Dating a codependent

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They perceive conflict — even healthy conflict or minor arguments — as a threat to that well-being.

"They fear that they can't make it on their own, without their partner," says Dr. Codependent people also are rarely attracted to each other. "Then they redouble their efforts to avoid speaking up cause they do not want to risk having a fight, and the feelings they experience inside of themselves." How do I know they're not just passive? "They have to be supportive for the sake of the relationship that's going to grow and flourish." If you get mad when your codependent partner does speak up, it will only make things worse.

Peter Pearson, founder of The Couples Institute, to see what codependency even is, and how to deal with it. Typically, a codependent partner avoids conflict entirely.

If they find themselves in an argument, they'll surrender.

"Codependent relationships signify a degree of unhealthy clinginess, where one person doesn't have self-sufficiency or autonomy," says Scott Wetzler, Ph D, psychology division chief at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

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"These kids are often taught to subvert their own needs to please a difficult parent, and it sets them up for a long-standing pattern of trying to get love and care from a difficult person," says Shawn Burn, Ph D, a psychology professor at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.They shun attention and try to do the right thing and be good sons, husbands, and fathers, focusing instead on making a living and meeting the needs of their wives and children.These codependent men sacrifice themselves and believe that their needs, including the need for time away from their wives, are selfish.Experts say it's a pattern of behavior in which you find yourself dependent on approval from someone else for your self-worth and identity.One key sign is when your sense of purpose in life wraps around making extreme sacrifices to satisfy your partner's needs.

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