My name is lovelydated and I’m a co-dependent. Recovering co-dependent, really. A co-dependent is roughly defined as someone who values a relationship more than themselves. Despite spending a greater part of my life suffering from sub-clinical levels of low confidence, I was nonetheless, surprised to learn that my co-dependent tendencies were rooted in low self esteem, probably originating from childhood. Given these descriptors, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that we are legion, albeit with unique variations.
As background, I’ve experienced serial romantic relationships with men who on the surface couldn’t have been more different; camera man, investment banker, multi-specialty surgeon, rich man, poor man, beggar-man, thief, sensitive, arrogant, family oriented, narcissistic…the list goes on. The relationships followed a predictable pattern–me doing everything to please a modern day Oliver Twist (i.e. the dependent partner) who kept asking for more, in re-entry rhythm fashion–with similiar dire results. After a while, I could no longer deny that the common denominator in all the relationships was me. When I complained to a friend that I was a magnet for dependent-type men, he said, “Um, no hon–YOU are the one choosing the men.”
What I’m learning as I continue dating myself, is that to love others you have to first love yourself. And to love yourself you have to be willing to walk away from the ones you love. It’s about setting boundaries.
The struggle continues…