One of the reasons why I spend a lot of time talking about codependent relationships is because I used to be a hardcore codependent.
Yep! Good ol’ Rick here was a needy, supplicating, weak man. I put women I wanted on the pedestal constantly and was afraid of rocking the boat. Not good!
As a result, all of my relationships eventually became toxic and abusive because I couldn’t be the man and lead the relationship as a man should.
The other day I received a question from a reader asking me if two codependents can have a successful relationship.
After all, if you attract what you project, couldn’t two codependents make the relationship work? It’s an important question and one that I’m glad to tackle.
But before we dive into the goods, I have a complete course for relationships called Better BPD Relationships. It’s my flagship program for improving toxic, dramatic relationships.
Let’s get started…
Codependency And Successful Relationships
Anyway, here’s the exact question I received from a member of my Relationship Academy so you can understand how this article came to be.
A perk of being a member allows you to send me questions any time you want and I’ll answer them privately. I only decided to make this one a public article because it’s a very broad, basic question that can help anyone reading this.
Here’s the question:
“Greetings Rick! I am just wondering: do you think that two Codependents can be in a successful relationship together? Thanks for all the great content you provide us. Keep it up!”
Why thank you kind sir! HIGH FIVE!
I do appreciate that you are getting value out of your membership. After all, my goal with the membership is to provide consistent, new training that helps you with your relationships.
If you’ve been a reader here for some time, you know that I do things differently around here. I’m really a mindset coach at the end of the day because your mentality determines your reality.
Without the correct mindsets, you fall into a codependent mentality. It’s no surprise that codependents often date people with BPD.
This is why I’ve been saying for years that being codependent is actually worse than having BPD.
How is that you say? Because the codependent is a glutton for punishment. They take all the abuse on the chin and look the other way. This isn’t good! So, let’s dive in because you need to change that.
I Used To Be A Hardcore Codependent
Did you know that about me?
You wouldn’t guess it from reading my blog, but it’s true! I used to be a major Codependent.
Or a deep Codependent is the phrase I like to use.
I don’t have Codependency issues anymore, but I still definitely feel my old self pop up from time to time to haunt me.
The ghosts of the past as I like to call them.
There is a big misconception in society where people have this belief that you can “cure” your issues – to completely eradicate them.
If this were true, there would be no need for drugs (and as you probably know, drugs only suppress issues – not eliminate them for good).
The simple fact is this: you cannot completely cure mentality issues.
It’s just not possible. It’s how our brains are wired. We are creatures of habit and when you’ve been doing something for years and years, you can’t just forget about it.
So what I do is I teach people about REprogramming their brain.
Nowhere in anything I teach do I tell people that you just delete your old behaviors and mentality.
All I ask is that you become aware of them. Conscious is another word that I like to use.
Much of our behavior has been programmed into our subconscious mind.
This is what’s responsible for your day to day living. It’s responsible for your current life situation, believe it or not.
The amount of money you make, the lifestyle you have, the good luck and the bad luck – your subconscious programming is responsible for nearly all of it.
When you learn how to become conscious of all the bad programming you have…
… you can go to work right away at REprogramming your mind.
And your mind feeds directly into your subconscious.
Let me tell you a story from years ago when I was dating a BPD girl…
Like I said, I was a deep Codependent. Full spectrum, baby. I didn’t know anything about the BPD relationship stages. Me and my ex took a vacation to a really nice island beach.
I was feeling super awesome in my new blue palm tree pattern board shorts. I didn’t think anything could go wrong on this trip.
Board shorts are the best because you can wear them pretty much anywhere. I still wear these same shorts from time to time. But back to the story…
This side of the island where we were staying had literally no surf at all. It was just crystal clear blue water. Very beautiful indeed.
You would think that with such a beautiful environment such as this, how could there possibly be Codependent issues?
Well, there were. And I really blame myself and take responsibility of course.
The girl I was dating (who is a pretty looking lady if I don’t say so myself) wanted to run around in the water and enjoy herself.
I said sure, be my guest. I’m going to hang out here on the towel and enjoy the sun.
Well, not even 5 minutes go by and there are already a group of guys making their way over to my girl in the water (guys think they’re so sly).
I decided I would stay where I was and just watch from the beach. And, there’s nothing wrong with that decision. I would still do the same thing.
The issue I had was my mentality. My codependent mind, that is.
My girl and the boys talked for a bit in the water. Nothing harmful, just some guys on vacation wanting to have fun and meet people.
There’s nothing wrong with that at all. They had every right to swim towards my girl and talk to her.
But my Codependent mind at the time didn’t like that.
The biggest problem that a Codependent has is that they do not like losing control of a situation.
This is quite funny because Codependents are also easily controlled.
It’s this desire to control every situation that makes them so easy to manipulate and push around.
It’s why Codependents are very easily pushed over the edge and easy to anger.
So anyway let’s get back to the beach story.
After my girl came out of the water in her cute black two piece (don’t tell my current girlfriend that I said that), she headed up the beach to her towel next to me.
She said hi. I said hi back. She lied down.
And she knew something was the matter, LOL (I love women because of how good they are at reading us silly men. You women are the best).
Because a Codependent is so easily thrown off and shaken from his core, other people can read us like a book.
They can see that something is disturbing us, even if we aren’t willing to admit it or talk about it.
Codependents are NOT good at hiding their feelings, no matter how much they try to hide them.
My ex being the type of girl that she was (which was an overly dramatic Borderline), she says to me:
“Don’t lie Rick I know when somethings up. You didn’t like me talking to those guys in the water, did you?”
Being a Codependent, I did NOT want to get into an argument right here on the beach about this.
It’s a beautiful day and I had these expectations that we were going to enjoy ourselves on our vacation and not let any issues present themselves.
I did what all Codependents do: I tried to diffuse the situation (and hide my feelings). I said:
“Nothing’s wrong. That doesn’t bother me. You can talk to whoever you want. Let’s just lay down and enjoy ourselves.”
But it was too late. My cards were already shown before I even opened my mouth. She could read my jealousy and insecurity all over my face when she was walking up.
These words that I actually spoke didn’t really matter.
If I was the person I am now and said these exact same words, her reaction would have been completely different.
In fact, she wouldn’t have even asked me that question in the first place since she would see that her talking to those guys truly doesn’t bother me.
Being Codependent sucks because you care way too much about things out of your control.
Using your conscious mind, you can see how it makes no sense for me to get all worked up about my girl talking to some random guys in the water.
Whatever fears you have that may transpire from that conversation doesn’t matter.
If she decides to cheat on you and run off with one of these boys, she made that decision a looooong time ago. Trust me, partner.
What I teach people is to trust the system.
Trust that life works in mysterious ways and that the things that happen outside of your body are not yours to control.
When you learn to accept this truth, life actually becomes a lot less stressful.
The Codependent lives a very stressful life because he or she is constantly trying to control situations in the relationship.
They’re worried about the people close to them, as well as what the random person in a grocery store might think of him or her.
It’s a very irrational way of living.
We live in a very crazy world. And it is a beautiful thing.
The sooner you can let go of control and allow the world to work in mysterious ways, the sooner you can really love and appreciate living.
So can two codependents date successfully?
Of course! This is because once you’re aware of your issues, you won’t actually behave like a codependent.
Often you hear people saying they feel powerless and out of control in their relationships.
Well, if you want that power back, it all starts with you learning to let go of this control.
Control is NOT power. Control is weakness. Control is fear.
Isn’t it time you learned how to harness this real power and control over your own life? Because self-control is really all that matters.
Me and my girl would have never had a failed vacation if I had that self-control and awareness, knowing that there’s nothing wrong with her talking to people.
Interested in a relationship course? Check out my Better BPD Relationships course right here.
That’s what I’ve got for you about codependent relationships. I take this stuff very seriously and I hope you do as well because we’re talking about the difference between a happy, fulfilling life… and a poor, regretful life.
how do you let go?? I want soooo much to let go. How do I do this?
It’s not easy. We live in a society that promotes codependency. This idea that we need to gain the approval of others. IT’s so funny because everybody talks like they’re independent and ‘focused on self-love’, but they’re blasting this on social media for all of their friends to read and “approve” of lol. Such a double standard. So the key is to work on your codependency and truly become independent unlike all the other fakers out there.
I agree, about severing ties with external validation.
You let go of control by fixing your self esteem. You have to shift from external sources of self esteem to internal sources.
Live in alignment with your personal values. It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks of you, they haven’t walked in your shoes. It matters what you think. (As you say, be independent.)
Accept yourself for who you are warts and all. When you can accept yourself without the need to change yourself, the things that you want to change will naturally change overtime through self awareness.
I’m going to buy your course here. I think 2 codependents have an increased chance of having a great relationship if and when their attachment styles sync. This happened to me before and it was smooth sailing. I didn’t mind “needy” phone calls or anything because he was fun to talk to and I liked the attention and feeling reassured. That was a nice break lol Also, Rick you sound like the coolest guy ever lol
That’s really the truth, you attract what you project. The problem is that Codependency can also attract the wrong things. So I really believe that it’s just better to heal from codependency than hope you’ll meet your perfect codependent match. The chances are just really slim!
Holy Shit, I am a codepent deluxe! I had a friend years back who brought this to my attention and I researched it a bit but did nothing about it. Here I am at 48 years old and riddled with anxiety batteliing an auto immune disorder which is triggered by emotional stress. Rick I will take your course, right now I’m currently not working so I can not afford it yet, however I am going to address my co dependency which can only improve my physical health and get me back in to work. Thanks Rick!
So… what eventually happened after the beach incident?
We dated for a bit, but my point is that my mentality was just flawed back then. I had the common, typical mentality that most people have these days and it just doesn’t work for relationships (hence why most relationships are so damn toxic these days).
Rick, what is the mentality most people in toxic relationships?
Most people have this fixed mentality where they create this fantasy of a relationship and they think they can make their partner fit into that. This never happens and it causes the relationship to eventually fail.
Hi Rick! You are truly a cool guy and as I mentioned before, I really enjoy reading every blog and article of yourself. I was raised in a home/family with very strict and narcissistic standards. Despite the fact that I do not give any importance to other people’s opinion in terms of how I should live my life, and I have my own agenda about how I should live y life, however, I still think that I have codependency traits and I am still struggling with letting go of certain things and situations. From your posts I understand that you’re doing coaching. I would like to learn more about your services. What would be the best way of contacting you? Thank you again!!!
Hey thanks for writing in! I am really focused on building my online coaching community. It’s $20 a month to get coaching from me over there. You also get access to my member’s only courses. The real value is in the forum coaching, but the courses are also great value as well. And I’ll be adding a lot more this year!
I am frustrated that everyone dodges questions relating to “co-dependent/co-dependent” partnerships…You gave a ton of information on how co-dependents work in relationships; specifically the classic “narcissist/co-dependent” model or “my ex was crazy but only I’m the co-dependent victim”. But the original question was never answered. The question was concerning if two codependent people in a relationship can work together and advice to help improve that dynamic of partnership. Your example with a BPD girlfriend and marketing your book can be helpful; but not for answering what to do when you are BOTH the co-dependent. I think sometimes two co-dependents end up being in Relationships together just like an “average” healthy person and a co-dependent can be together, etc. matches are endless possibilities. There is not enough information out there on the internet and in books to give advice on these alternative match ups. It is frustrating. Sometimes quite simply one is NOT always mentally ill or addiction prone. Sometimes two people are both co-dependent and it causes issues that need unique problems solved. To claim one is the victim and the other is a “bunny boiler” is a classic co-dependent move to begin with! OK. Sometimes that is the case. Sometimes people are victims against their control. I am not doubting that. But let’s have a broader look at options with the billions of people in the world. Sometimes there is no victim. And maybe even both can be victimized by eachother.
If two people are co-dependent then they will want to take care of eachother which can be beautiful when flowing right in sync, but the down side is it leads to arguments because they both have a hard time letting their guard down in the learned role as a caretaker and allowing their loved one to reciprocate care. They each will want to take responsibility and control of the environment, etc. bouncing co-dependent traits off each-other and learning to accept help and work together as a team will be hard for them, as they are both used to habitual martyrdom and putting themselves last. I have been in both a traditional “narcissist/codependent” model a “normal/codependent” model and a “codependent/codependent” model of matches. It may be “proven” or more common to have the traditional “dance” of narcissist/codependent (as some call the co-dependent relationship) because the two are toxically attracted to eachother more often. But I feel co-dependents are probably equally attracted to other co-dependents; especially if they are like me who have been on the path of healing and treating their co-dependency issues for years, the thought of being with someone similar to myself at this stage is very attractive because I have learned self worth and to be worthy of being little taken care of and I have empathy towards what another co-dependent has gone through plus I understand well the positive traits that disposition a person into co-dependency to begin with. Many people throw around the term “co-dependent”as a insult when they are mad at someone but forget about how sweet and loving those very traits were when they were in need. There is a certain balance and healthy outlet for co-dependency used properly that is forgotten about. The personality traits of those who develop this condition are not all “faults”. Maybe it is the recovering co-dependent who had empathy and appreciation towards her fellow co-dependents? To say all co-dependent relations are the “narcissist/co-dependent” model and/or that two co-dependents just never hook up is absurd. That is like getting paranoid and blaming one or the other partner as being the narcissist when they both are co-dependent and probably neither are narcissists or maybe both are. According to most co-dependent self help books the possibility of a double union and mutual attraction is rarely mentioned between two co-dependents . “Well I’m the co-dependent so you MUST be the narcissist in this dance” and vice versa blaming eachother is just as illogical as a person throwing ” well you’re co-dependent!” At someone when don’t want to feel guilty or take responsibility over the fact you had been kind to them even in nromal non co-dependent levels of care, and maybe still been a little taken advantage of. The term “co-dependent” is used way too liberally and out of context often as a scape goat. That is why I never tell someone I think they are co-dependent or give advice on coping with the condition unless they open that door by asking my opinion. I often try to help without giving labels because being called “names” can be offensive even when you mean no harm. Just like if I susupect anyone I love has any other mental behavioral health issue. I don’t flat out accuse them of it; usually. It can be very to be accused as such hurtful; intended to help by saying it or not. There are so many unanswered questions when two co-dependent collide in interaction let alone in a romantic relationship and there should be more resources and guidance to aid alternative matches. Especially since so many of is work upon a spectrum. I’m currently in a co-dependent/co-dependent relationship (even though we are on two different spectrums acknowledging the co-dependency path of healing). Just saying as a reader who and who still struggles with it and who has been on the path of healing since 2009; I am frustrated that everyone dodges questions relating to “co-dependent/co-dependent” partnerships…
I don’t think I dodged the question at all. I think I addressed it well because BPD is a form of codependency. That’s why Borderlines always end up dating codependents. You attract what you project. Therefore, you ALWAYS end up dating someone who is similar to you on a subconscious level. I like your comment and everything you’ve written. Codependents fail in relationships because they fail to put themselves first. It’s really as simple as that. Obviously I can talk about this for hours, but if you’re struggling as a codependent since forever, then you need to just focus on healing your own codependency and stop worrying about your partner. It shouldn’t take you 7 years to heal. It should only take a few months MAX with the right system.
ANNETTE SAYS: reply to Annette, thank you , that made a lot of sense. a lot, My relationship is very much walking the balance of two co-dependants and my,. it is different. I would like to understand how to understand each other better.
Im certain that in my failing marriage, me and my wife were both codependents at the start. Now after 6 years I’ve pushed her into a narcissistic role and it’s getting out of hand. Is that possible??
It’s hard to say. Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps she has always been a narc but you just didn’t realize it until recently. Codependents tend to be narcs because they’re always thinking about themselves due to their overwhelming neediness. It’s like an insecure version of a socio path lol
Thanks for this comment. A lot of food for thought and encouraging to hear it is working for you.
Maybe your ex-girlfriend just liked provoking/manipulating you and then blaming you for reacting on her provocation the way she wanted you to. Why would you put her on a pedestal, even when knowing that she’s an emotionally unhealthy individual (has BPD). If she was healthy, I wouldn’t say anything, but you’re putting it like it was only your fault.
Something didn’t work out obviously, and there are reasons for it.
“In fact, she wouldn’t have even asked me that question in the first place since she would see that her talking to those guys truly doesn’t bother me.”
You don’t know that.
I could say – if she didn’t have BPD, she wouldn’t have asked you that question in the first place, even when you’re codependent. That might also be true.
The only constant is – you both needed/need healing. Not just you.
I’m just saying…
You’re right. I am telling a story from when I was Codependent. I’ve said a million times that I’m a recovered Codependent/Borderline. Why else do you think I’m very knowledgeable in this stuff?
also rick sounds like your blog and yourself is really helping folks out and thats great. and good for you. I wonder tho, if we are all a bit obsessed with this diagnosis society. And maybe – just maybe – the beach,.. just a tad jealous on your part, think no further thoughts make no further diagnoses and looky here, you’ve not ATTATCHED yourself with some condition you have to negotiate and cure, you just FELT A FEELING which is attatched to your behaviour which is fleeting and adaptable momentarily. just a thought.
It’s all about the moments. That’s what I always say.
Hi Rick, great article.
I’m in a codependent relationship, but we’re both equally needy and controlling. It’s been two years and although we have bad arguments, because we are equally needy we bounce off each other, and can understand each other. we do everything together, friends, family, we are never apart. I know this isn’t healthy, but I guess it’s how we both are. there is no reason to think the other is cheating, as we are always together.
my question/concern is, will he ever stop feeling codependent (like in the future), then just leave me? then I’m stuck feeling codependent still and I’m alone. or can he not stop feeling codependent unless he actively tries to help himself?
I’m worried that if he stops feeling this way, what will happen to our relationship, long term?
you mentioned two CoDependents can stay together and works well if the issues are acknowledged and work at it – but what if we left the codep behaviour as is? would it last?
appreciate your help,
Well as I’ve said in the past, it’s actually okay for the woman to be codepdenent. Think about this: if I’m dating a beautiful, awesome woman, I would be a fool to NOT want her around me. Of course I’m going to want to see her everyday and do things together, have sex daily, etc. Codependency is NOT an equal disorder. Codependent men = increidbly unattractive to women because of neediness. Codependent women on the otherhand = perfectly acceptable if the man actually likes his woman.
This is why new-age feminism is terrible for women. The message of feminism is that women don’t need a man, women need to be independent, women can be happy alone, women shouldn’t be dependent on her man, etc. It’s absolutely horrible for relationships which is why feminist women are the most unhappiest people you come across. Real men like women who are dependent on him. Real men like to take care of his woman, he appreciates her and she him, they are a good team working together. None of this “I’m an independent woman and I don’t need a man” crap.
Oh my gosh, I came on here to learn more about codependent relationship styles, and you’re slating feminism because it encourages women to be independent?? Surely two independent people who don’t NEED eachother but WANT eachother is the healthiest relationship. I’m a feminist (as should you be- as essentially all that means is that you believe men and women are equal) and I’m in a perfectly happy marriage, and my husband respects that I spend my life with him because I want to.
You nearly had me signing up until I read that. What an absolutely ridiculous comment.
Except men and women are not equal. They’re different for a reason, and it’s a good thing. If men and women were equal, there would be nothing attractive about each other — we’d all be the same.
If you were in a “perfectly happy marriage” like you claim, you wouldn’t be reading articles on the internet about fixing relationships lol
Its always amazing hearing femininists argue their cause with such inexplicable conviction that they are making ANY sense.
But then again, anyone who has experienced a woman in denial knows just how good most women are at deceiving themselves.
Well, the reality that we have learned through this whole Kavanaugh mess is that these man-hating, crazy feminists are actually a small minority of society. Kavanaugh actually has more support from women than from men. It’s crazy. Most women can see through the bullshit and know how crazy it is that the Democrats used false sexual assault allegations to try to destroy a man. It’s a slap in the face for anyone who’s actually been assaulted.
There’s more good people out there than bad. The media will never make that obvious, but it’s true. Social conditioning is in high gear right now. They want you to think that they’re the majority when in fact they’re the minority.
What happens to the BPD (wife) when the codependent changes to become less codependent (basically calls the BS and stands up for himself and grows a pair)? Does the relationship implode because the BPD really only wants a codependent relationship?
No, quite the opposite actually — the relationship improves ten-fold. No woman on this planet wants a codependent man despite what they may say.
My husband is an addict and codependent. I’ve realized I have codependant tendencies as well and I’m often questioning him due to a lack of trust. I want the marriage to work but there are so many issues- anger, resentment codependency and trust being a few. He often sacrifices large amounts of time and money for others who aren’t really asking for his help. Is used to see this as kind and generous behavior but think something might be wrong. Am I overreacting? How do I get him to realize he is being codependent?
Sounds like he is a slave to his mind. He needs to get his emotional and mental state under control in order to handle his anger and resentment. Resentment comes from pain in the past that he unleashes on you. It’s obviously not fair for you. But, he needs to deal with that pain and bring it to the conscious level so he can see it for what it is, and handle it. I don’t think you’re overreacting. You need to be firm with him and tell him that you can’t be in a relationship if he’s going to carry resentments and anger.