Does Codependency Make You Boring?
By Marlena Tillhon MSc.
While codependency is something that comes from within us and therefore extends to all
areas of our life, it is usually most noticeable in our romantic relationships. Many of us do
fairly well while we are single: we have hobbies and interests, socialise, and often even
engage in self-care of one sort or another.
I have had numerous clients who have created remarkable lives for themselves and taken
part in plays, travelled to exotic places, organised events, made new friends or toned their
body in the gym. They were interesting people with lots of different things to talk about.
Conversations were fascinating and their lives were quite enviable. They really looked like
they had it all together.
This all changed when they entered a romantic relationship. They increasingly gave up on
their interests and opted out of the activities they had previously enjoyed. They began to
focus more and more on their new relationship and their partner. The more this happened,
the unhappier they became and the more strained their relationship got. All of a sudden,
their relationship became the only source of emotional nourishment for them. Codependent
or not, this is too much pressure for any relationship to bear.
When we withdraw from life and put our complete focus onto our romantic relationship, we
eventually find ourselves disappointed with our relationship because our partner simply
can’t provide the variety of experiences we previously enjoyed when participating in all the
hobbies and activities we engaged in. Soon we begin blaming our unhappiness on our
partner and our relationship enters a negative cycle that then becomes difficult to break.
Most of us don’t see that our strategy is at fault and not our partner. What we need to
remind ourselves of is that no other human being is responsible for our happiness. No one
can make us feel happy if we are not open to it. No one can provide us with everything we
want or need. Only we can. Putting our responsibilities onto another person is
disempowering for us and disrespectful towards them. This is also not the version of a
relationship they agreed to being in. Entering a relationship is not an invitation to become
passive in your life.
An adult relationship works well when two people who have built varied lives that nourish
them maintain those lives even when they are in a relationship. There is no unnecessary
pressure. There are no unhealthy and unrealistic expectations. There are just two people
with fulfilling lives that now also co-create a healthy relationship together.
The mistaken belief codependency is based on is that a relationship with another person will
provide us with our sense of safety, worth and happiness. In this confusion, we believe that
what we need comes from the outside. We become desperate and passive. We take a very
disempowered position in our own life and put our wellbeing into the hands of another
This is not a responsibility anyone wants or should be burdened with. It is not a
responsibility anyone else can truly fulfil for another adult. It is not an expectation anyone
can live up to. And yet, we do it. We try. We give up everything we have built for ourselves
because we are drawn in by the belief that from now on someone else will take care of us,
someone else will provide our fun for us, someone else will do for us what is only ever our
job to do.
Being in a codependent relationship is not just heartbreakingly disappointing, it is also
extremely boring. The only form of entertainment usually comes from playing out the
drama triangle. Both partners are disappointed because one hoped that they would be
taken care of by the other and the other is disappointed because the fascinating person they
originally entered a relationship with and fell in love with has become passive and given up
all their interest. It is an unsustainable situation that will inevitably lead to relationship
We need to remember that it is healthy to maintain a sense of autonomy and separation
when we are in a relationship. It is healthy to develop our own interests and hobbies. Our
independence does not threaten our bond. If anything, it allows us to create a sense of
healthy interdependence. Because without independence, there is only dependence. And
that’s what creates and reinforces codependency.
Marlena Tillhon MSc, Codependency & Relationship Expert, Psychotherapist & Self-Actualisation Coach. Outgrow codependency, break through inner love blocks and transform the relationship you have with yourself so that you can finally create an amazing relationship you feel safe and loved in. Join The Epic Love (R)Evolution or work with me personally for 6 months to gain Freedom from Codependency at www.epiclove.me/codependency-coaching
If I only had read this type/kind of article before, something about it, simple and honest about it. or because it tells you of the contracts of before and after.
Or is it because I have come to realize, my individuality is gone, after being married for 25 years that it is speaking to me….being “one” is a fantasy, a romantic fantasy that novels and movies have brainwashed us to think it is a ‘good’ thing, that if we spend every waking hour together; that we a strong/stronger couple this way. No its not, you need to keep your individually, keep your hobbies, your interests alive etc. Thou, what has feared me, and I guess it has frightened other is, if you give them the “space/freedom” will they use it as it was indented.???