By Alison Minor
We all have a friend who always seems to be in a relationship and who never seems to be single for more than (what feels like) five minutes. I can sincerely say that I have been that person for a majority of my mature life. As a result of this, I became codependent in the process. It came to a point where I was dating people who were not a good fit for me. It became an issue that I was far too afraid to solve.
However, now that I've finally broke the habit of clinging to my partner-of-the-moment, I will never go back.
Whether you find yourself constantly involved in a relationship, but yearning for a sense of independence or you’re generally unhappy in a relationship, but too comfortable to leave, these are my tips to break free of “codependence.”
1. Find things you love to do. As someone who always had a partner, I found that I would lose my personality in them. If they liked hockey, so did I. If they liked spending time outdoors, so did I. Taking on your partner’s interests is something that typically happens in relationships, and there’s nothing wrong with having an affinity for your partner and their interests. But, without having the time to be single and recognize your authentic self, it’s easy to lose your personality in your partner’s. Reflecting on your unique interests is a great way to recalibrate your independence.
2. Once you know what you love to do, do it. And do it alone. There is something incredibly empowering about doing something for yourself, alone, and not posting about on social media. Whether it’s yoga, baking, or painting, whatever you would like to dedicate more time to, do it. Do it alone without a social media audience. Do something for yourself without appeasing or worrying about impressing anyone else. It’s liberating (and sometimes simultaneously frightening), and forces you to embrace your alone time.
3. Set goals. Ambition is sexy. Setting goals forces you to evaluate your priorities and plan for the future. Make these plans without your partner in mind. For example, you may not have that same desire to travel. This does not necessarily mean your partner is not right for you, but it provides a great opportunity to see how you and your partner grow together and offer support.
4. Establish “me” time. “Me” time can mean a lot of things. For me, I sometimes spend time alone or I spend time with others without my partner. However you define “me” time, commit to it. Setting time aside to spend apart from your partner can foster appreciation and alleviate co-dependence -- especially if you are very involved in each other's lives.
5. Do what you believe is best for you. No matter what you do in your relationships with friends, family, or significant others, nothing is more important than surrounding yourself with people who respect care for you. Your happiness is of the utmost importance and if you are questioning any of the relationships in your life, take the time you need to evaluate them without guilt. Your relationship with yourself is always #1, as you can always depend on yourself.
Alison is a creativity and communications fanatic. With a passion for adventure and a distaste for the mundane, she aspires to inject her curiousity and energy into everything she does. Alison’s daily routine is not complete without reading up on the latest fitness trend, searching through Spotify for the newest earworm, and clinging to an espresso for dear life. On any other day, you can usually expect her to be trying new foods in Toronto, looking for great hiking trails, or taking a nap… A girl needs her naps.
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