Problems in a relationship can manifest in many different ways, but codependency can be particularly tricky to deal with. If you suspect your partner is co-dependent, there might not be an easy solution as a problem like this can have deep roots. That said, we have outlined how to deal with a codependent partner.

How to Tell if Your Partner is Codependent

Codependence, or clinginess, is when your partner resists separation by holding on tightly to you. It might feel good at first to be wanted and needed, but over time you might want space to breathe. The reason why your partner is clingy can be varied but is usually rooted in childhood trauma or a partner’s infidelity. Your partner may be codependent if they:

  • Need constant reassurance from you
  • Expect you to be constantly in communication with them
  • Overbearing, such as checking your social media feeds constantly
  • Reluctance to give space
  • Insecure about their status in your life


Recognize Your Role In It

Even if you have identified that your partner is codependent, there’s a good chance you have had a role in encouraging this behavior. By enabling their codependency, even if you didn’t realize you were doing it, you are rewarding them every time to do it. Perhaps it made you feel special or safe to be the center of their world at the beginning of the relationship. But now you feel suffocated by their clinginess. Some ways you might be encouraging this behavior are:

  • Answering their texts or calls right away to avoid them getting upset when you don’t respond for some time
  • Over explaining what you plan to do in an attempt to stop them from anxiously jumping to conclusions
  • Monitoring your reactions and behaviors to not upset them
  • Not making or enforcing boundaries
  • Withdrawing from friends or family so your partner doesn’t get anxious about what you’re doing

By modifying your behavior to accommodate their clinginess, you are rewarding the behavior. If they throw a tantrum any time you want to do something without them, you respond by never doing something without them. This means you do fewer things because you either have to wait until they want to go, or not go at all.


Talk To Your Partner 

After you admit to yourself your role in enabling your partner’s clinginess, you need to talk to them about it. Choose a safe, nonthreatening time to bring it up – such as when you are casually hanging out at home. Be aware that they may not realize they are being codependent. If they get defensive or want to avoid the subject, this is a sign you are indeed in a codependent relationship. Regardless of how uncomfortable it makes them, this conversation needs to happen. 


Be Honest About if This Relationship is Working

Ultimately, you will need to decide if this relationship is working. Your partner’s clingy behavior can be unhealthy for you and your mental health. If your partner refuses to have an open discussion about this, you might have to cut your losses and move on. It will hurt, but you can’t build a life with someone dependent on you being a certain way to make them feel safe. You both deserve to be happy, not just coping with your partner’s insecurities.


Consider Couples Counseling

If you want to continue this relationship, consider looking into couples counseling. It can be helpful to have a neutral party look at your relationship objectively. A counselor can help you identify what the source of your partner’s clinginess is, and what your role in enabling it is. Being aware of the reason for the behavior can do wonders in helping you both deal with it. 


All couples experience difficulties they need to overcome, but dealing with a codependent partner is one of the more tricky ones. If your partner actively resists being separated from you or does not want to give you space, you are dealing with someone who is codependent. It can be difficult to break this habit, and you may need to admit that you have a part in enabling them. Try talking to them about their behavior to see if you can work out how to stop the cycle. If you need help, look into couples counseling to help open your eyes to the reasons behind clingy behaviors.


Family Strategies Counseling and Mediation is a trauma-informed therapy office located in Homewood, IL. We specialize in couples counseling, family therapy, child therapy, and trauma-based therapy center. Call (708) 798-5433 or email for appointment details and information