22 October 2012

Strong Enough to Be My Man

When Pete and I were first married I followed him everywhere around our tiny apartment.  If he was studying in the living room, I'd lay on the couch.  If he was reading a book on our bed, I'd try and read over his shoulder.  It was that way for years, and I think sometimes he felt a little cramped, like he just wanted some space and I just wanted to be close to him. 

When pornography became the third wheel I went through a period of time where it was difficult to be around him.  There was so much hurt and anger.  There was also so much codependency, and it was exhausting to be managing his life for him.  It took all the fun and romance out of my attachment to him. 

Detachment and boundaries (and offspring I suppose), have brought me an independence I never knew before.  I'm okay with my alone time, in fact I love it.  I need it.  It's how I take care of my side of the street. 

Unfortunately, this has come full circle and turned Pete into a raging codependent. 

Where did she go? Why isn't she constantly at my side? Does she still love me? Does she want to be around me?

He has become needy.  He is a black hole for my attention.  I feel like I give and give, and it's never enough.  It has turned into the same kind of desperate, panicked longing I used to feel. 

I used to walk on eggshells.  Now Pete walks on eggshells.

I used to fish for validation.  Now Pete fishes for validation.

I used to guilt him into spending time with me.  He guilts me about... you get the idea. 

With all do respect to all codependents out there. 

Codependency is unattractive people!

I know that I didn't cause Pete's addiction, but I know that before he or I knew what we were doing, my neediness perpetuated his resentments which in turn led to acting out.

Now that I'm on this side of the fence I can see how frustrating it is to feel like someone's happiness is dependent on me.  It is so much pressure to feel like my every word and every move is being overanalyzed and interpreted. 

What does that mean? Is she mad at me?  Why is she ignoring me?

When in fact it meant nothing.  I'm not mad.  Nor am I ignoring him. 

My heart goes out to Pete.  But I've learned the hard way that although my love, affection, attention, admiration are important aspects of our relationship; his happiness and peace need not be held hostage to them.  And what is more attractive and magentic than a person who is secure and emotionally stable enough to emanate that kind of confidence and contentment?


Ask Pete.  He can't get enough of me.  *wink*


  1. This is very well written and so very true, Jane.

  2. I love this! It's so true! I can remember times of my life when I have had co-dependent behaviors and it's actually rather embarrassing for me to think about. But then I can also think of people who have had co-dependent behaviors with me and it does get really annoying. It feels like you have to steer their ship as well as your own, and it's draining. Eventually you stop wanting to be around people who take all that energy from you. I'd say out of every character flaw one can have in a relationship - Co-dependency is the number 1. There should be a mandatory course every human should take to just REALIZE co-dependent behaviors. Thanks for the post. It definitely makes me think about my life and what I can do to not be co-dependent, but be confident and happy and secure. Thanks! Love you!

  3. "Now that I'm on this side of the fence I can see how frustrating it is to feel like someone's happiness is dependent on me."

    Whoa, this hits home. I hadn't thought about what it would be like to feel such pressure to "make me happy". Good stuff to think about.

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  5. Hmm, I've been thinking about codependency a lot actually. Jack and I are pretty much both raging codependents, but on the other hand we are also very head-strong and independent. (It's kind of wierd.) That might be largely because we were both abandoned and are both recovering from divorces. Thing is, it's not lopsided at all! We are both fulfilling each other alllll the time, and when the other one is insecure, we get it because we know what that feels like and why. Actually, it's been really healing to be in a relationship where we "get" each others' insecurities and spend so much time boosting each others' self-esteem and building each other up, especially since neither of us are used to that kind of treatment! It won't always be this way though. We are learning, healing, gaining confidence together. And the goal is to both be healed and confident and strong in the end! I just have to remember to stay independent! Funny thing is, we don't have to really develop independence. Independence is already hard-wired into both of us because we lived in extremely lonely marriages and had to be independent in order to survive. Ours is a really unique situation. Just food for thought, I guess.

  6. co-dependency is totally unattractive!

  7. Loved this! I have always had low self-esteem, always been able to pick myself apart over something. And codependency just magnified my desperate need to be accepted by someone because I couldn't be that for me... But nowadays I can honestly say that I like me for me. I recognize my faults and weaknesses, but I also recognize my strengths and talents. It's a wonderful feeling to be comfortable in your own skin!