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How to Stop Being Codependent: 17 Steps to Finding Yourself Again

Learning how to stop being codependent is vital to prevent yourself from sabotaging your relationship. There’s nothing cute about codependency, after all.

How to Stop Being Codependent

Codependency is a weird state to be in. You rely on someone else for all your happiness and emotional needs, and before you know it, you’re suffocating the other person with your clinginess and neediness! But if you want to learn how to stop being codependent, that’s a great start for now.

You’ve recognized a negative trait in yourself and are trying to fix it, and that’s the first step to a way better relationship, and healthier life as well.

If you want to know what is codependency, the biggest traits, and what makes it so unhealthy, use this guide on what is codependency and the 23 traits that make it so scary to know more.

But if you want to know how to stop being codependent, well, read on.

First of all, you need to remember that being overly dependent on anyone, be it a friend or a lover, is never a good thing. You lose sight of who you are and end up taking on an identity that’s solely tied to someone else. Sometimes, your partner could even be enabling your codependent behavior because they enjoy being needed and having you cling to them.

It’s a subtle form of control and power play, and one where you’re left feeling helpless and weak when you don’t have your partner’s support. It’s toxic, for you and for your partner as well. And eventually, your relationship will go downhill unless you wean yourself away from this codependency. [Read: How to spot codependent behavior early and regain your self-identity]

What makes codependent behavior harmful?

Codependency isn’t just bad because you’re so reliant on your partner. It affects you negatively because it puts a lot of pressure on your partner as well.

For starters, if you never learn how to stop being codependent, you’ll keep sabotaging your relationships with your impossible expectations from your partner. Codependent behavior is and will always be toxic because you’re revolving your entire world around the other person.

Not only does your partner have to create their own happiness, but they also have to work twice as hard at keeping you happy as well. You’re always depending on one another to be happy, and that’s a dangerous way to live.

Codependency could lead to a feeling of not being fulfilled in life and, ultimately, disappointment and resentment. You’ll go through life with only each other and pull away from everyone else who matters and as much as it can seem romantic, it’s toxic!

No matter how much you love someone or admire them, an essential aspect of healthy relationships is having a sense of individuality. There’s no scenario where you can have a healthy and thriving relationship if you never learn how to stop being codependent.

[Read: 21 signs of a clingy girlfriend & how to avoid turning into one]

How to stop being codependent and get to healthy place in your relationship

If you’re in a very codependent relationship, things need to change. It’s not healthy for either of you to continue on like this. But the good thing is that you recognized this codependency as a bad thing. The next step is to fix it. Here’s how to do just that.

1. Talk to your partner

Just like with any issue in any relationship, communication is vital. You can’t learn how to stop being codependent if you don’t talk to your partner first. They may not even recognize the codependency that’s happening, and that means it’s up to you to set things straight.

First, talk about what’s going on and then explain why it’s bad. You can use your own unhappiness and insecurity as a means of getting them to actually listen since many people will go on the defense or pretend codependency is not unhealthy. [Read: Am I toxic? How to tell if you’re the toxic one and not everyone else]

2. Get them to recognize the issue

This can be difficult, at least at first. With codependency, most people don’t ever see an issue. The fact that you think it is and can recognize that is a big deal. Help your partner see just how destructive codependent behavior is and help them admit this tendency of theirs.

Sometimes, your partner may even try to convince you that the traits of codependency are actually the same as true love. It’s not their fault, they may just be very happy in the current arrangement where you’re totally dependent on them for all your needs.

If they become defensive or stonewall you, be patient with them. At least you tried your part in assisting them to recognize their harmful behavior. Do your best to talk things through and help them see what a healthy, happy relationship should look like. [Read: 15 signs of a healthy relationship that keeps couples happy and in love]

3. Agree to work together

You have to come to terms with things together. You can’t be the only one working to fix this. It’s going to take the both of you putting forth your total effort to make this happen.

You have become a team, so as frustrating as codependent behavior is, you can’t pit yourselves against one another. Try to see what both of you can do to improve the relationship.

4. Reach out to family and friends

You need to start building up those relationships again. If you’re codependent, you’ve probably lost touch with a lot of your old friends.

Make sure they know you’re sorry for ignoring them, and that you’re willing to spend time with them and rebuild your friendships. Of course, you need to know that they may harbor resentment towards you for ignoring them all this while. [Read: Am I a bad friend? The bad friendship skills that push people away]

5. Make more plans without each other

The whole idea behind learning how to stop being codependent is looking at your life as two people coming together, not two people forming a single unit. You need to spend time apart.

Start making plans without each other. It may be awkward to try something without your partner next to you, but really, what have you got to lose? Start small, a trip to the grocery store or a coffee shop by yourself is a great start.

Even if you’re convinced all of this would be a lot more fun with your partner around, resist the urge. At first, try something by yourself. And when you’re mentally prepared, try to take on more activities that you could do by yourself.

6. Get your own, separate hobbies

Most codependent couples have the same hobbies. They do everything together, and while it may seem like a lot of fun, it’s not helping you get over your copendency.

So try some new hobbies and have it be just yours. It’s refreshing to have a unique, interesting hobby of your own that your partner doesn’t partake in. Maybe it’s hitting the gym, reading a book, or even watching your show on Netflix.

Start small, and try to spend thirty minutes away from each other. Take pleasure in your alone time, and very soon, you’ll be able to enjoy your own favorite activities that define you as a person, not as a part of a couple. [Read: How to be more interesting and make everyone want to know you]

7. Schedule time apart every week

Do you spend all day or every single night together? What about the weekends? If you’re spending every moment of your free time together, it’s time for you to start thinking about spending some time apart as well.

If you want to learn how to stop being codependent, this is necessary. You have to be your own person that won’t be defined by your partner or the relationship – and the same should go for them. Plan one day or evening away from each other, to do your own thing with your own friends. [Read: How taking a break and spending time apart works in a relationship]

8. Find happiness without your significant other

Your partner should make you happy, that’s one of the requirements of a healthy relationship. But what’s not okay is if you’re now solely dependent on them to make you happy.

They may be your soulmate, but you still need to be able to define happiness on your own terms as well. Happiness isn’t being stuck at the hips with your partner. Happiness is enjoying your couple time AND having your own happy times as well!

Stop over-romanticizing your relationship and learn to be okay with the idea of being happy without them. Now, that’s what a healthy relationship is. [Read: 15 signs of a healthy relationship that keep couples happy and in love]

9. Ask friends for help

Codependency makes you ignore everyone and only focus on your partner because you assume you don’t need anyone else. Apologize to your closest friends, open up and confess your mistakes.

Tell them you really want to work on getting things back on track and having a healthy friendship with them. If you’re lucky, they’ll want to help. This step can be pretty difficult for some more than others, but asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. It shows growth and that you really value your friendships as well. [Read: Good friends are like stars – 18 ways to build lasting friendships]

10. Keep aside me-time

This means you and only you. No friends. No significant other. Everyone has to know how to be happy and enjoy their alone time. It’s healthy for people to be alone and if you can’t bear the thought of being all by yourself, something could be wrong emotionally.

Keep aside a few hours every week and focus on doing things that secretly make you happy. Maybe it’s video games or doing your nails with a facemask. Whatever it is, indulge yourself without feeling gulity. [Read: How to make the most out of your alone time]

11. Learn what healthy relationships look like

Your definition of a healthy relationship may have changed over time, as you slipped deeper into your relationship. But if you want to know how to stop being codependent, you need to redefine the role of love in your life. Yes, it’s important, but not at the cost of you losing your individuality.

As much as you might think being happy to be with your partner 24/7 is a good thing, it’s not. Sometimes, what you think is healthy could just be toxic. Use this guide on the 18 foundations of a healthy relationship that separate the good and the bad to guide your romance in the right direction.

12. Get professional help when needed

This is probably the hardest one on this list of learning how to stop being codependent. Sometimes you can’t get rid of that codependency on your own. You may need professional help in the form of counseling, and that’s perfectly fine. You’re not insane or crazy for needing help.

It just means you really want to become a better person and partner. It’s better to get the help you really need than to let your relationship suffer for it.

Open up and talk to someone whose job is to fix stuff like this. Your relationship and whole life will be better off because of it. [Read: Relationship therapy and 25 clues to know if it can help you]

13. Confront your issues

Codependent behavior is never healthy in any relationship, and most of the behavior is caused by your own issues. You may not want to admit this, but codependent behavior all comes down to baggage, childhood, and trauma that you may be refusing to face. Maybe you lacked love from your parents or weren’t shown love in the right way.

It’s easy to apply bad behavior even in our relationships unintentionally, but you have a choice in the matter. If you really want to be a better partner and stop codependent behavior, fixing your internal issues is the key.

14. Work on your attachment style

We all relate to a particular attachment style, whether it’s anxious, avoidant, anxious-avoidant, or secure. These are the four attachment styles that exist, and working on your attachment can help you unlearn some of your codependent behavior.

Just because you tend to cling to your partner when you get anxious doesn’t mean that behavior is okay. You’re going to have to unlearn this behavior and work on this. Your partner can even help you with this particular issue if you’re really having trouble unlearning it. [Read: The 4 attachment styles and how they impact your relationship]

15. Your partner still loves you

If your partner makes plans without you or goes out with their own friends occasionally, it’s not a form of attack.

Even in a relationship, learning to maintain a healthy balance of me-time, social-time and couple-time are important to avoid becoming codependent. Your partner won’t love you less just because they do something without you around, you know? [Read: How to stop being so sensitive about everything all the time]

16. Make plans without them

Once you come to terms with your partner going out by themselves, it’s time to give it a try yourself too. If you want to know how to stop being codependent, start by making plans that don’t involve your partner.

It might feel uncomfortable and scary at first, but you’ll thank yourself in the long run for doing this. You will counter codependency with independence, and that will teach you to be happy on your own.

Remember, if you spend an hour with another friend, it doesn’t mean you love your partner any less. It just means you’re learning to live as an individual, and experiencing your own life, while being in a healthy relationship. [Read: How to be independent even if you’re in a happy relationship]

17. Create boundaries

Boundaries are important in any healthy relationship. It teaches people how to love you, and it teaches you how to value yourself more.

Without boundaries, codependency will keep slipping into your relationship, and there will come the point where you both won’t have any other choice but to call it quits. So if you don’t want that to happen, create healthy boundaries and learn to stick to them. [Read: How to set boundaries in a relationship – 15 rules for healthy love]

How to stop being codependent

Codependency is an easy pattern to fall into, so it’s essential to be aware of your behavior before sabotaging your relationship.

Start small, but try to practice independence, individuality, and communication if you want to become a better and more independent partner.

Codependency can get dangerous if you’re both attached at the hips all the time. Give some space, you’ll both be happier, and your relationship will bloom as well.

[Read: Healthy relationship boundaries – How to talk about them and set them with your loved ones]

Use these steps to learn how to stop being codependent and change now. Staying stuck in something that makes you lose yourself is never going to leave you happy. And the faster you fix it, the better it is for you, your partner, and your relationship too.

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The editorial team of LovePanky comprises relationship experts and real-life experts that share their experiences and life lessons. If you want the best love ad...