Art by Caroline

Codependency is something often embraced in our culture, through books, television, and movies alike. It's not openly announced as so, but is clearly shown and rarely in a negative or accurate light. Codependent relationships are shown as cute or passionate, which teaches those who have never been in serious relationships that the road to love is through codependency.

This may work for some people, but rarely in a healthy way. Codependency breeds a 'needy' and aggressive attitude, which often results in partners feeling as though they can not survive without their significant other. This can often ruin the confidence of a partner, and can also lead to the loss of personality and individuality of the people involved in the relationship.

In any relationship, it's important to remind yourself of ways to avoid codependency.

1. Remember who you were before you were in a relationship. Think of the positive things you did, the memories you made, and the times you shared with yourself or friends. 

2. Access how your life was altered by the relationship. Are you happier? Are you still the same or a better person? Do you still have positive relationships with people besides your partner?

3. Tell yourself that you can live without your significant other, and that your happiness / personality does not depend on a them. If the relationship came to a close you would change, grow, and survive. 

4. You should always try to work together and be honest when mistakes are made in the relationship. If you simply sweep things under the rug because you think that your love is strong enough to ignore wrongs, then you will harbor negative feelings.

As humans, our relationships will never be perfect. You'll fuck up; Your partner/s will fuck up; There'll be lows; There'll be highs; There'll be fights. But a codependent relationship will make all issues worse. It will diminish your strength and individuality, which you need in good times and bad.

Being with your partner should help you recognize the best parts of yourself. It should make you think 'I love being with them, they make me a better person' without taking away your sense of self. 

Don't mistake codependency for love.

Written by Carly Pierce / @l.uhvie