretaking Role

Codependent partners often take on a caretaking role in the relationship. They may feel responsible for their partner’s happiness, well-being, and success, even to the detriment of their own needs and desires.

11. Cycle of Dysfunctional Behavior

Codependent relationships often follow a pattern of dysfunction, including periods of conflict, followed by attempts at reconciliation, and then a return to the same problematic behaviors.

Manhattan couple laying in the park discussing their relationship.

Couples counseling can help work through codependency in relationships. Our therapists can help you and your partner develop healthier relationship dynamics, improve communication, and build independence and self-esteem. Recognizing and addressing codependency can lead to more fulfilling and balanced relationships.

Dealing with codependency in a relationship can be challenging, but it is possible with effort, self-awareness, and a commitment to change. Educating yourself and leaning into the benefits of individual therapy can be helpful foundational tools to working on codependency in your relationship. 


If your relationship could use some extra support, our team of trained couples therapists are here to help. We understand that every relationship is different and at times can be a bit  complicated to navigate on your own. Do you find you and your partner having the ame disagreements over and over? Are you and your partner having difficulty communicating effectively? Our therapists are here to guide you and your partner to develop strategies for finding fulfillment in the life you are building together. Through therapy, you can gain insights into patterns of thinking and behavior, identify areas for growth and receive guidance on building a positive and meaningful life together.

  1. Submit a Contact Form or Email Us at
  2. Learn More About Our Team of Female Therapists and Our Areas of Expertise
  3. Let’s Talk About How We Can Help You Feel Empowered & Ready To Take The Next Step. 


At Manhattan Wellness, our therapists are here to support you in navigating life. This is why we offer a variety of services to ensure you get the support, care, and guidance necessary. The therapy services we offer are Therapy for Maternal Mental Health, Self-Esteem Counseling, and Anxiety Treatment. Along with Dating/Relationship Counseling, Counseling for College Students, and more. Feel as if you are not living the life you deserve? Let’s talk about it.

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