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8 Red Flags You’re in a Codependent Relationship

When you first start a relationship, a little codependency can feel natural. But if you've been together and you still have any of these red flags, it may be time for couple's counseling.

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What it means to be in a codependent relationship

If you find yourself constantly giving up what you want and need to please your partner or cover up for their bad behaviors, that could be a warning sign that you are in a codependent relationship, according to the counseling blog Harley Therapy. Codependency is an extreme form of sacrificing one’s well-being for someone else. Watch out for these 31 relationship habits that seem healthy but are actually dangerous.

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alcohol abuse drugs

You cover up your partner’s alcoholism or drug use

If someone has an addiction to alcohol, drugs, or anything else that is harmful to their health, you may feel like you are doing them a favor by helping them out of a jam—but that’s codependency, warn the experts at Mental Health America. For example, if someone misses work because they went on a bender the night before, you might feel you’re helping by lying to their boss when they call. However, if you help an addict avoid facing consequences of that behavior, you’re just enabling the addiction.

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sad depressed men couple bed

You give up what you really want to appease your partner

Your partner’s needs can become more important than your own in a codependent relationship. That can ultimately weaken the relationship and negate your own well-being, writes psychologist Amie M. Gordon, PhD, in UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Magazine. Keep it up and you won’t have any energy or time to care for anyone else.

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sad depressed woman bed

You do more than your fair share in the relationship

In a codependent relationship, one partner tends to do a lot more of the work than the other partner, writes Gordon. That may be because one partner does not feel capable of doing more, or it can be because the partner is manipulative or selfish, preferring not to put in the same amount of work. Whatever the situation may be, it’s not sustainable for one partner to do the vast majority of the work.

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sad depressed couple hold hands dark

You feel like you need to break away—but you can’t leave

If you start to feel trapped in the relationship, take a good look at what value it really has in your life. Psychology Today reports that relationships require autonomy. Although devoting all your time to your partner can feel like a special level of closeness, blurred boundaries are ultimately suffocating, and they can cause great harm to the relationship. Check out why nicer people are more likely to have depression.

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sad couple

You have a hard time setting boundaries

Boundaries are healthy and necessary for a healthy relationship. If you have a hard time setting boundaries, examine why that is, advises Gordon. For some people, the idea of preserving some distance between themselves and their partner may seem wrong; according to Psych Central, setting boundaries will help create an environment of mutual respect and enhance closeness.

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sad couple lonely

You have an overwhelming fear of being abandoned by your partner

People in a codependent relationship often experience a great deal of fear when their partner pulls away just a little. If you are facing a great fear of being abandoned by your partner, you may go to extremes to keep them. This can lead to a variety of unhealthy behavior and patterns that can ultimately be detrimental to your relationship, writes Gordon. Check out these signs of an unhealthy relationship.

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You have a difficult time saying no to your partner

If you feel that you need to say yes to your partner even when you strongly want to say no, you’re facing some serious issues, warns Medical News Today. If your partner expects you to always agree with them, they are not fairly considering your wants and needs. Correct the imbalance by learning the daily habits of couples in healthy relationships.

Robin Raven
Robin Raven is a travel, lifestyle, vegan food and entertainment writer. As a shopping expert, she carries expertise in spas, luxury travel and all things Disney. Robin is also the author of two books.