How Can You End Co-Dependency In A Relationship Without Ending The Relationship?

by Reid on August 10, 2016

Outdoor profile portrait of a beautiful thoughtful Chinese AsianStruggling with co-dependency but not wanting to end the relationship?

With Reid Mihalko from and Cathy Vartuli from

Cathy: How can you end co-dependency in a relationship without ending the relationship?

Reid: This is Cathy Vartuli from

Cathy: This is Reid Mihalko from

Reid: And our answer is …

Cathy: Some of it takes gentle practice in communication. Identifying what things feel co-dependent and maybe why. Co-dependency is when you’re relying on the other person in a way that isn’t healthy. A way that doesn’t help you grow and feel empowered about your life.

Even if you just sat down in each or the short list of areas and situations where you feel co-dependent, and then pulling out the area, the aspects of those that feel co-dependent. Talking to your partner about it and inviting both of you to remember.

Let’s just pick the top three and work on that now. I’ll encourage you to be … to stand on your own two feet and remind you if I feel like you’re being co-dependent or maybe we can have a safe word when I think that’s coming up, so we don’t even have to be out in front of our friends if we don’t want to.

Reid: My advice, one word. Therapy. Go get a therapist, you guys can interview a therapist that you both go see separately, or go get separate therapists, but find therapists that specialize in co-dependency, and what I would call and what some of the therapeutic industries, I’m not a therapist, nor do I play it on television.

Although I did play an evil male nurse once on Another World and that’s true. Go find a therapist that specialize in re-parenting and or attachment bonding …

Cathy: Disorder?

Reid: Yeah. Go work with them. The tricky tricky part, if you’re already in a co-dependent relationship, is you’re trying to work out your attachment bonding issues and your re-parenting issues with each other and interestingly enough, you should probably go do that work separately, and then cheer each other on with the successes that you’re having and bring those successes home to the relationship that you’re having.

That is my best advice. Anything else, requires you to be like a super sex geek slash armchair amateur therapist. The problem with that is, if one of you is better at it than the other one, there’s going to be an uneven power dynamic in the relationship and you’re probably not trained for that.

I would, if it’s really co-dependency and not just a wobbly relationship, I would really just say, upgrade to professional help with people who specialize in this and you guys will probably have faster and better results.

Cathy: I think if you want to also keep the relationship really strong, it can help to spend some time thinking about what it is about the relationship that you really love. Because talking about what’s working can sometimes help strengthen.

For yourself, write down a list of things that you’re really good at. You can each do this separately like Reid said.

Write down the things that you’re proud of yourself for, and you feel good about yourself. Because when we feel like our tanks are topped up, and that we’re doing a good job, we’re less likely to need to lean on someone else.

Reid: Mm-hmm. (Affirmative) Yeah. Your therapist should probably, will probably tell you that. What comments, what insights are you having from this video? Leave them below.

Cathy: We’d love to know what works for you and good luck. Thank you for sharing so vulnerably.

Reid: For those who wrote in, thank you so much and keep sending us interesting questions and scenarios because this helps us figure out what we want to talk about next.

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: Bye.

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