Love and Codependency
Love and codependency are often confused for one another. Love is one of the most powerful and important human emotions because we are naturally wired for social connection. With tax benefits, government benefits, and medical benefits for married couples, our society encourages long lasting love. Thus, love and codependency begin to look very similar.
However, love does not necessarily have to be lasting. Shakespeare wrote, “Love is not love that alters when it alteration finds.” New research shows we experience love in the moment as a state of communion or as a lasting mental and emotional state in which we care deeply for the wellbeing of another.
Although fixed and unchanging love is possible, it is not the norm. Theorists explain that we are not the same person we were 10 years ago. Life experience alters our thought patters, behavior, and oftentimes our needs. A relationship is challenged when one person’s needs no longer match the other’s, or when two people grow in different directions. This is when love and codependency become confused for one another.
This world can be overwhelming, so oftentimes we turn to fill the void of loneliness and inadequacy. This can become unhealthy when it becomes codependency – an unequal exchange of energy between people, or when one is habitually giving more in a relationship than the other.
We must accept that love is not always everlasting with the exception of self-love, and that love can also encompass many different relationships and experiences. Love and codependency are not one in the same, and it is important to recognize that.
Love and Codependency: Understanding codependency