Codependency is an epidemic. Too many men allow themselves to become consumed by their relationships. Have you lost yourself in your partner?
You’re not alone. Becoming codependent isn’t a rarity. It happens to the vast majority of us. Over 90% of Americans admit to engaging in some codependent behavior. The messaging we get about relationships — from an early age — can be highly toxic.
Believe it blindly, and you will quickly end up in a relationship that drains all of your energy. No man wants to lose all he has worked for in his lifetime.
As a relationship coach for men, I’ve worked with countless men to help elevate them and prevent this all-too-common problem.
If you desire high-quality relationships like many men, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, I want to share my expert insights on the patterns that codependent men fall into, the dangers of this type of beta behavior, and how to overcome it strategically.
What is Codependency?
All romantic relationships come at a price. Hooking up costs you time, energy, and — more often than not — money. All men know that. But you don’t want to lose the most valuable thing of all: your independence.
Sacrificing your freedom for a woman is a mistake. If you’ve spent years chasing your perfect partner, you might end up whipped when you finally catch her. Codependent relationships are more common than you think, and getting into one is dangerous.
The American Psychological Association defines codependency in two ways. The first is “the state of being mutually reliant, for example, a relationship between two individuals who are emotionally dependent on one another.”
Of course, that is the baseline definition of codependency. It’s the trap I see most men fall into when they are in new relationships.
However, the second definition is far darker and more ominous. That is “a dysfunctional relationship pattern in which an individual is psychologically dependent on (or controlled by) a person who has a pathological addiction (e.g., alcohol, gambling).”
I’ve worked with men in both of these scenarios.
Sliding into a codependent relationship can happen overnight. One minute, she’s staying at yours now and then. Next, you’re spending every waking hour with her and planning your life around her moves.
Chances are, you won’t even notice this happening. The shift is so slow that you might not see it. It starts with small things, like leaving her toothbrush at yours or staying with you for the weekend. You’re cool with that.
Then, you blink, and she’s suddenly involved in every part of your life. You can’t do anything without her by your side. You are one being.
This waking nightmare is inherently unhealthy. When couples are codependent, they lose themselves in the relationship. Instead of having separate lives, they become one entity.
Why Do Some Men Become Codependent in Romantic Relationships?
Not all men become codependent in relationships. Confident, high-achieving, alpha men can maintain a relationship without getting trapped in a codependent prison.
That doesn’t mean that you should feel shame if you are codependent.
There are deep-seated reasons that guys tend to rely heavily on their partners. This problem stems from their childhood.
If you didn’t get the love and attention you needed in these early years, you will have the urge to seek it out in adulthood. That can be dangerous.
Spoiler: You cannot replace parental love with that of a partner. It just won’t work.
Subconsciously attempting to replace what you lacked in childhood is a futile act. While many men do it without realizing it, this pursuit can leave you feeling empty.
If your relationship works out, you will end up being completely codependent. You won’t be able to function without your partner. On the other hand, if it doesn’t, you will feel lonely.
Recognizing your codependency can be challenging.
Men rarely see their behavior as problematic. Since these habits are rooted in your childhood, you must unlearn them. That process will take time — and you may need expert support, too — but it’s worth it.
The first step in switching up the narrative is reclaiming your masculine power and elevating yourself. In my exclusive coaching program, I work directly with high-achieving men to support their growth. An epic life doesn’t happen by accident — you have to be willing to work to create it. Backed by a strong community of men and experts, you will have the confidence to establish quality relationships without fear of becoming codependent.
Codependency Will Destroy Your Self-Esteem and Your Lifestyle
Before I share the codependency red flags, we should discuss the problematic nature of this relationship approach.
Movies may have you believe that a ‘happy relationship’ involves being obsessed with your partner. You may think that there’s nothing remotely wrong with planning your life around them and making them central to decisions.
Think again. Relationships are not cages. We all need breathing room. When you find yourself in a codependent relationship, you will no longer be a free person.
Codependent relationships will consume every part of you. You’ve worked hard to be the alpha male that you are today. You’ve looked after your body, educated your mind, and made the right connections throughout your life.
None of that matters if you are codependent. Your self-esteem is at stake.
How to Tell If You Are Being Dangerously Codependent with your Partner
There’s nothing less attractive than being needy in a relationship, and that’s exactly what codependency does to you.
Did you sleep-walk into a codependent relationship? The first step is identifying the problem.
For most men, that can be a challenging hurdle. You may have slipped into habits that seem normal but are harming both you and your relationship.
First, let’s delve into some of the signs that you have morphed into a codependent, needy man.
1. You control her behavior and feel stressed when she doesn’t do as you say
“A codependent person is one who has let another person’s behavior affect him or her and who is obsessed with controlling that person’s behavior.” ― Melody Beattie
Are you obsessed with her? Do you always need to know what she’s doing? Do you tell her what to do and when to do it? Do you sulk like a child when you don’t get your way?
If you are displaying the above behavior, you’re playing with fire. Trying to control her will get you nowhere fast.
You might think that ‘real men’ have mastery over their partners. Nothing could be further from the truth. It takes a man who is confident to relinquish power.
2. You know her schedule and have a shared calendar to check up on her
Knowing where your partner is 24/7 is controlling. However, this behavior is typical in codependent relationships. You might ask your partner where they are, who they are with, or what they are doing all of the time. Create this nasty habit, and it can be hard to break.
Worse still, some couples have shared calendars. Seeing everything that your partner is doing is not healthy. It’s dangerous.
She needs to have her own life, and so do you. The minute you shed that level of privacy, you lose what makes you an individual.
3. You let her walk all over you and apologize to her to keep the peace
Scared of losing your relationship? Even the most successful of men get too attached to their partners. When you fear her leaving, you give her all of the power.
For example, you might walk on eggshells around her and try not to upset her. You might let her tell you what to do — a sign that she is also codependent — and always let her win arguments.
If she hurts you, you end up apologizing to her. That’s because you want to keep the peace and avoid upsetting her.
The verdict is evident to everyone: You are so invested in the relationship that you will let her get away with anything. You are no longer a real man.
4. She is involved in every part of your life — even your alone time
We all need time alone. No man is an island, but if you don’t have some space, you will start to become codependent.
When you are heavily invested in your relationship, your solo time disappears. It’s quickly replaced by the time you spend with her.
It doesn’t end there. She will infiltrate every area of your life.
She will be there, whether hanging out with your friends or hitting the gym. Before you know it, she will always be by your side, doing the same things you’re doing. You will no longer have any space at all.
Dedicating all of your free time to her will leave you feeling lost. When men make this mistake, they forget to work on themselves. She cannot be your everything.
5. You put her on a pedestal and believe she can do no wrong
In the search for the perfect woman, your vision might get blurry.
When you’ve been looking for your ideal partner for some time, you start to lower your standards.
Many men begin to believe that whoever they are dating is the optimal woman. They begin to think that she can do no wrong — no matter what contradictory evidence they see in her actions.
Putting her on a pedestal is a sign of codependency. When you need her, you may be tempted to elevate her to this position in your mind. I’ve seen it happen time and time again.
Once that switch is flicked, there’s no way you will ever see her negative traits.
Expert-Backed Strategies to Overcome Codependency
Breaking codependent habits isn’t easy, especially if your behavior started as a young man.
Codependency can also be called ‘relationship addiction.’ You get all of your self-worth and confidence from the relationship itself. That has to change.
Here are some expert strategies to overcome your codependent approach:
1. Focus on yourself and becoming the best version of you
Codependent relationships rob you of individuality. You stop paying attention to yourself: your needs, your goals, and where you see your life going. It hardly takes a genius to deduce that this is a mistake. It’s a colossal one.
To overcome the problem, switch your focus up and start giving yourself the time and energy you deserve.
What that means is a highly personal decision. Working with a coach, seeing a therapist, or learning something new may help.
Consider the areas of your life in which you would like to excel. How can you reach your long-term targets? What will make you happier?
When you answer these questions, you can begin working towards a better version of yourself.
2. Find interests and hobbies that have nothing to do with your partner
If you spend all of your free time with your partner, you give up having a private life. Change that immediately.
Find hobbies and interests that don’t involve her. That may mean joining a sports team or starting an evening class. The choice is yours.
Having interests outside of your relationship is healthy. That is something that many couples ignore when they are besotted with each other.
The more you spend time apart, the more you will appreciate the quality time you have with each other.
3. Work with an expert to reclaim your confidence and boost your self-esteem
Support goes a long way.
Codependency is often linked to low energy, motivation, and confidence.
One of the ways that you can overcome this issue is to reclaim your self-esteem. Working alongside an expert is the most effective way to get started.
Dedicating yourself to this mission means reinvesting in your future self.
Codependent relationships are common — but that doesn’t mean you should accept them.
If you have recognized the codependent traits in your behavior, there’s no more time for excuses. Addressing the problem is the only way that you will move forward. While you may want to ignore the problem completely, that approach will get you nowhere fast. It’s all well and good burying your head in the sand, but you can’t do that for the rest of your life.
If you’re ready to make a positive change, I can help you. Over the years, I’ve worked with a selection of high-achieving men in my coaching program to get the best from their lives, careers, and relationships.
Creating connections doesn’t have to be complicated. Backed with expert advice and support, you can transform your relationships and get more from them. No matter where you are today, making a step toward an epic future is the way to go.