Have you heard of the term codependent marriage or relationship? It’s a type of unhealthy relationship identified by Psychology professionals where one partner is extremely attached to a dysfunctional individual.
Traditional definitions claim that a codependent marriage or relationship is when undesirable behaviors are exhibited by both partners. However, it is not a mutually beneficial relationship, one partner is dysfunctional, and other is a martyr doing anything to please their partner including indulging and supporting their harmful habits.
Other research claims it is a type of “relationship addiction” when it was identified ten years ago. A Codependent marriage or relationship exhibit all the destructive symptoms of a classic addition.
The research was conducted as part of studying the dynamics of families with an alcoholic parent. Hold that thought. A person in a codependent relationship is not the alcoholic, but the person who insists on staying with that person regardless of the consequences of their partner’s behavior.
Signs of a codependent marriage
Codependent marriage is about one party exhibiting selfish and destructive behaviors. There is also a subservient spouse doing their best to cover for their partner. Here is a list of guidelines to determine if you are the martyr in a codependent relationship.
1. You feel satisfied when you go through extremes to your partner
Moral and legal issues aside, you will do anything for your partner to make them feel happy, safe, and protected. You even cover your partner’s problems with drugs, alcohol, or the law.
2. You can’t say No to your partner
Your entire being revolves around being there for your partner. You even keep quiet to avoid arguments, if it does get to that, you meekly agree to everything they said.
3. You constantly worry about others’ opinions of you, your partner
It is important for you to show everything is perfect in public. This includes the real world and social media.
A person who exhibits any of these traits is in a classic codependent marriage. There are plenty of codependent marriage problems that can arise out of one or more of the behaviors mentioned above. One problem is, it’s prone to all sorts of abuse. It can also mean you can’t protect your own children if the abuse heads their way. It’s important that you recognize unhealthy codependent marriage signs before it’s too late.
How to fix a codependent marriage
There are other sources that claim that the root source of a codependent marriage is a person’s inability to have self-worth without the validation of their partner. It certainly fits with all the symptoms and patterns related to the signs of having a codependent relationship.
If you are interested in knowing how can a codependent marriage be saved, the answer is simple. The problem is, does the couple want to save it?
It is not a give-and-take symbiotic relationship, but the kind where one partner holds all the cards. In a way, all codependents are narcissist marriages.
Most successful marriages happen when couples see each other as equals partners. A codependent marriage is at the extreme end of the spectrum. It is almost a slave-master relationship. The really hard part is they are satisfied with the arrangement. That is why codependent marriage is considered an addiction.
Addicts, for the most part, are aware that what they are doing is wrong. Subservient partners in a codependent marriage may not agree. To them, they are just doing their extra mile to keep their marriage together.
It’s hard to argue with that reasoning. After all, it is the responsibility of a spouse to do whatever they can to keep their partner happy and improve the relationship. The disparity and caused by the narcissist is not the fault of the person just doing what they are supposed to do. It crosses the line at times, but still, they see themselves as a responsible spouse.
In other words, the subservient partner feels they are doing a noble thing by supporting their spouse. Unlike addicts who know they are morally bankrupt, but their willpower is not strong enough to overcome their dependency. A codependent marriage is an exact opposite. They feel they are noble and loving it.
The narcissistic party will not give up their winning lottery ticket. It is a case of power corrupts absolutely even if it’s just around the household.
The only way to fix a codependent marriage is to end it. The couple may resolve their issues, but they can’t do it together. At least, not yet.
How to end a codependent marriage
A lot of counselors are tasked with keeping marriages together. But there are unhealthy relationships that can only be fixed by a temporary separation. A codependent marriage is one of those unhealthy relationships. Each partner has their own issues, and it will only worsen the longer they are together. It also sets a bad environment for the children. Codependency is developed when they see their parents doing the same.
Marriage counselors offer their services to couples who are willing to change and walked into their office voluntarily. Codependent marriage couples are not likely to do that. That is why codependency is a tricky case. The subjects are unwilling to change unlike other couples in marriage counseling. That is why it is necessary to separate them before starting any treatment. The longer they are apart, the more likely their mindset will return to a form of normality.
The subservient partner will have the time to focus on other aspects of their life, and the narcissistic partner will appreciate the subservient one in their absence.
A successful treatment is possible at that point. The narcissistic disorder and relationship addiction can be addressed separately.
A lot of codependent couples are unwilling to change. That is why most cases go unreported. It normally takes a third-party to notice the abuse and reports it to the authorities. Only then can treatment begin for the couple. It may even need a restraining court order to keep them separate from each other and for the safety of the children.
It is one of the unhealthiest forms of relationship. Codependent marriage is dysfunctional like other forms of unhealthy relationships, but unlike others, the victim is a willing party. It makes it far more dangerous than the rest.