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Ryan LCSW
Ryan LCSW, Mental Health
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 872
Experience:  Individual and Family Therapist
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I feel like its possible that Im codependent on my boyfriend

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I feel like it's possible that I'm codependent on my boyfriend for happiness. We spend all our time together so I suggested he go away for a weekend to his parents without me to have some separation but I constantly worry about what he is doing. If he doesn't text or I get very anxious and almost depressed. Everything he says or any excuse he has automatically makes me jump to conclusions, or: does he love me? Am I not important enough to him for him to call, is he with someone else?
Thanks for your question.

You are correct that all of these worries are signs of codependency, but the fact that you are able to recognize that is going to make a big difference in you being able to work through it. There's certainly nothing wrong with spending a lot of time together, however you should also be able to spend time away from each other without getting anxious or feeling like he doesn't love you. The idea of him spending some time at his parents by himself was a good idea, because it's a fairly safe environment to test how you would both feel with some distance between the two of you. As you continue to be together, he is going to have to be able to be in situations where he may not be able to call you or talk to you for some time, and you will have to trust that he is not with anyone else and that he does love you. This would be a good first step in breaking that codependency and those anxious feelings, because when the weekend is over and you are back together, it is going to be one step towards proving to yourself that he is trustworthy, and that time apart is nothing to worry about. The next time it should be a little easier.

Overall people who are in relationships that spend all of their time together tend to eventually get burned out of each other and start having problems. It's important for people to have personal time to themselves so that they can pursue their own personal interests or just simply have some alone time. Those are the things that are going to make your relationship stronger as you move forward and demonstrate a respect and understanding of your individual lives as well as you life together. I definitely wish you the best with all of this and if there's anything else I can do to help please let me know.

Ryan
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I recognize the codependency in our everyday life as well. What are other things that I can do to separate myself without my anxiety blowing up? I don't enjoy spending time apart - although I know he does. Even if we apart for a few hours or for work reasons, I feel anxious a lot of the time about it. I've been trying to separate myself more by doing things for myself but I tend to schedule them around times he isn't available anyways...that way I don't miss that time with him.
At first it's going to be difficult to contain those anxious feelings, because the time apart is not something you're comfortable with. The way you've been coping is good in a way, because you are keeping yourself busy when you are not with him. Right now though you are only doing this in response to the times where he can't see you, and it's really important in the future that you take some of that time for yourself regardless of whether or not he is available.

Often times people feel anxious in situations like this because they love their partner so much that they become fearful that if they let them go for too long that they will lose interest or that things will fall apart. However it's important to take a step back and build this relationship on trust. That anxiety isn't going to go away right away, but rationally you have to continue to remind yourself that this is how healthy relationships function, and that having your own lives and still having that same connection is what is really going to take your relationship to the next level. As you do it more and more, it's going to get easier, and he will appreciate you trusting him, which will reinforce that even further.

For now you're in a situation that you know is going to cause you some anxiety. Keeping yourself busy will help, but it's also important not to feed into these irrational thoughts. If your relationship is on solid ground, he should be able to go away for the weekend and most likely he will be very happy to see you when he gets back and everything will be fine, so don't allow yourself to feed into the disaster thinking that continues to resurface. You're doing something that all relationships need to be able to do in order to be healthy, and that's a positive thing even if it is anxiety provoking. Hang in there,

Ryan
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Last question, I promise - should this be something I share with him about how I'm feeling or is it something I should work through on my own?
No problem! It can be a very positive thing to share it with him and can lead to some good conversations that are very reassuring to both of you. At the same time though, it is still something that you'll have to continue to work through on your own somewhat, so you just don't want to leave him with the impression that you expect him to avoid taking time for himself because of your anxiety. By telling him, it may help him to support you in enjoying the time that you have away from him a little more, and help you to be ok with doing it for yourself sometimes instead of only in response to him being gone. If you're comfortable talking to him about it and he's a receptive guy, I would think that it could only help you in continuing to work through this. Best of luck,

Ryan
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