You’ve probably heard people say that the more committed a relationship is, the more inseparable it should be. This means you and your partner are doing everything together and leave no space for a “me time.”
When I was in high school, I used to think this is the best way to maintain a relationship, and peers around me are doing it the same. But over time, I realize this isn’t what a healthy relationship work.
Being codependent has a higher risk to ruin the relationship you are in.
Actions such as focusing too much on your relationship with no hobby, never let your partner have some space alone, or demanding non-stop communication while it’s clear there’s nothing more to talk about anymore.
If you’ve been one of those partners, maybe it’s time to change it. I admit it’s not easy but trust me that being independent in your relationship can make you even more attractive and become a better partner.
Here are some practical tips that have worked for me in the past to change my codependent issue:
1. Work on your career
This is the first step that I took when I noticed myself being too dependant on my relationship. I was pretty much stuck in a job that I hated back then, so I had to redirect my focus and energy into making big changes in my career.
You might think this isn’t a big deal but ask deeper questions to yourself: Are you satisfied with where you are in your career life? Is there something you can do right now to at least level up your game? Maybe learning a new skill to get a better role?
All of those questions will guide you to find out the following actionable plans you need to take.
2. Schedule me time at least once a week
I always make sure to schedule time-off at least once a week. Meaning I will be going somewhere by myself or doing something on my own.
Interacting with your partner day in day out, especially when you live together, can be mentally exhausting. I know some people don’t want to schedule a me-time for themselves because they are afraid it might hurt their partner’s feelings.
But at the same time, your relationship will only grow when you are at your best mentally and physically. I’ve noticed this most of the time. When I didn’t take my alone time, I tend to be more grumpy and cranky, which eventually leads to unnecessary arguments.
So make sure to block a time just for yourself.
3. Respect your partner’s alone time
My partner likes to take a walk in the evening by himself. While he’d usually invite me to join, some days, I just knew he needed time off to go on his own.
I admit respecting your partner’s alone time is easier to said than done. When both of you are dealing with a problem at work at the same time, understanding the situation can be challenging because you expect your partner to stay close to you.
If this happens, make sure you communicate your needs properly but let them know that they can take their time to recharge as long as they want. By doing this, I noticed that my partner always comes back to me feeling with a stronger love.
4. Revaluate the people around you
People with who we talk regularly can affect our perspective in the relationship. I’ve been there where I was surrounded by people who think being overly protective is a good thing and women shouldn’t work because what’s the point of having a husband?
While those things still work for some people, it can also lead you to be more “fragile”, and you won’t feel as strong individually because you always think your future depends on what happens in your relationship.
So be more selective with who you surround yourself with, and if you think that your environment is full of people who think independence doesn’t matter in a relationship, then it’s time to make a change around it.
5. Find something that you’d like to do outside your relationship
Do you know someone who revolves her life around her relationship, like all the time? Not very attractive, is it?
Believe it or not, it’s considered normal in places like my country (Indonesia), where girls think getting married is their only life goal.
I’m not saying this is a bad thing, but building and having your own life is important too. Being raised by a single mom, she always encouraged me to work on my dreams that have nothing to do with my relationship.
If you’ve been focusing too much on the relationship itself, find something new. Something that you’ve always wanted to do. There must be one or two hobbies you’ve neglected if you are honest with yourself.
We live in a society where our perspective in a healthy, stable, and loving relationship got messed up with some toxic & unrealistic expectations. That’s why you see many couples call it quits too early.
If you are independent while your partner isn’t, it will be hard to keep it going. People said that to have a successful relationship, there will be a lot of work to be put into it, such as maintaining open communication habits but working on ourselves even if we are already in a committed relationship is just as much important.
Having independence in your relationship will make you a better partner in general and help you feel more secure within yourself. You know you are going to do well in life both with or without your partner.
“Even if the most important person in your world rejects you, you are still real, and you are still okay.” ― Melody Beattie