Are You in a Codependent Relationship?
Impact of a Codependent Relationship
Giving up your own needs and identity to meet the needs of a partner has unhealthy short-term and long-term consequences.
"You can become burned out, exhausted, and begin to neglect other important relationships," Burn says. "And if you're the enabler in a codependent relationship -- meaning you promote the other person's dysfunctions -- you can prevent them from learning common and needed life lessons."
How to Change a Codependent Relationship
Breaking up isn't necessarily the best or only solution. To repair a codependent relationship, it's important to set boundaries and find happiness as an individual, says psychologist Misty Hook, PhD.
She recommends that partners talk about and set relationship goals that satisfy them both.
"It's also important to spend time with relatives, friends, and family to broaden the circle of support," she says. "Find hobbies of your own. Try separating for certain periods of time to create a healthy dependence on one another."
But do keep in mind that your actions may unintentionally worsen a codependent relationship, Wetzler says.
"Sometimes people delude themselves into thinking they are helping a codependent partner by continuing to cater to his or her anxiety," he says. "But ask if you are truly helping or simply fostering that negativity."