Codependent or just clingy?

Dear V,

My girlfriend and I have been together for eight months. We do absolutely everything together. On the few nights that we can’t sleep in the same bed, we fall asleep together on FaceTime. My friends believe my relationship is not healthy and codependent, but I think they are jealous. How can I tell if this is true?


Clingy AF

Being that you have been together for only eight months, it reveals that you and your girlfriend cultivated your relationship in the midst of the pandemic. Not many people have realized how the COVID-19 era has rewritten relationships. Our circles have become smaller, there aren’t many places to go, and at-home dates seem the most ideal. Under normal circumstances, you probably wouldn’t have interacted with your partner as frequently as you do without this virus plaguing our society.

While COVID-19 has not infected your romantic relationship, it sure does make things a lot more complicated. These initial impacts of the pandemic have worn off, so your relationship is fully adjusted to this new normal. Additionally, some people may cling on to their partners for fear of being lonely during the pandemic. However, there is a clear difference between being in a codependent relationship and being simply devoted.

A codependent person: 1) has little or no interests outside of their relationship; 2) remains in a relationship even if their partner does hurtful things; 3) makes drastic sacrifices to please their partner; and/or 4) is extremely preoccupied with and worried about making their partner feel happy. Codependency is a bidirectional cycle of dysfunctional need where one partner has an unhealthy need to be needed and the other exploits this need by excessively relying on their partner.

Codependency is not to be confused with healthy interdependency, in which two partners mutually bond with and rely on each other in a safe and appropriate way. Enjoying activities or falling asleep together are two common examples of healthy bonding. This becomes toxic when a codependent person’s self-worth and self-esteem are explicitly based on the degree to which they are needed by their partner. If this is a concern, make sure to communicate with your partner directly. With the right help and enough discipline, codependency can be unlearned.