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From Codependency to Co-Deepening

by Michael Thielmann 3 years ago in advice

Strong individuals can create an even stronger partnership together.

I can't talk about codependency without paying homage to Melody Beattie.

I want to preface this article with a story from my own life. My wife of six years and I recently went through a separation of sorts, and yet our friendship is as strong as ever and we're both committed to becoming the best people we can be.

What I realize on my end is that I had inadvertently developed a certain codependent attachment to my wife, which played out in a few key ways.

I've always had a strong entrepreneurial spirit, and my partner was willing to work sub-optimal jobs to help me begin creating my online counseling business.

In turn, my wife sacrificed her own well-being and put her dreams on hold in order to help the person she loves. In the midst of all this, we would comfort each other emotionally through our difficulties, but something remained unresolved between us.

From my point of view, I was relying on her emotional comfort in my challenging times rather than healing my own core issues. I inadvertently turned my wife into my counselor or therapist, waiting to emotionally vent to her when the going got tough. (And did it ever get tough!)

Professionally as well as personally, I feel that there is a fine line to navigate here. Of course couples should support each other in all aspects of life; the question is, are they dependent upon each other for that support?

By this I mean, do they habitually rely on their partner to make them feel better or comfort them emotionally. Chronically single people are forced to emotionally rely on themselves a lot more often - I would know, having been single for the last few months myself.

The basic idea is that individuals can move from being codependent to deepening their own relationship with themselves. If two people are able to do this, then there will be a co-depeening of the relationship.

The individuals will benefit all the more from this healthy and flourishing union, and the couple will also know when they need some time apart for self-care.

Sometimes couples overstay their own welcome with one another. If there are problems they try to argue and negotiate to resolve the issue right now,

What if I just go for a walk, grab a coffee, sit in the park, and come home when I calm down? Why do I believe that arguing and talking over my partner will lead to a solution?

If I take the time to give myself the self-care I need, then I can return to my partner renewed and clear-minded. She will have had time to calm down as well in my absence and can take some time for herself.

Of course, the other extreme is when I walk away from my partner whenever there are some potholes in the road. She then realizes that I am avoiding dealing with reality as it is, as well as avoiding her and not considering her needs in the relationship.

No one said it was easy, and now I know first hand. I was intending on spending the rest of my life with the person I talked about above, but it looks like the universe had different ideas for us right now.

Being single has had many blessings in disguise. I've been able to put a lot more time and energy into my business. Friends are coming out of the woodwork with inspiring ideas for building a better future. Most of all, I am reliant entirely on myself for comfort, love, support and so on.

Of course, we have so much more support than we know. By taking the first step ourselves, we are sure to cultivate many meaningful relationships along the way, whether romantic or otherwise.


Michael Thielmann

I am a counselor, spiritual mentor, and writer living on Vancouver Island. My passion is to help people get in touch with their own love, creativity, and empower them to live in alignment with their highest wisdom.

Read next: Beginners Guide to Being Friends with an Ex

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