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relationship between two co dependents
December 28, 2003
1:47 pm
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conomo
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I would like some feedback on experiences between two possibly co dependent people.

I dont really see any thing there thats touches that. I am addressing issues between two relationships I am in; #1 is where I have been very involved in caretaking and exhibiting all the classic symptoms of co dependency. The other is where I feel the other person is trying very hard to respect my feelings and create a safe place for me to open up and be emotionally.I just wonder if #2 is co dependent, because Im not used to being in this place.

#1 is a ten year relationship and #2 is someone I met a year ago and recently disclosed to #1. I did not establish good boundaries and I am working to resolve that issue as well.

Fortunately, both of these people and I have no substance abuse problems and are all highly functioning in our professional lives.

December 28, 2003
10:51 pm
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Zinnie
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Hi conomo,

Are both of these romantic relationships?

Also, just because some one is wanting to make you feel safe, it does not necessarily mean that they are a co-dependent. It could mean that they really care about you, and want this for your benefit - not for you to later feel dependent on them.

Zinnie

December 28, 2003
11:47 pm
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gingerleigh
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Some of the sweetest relationships between people I've seen might be labeled "codependent", but it works for them. Perhaps the best barometer to measure this with would be how you feel. Do you feel like you are giving and giving and getting nothing? Do you feel smothered? Do you feel loved and cherished or threatened?

December 29, 2003
12:01 am
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Zinnie
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Well put Ginger.

December 30, 2003
6:49 am
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conomo
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Thanks for the feedback. I think it has been hard for me to accept honest concern because I got in this heavily co dependent relationship (#1) with all the classic symptons of a closed relationship with bad boundaries, and now I have an opportunity to go outside that, feel like myself, be honest and direct with my feelings needs and wants, and that is like putting on a new skin!

In the first relationship, (both romantic) I have given a lot and sacrificed my feelings for the sake of the "relationship". In the second, I have not needed to. The unfortunate part is that there is now a "triangle" that I am in the middle of but workng to get out of.

thanks again...let me know if you have other thoughts

December 30, 2003
11:25 am
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gingerleigh
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Are you married or in a committed relationship with either of these two people? Especially if the committed relationship is #1, you may be setting yourself up for a fall with #2. If monogamy or marriage is your eventual goal, you might be muddying up the waters here. I'm not saying that you should settle for what's behind door #1. Your description of that relationship sounds unhealthy, and it might be time to get out. I just haven't seen very many cases where leaving one soured love for another that feels so much "healthier" works out the way we planned. And in case you're wondering, yes I've been there, done that, and got the T-shirt. Just be careful, keep your eyes wide open. Best wishes.

December 30, 2003
11:30 am
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Zinnie
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Amen Ginger.

Same thing I was thinking.

What is the situation?

Zinnie

December 31, 2003
9:10 am
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conomo
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the situation is that i have been in a committed relationship with #1 for more than 10 years. for the past 3.5 years we have been to individual, couples and (for me) group therapy. My experience from group was I learned a lot and recognized co dependent behavior...its deeply ingrained...however, my partner, when asked and encouraged to confront the issues he brings to the table, has nto been forthcoming and tells me that these are my issues and not the basis of "our" relationship. However, when I highlited my behaviors and began to initiate change, that scared him and he said that I was not the person he met and fell in love with. Group ended and I slipped back into the old patterns, which he seemed pretty content with. But not me....and I slipped and went looking. At this point all is out on the table, I have been clear on what I need there and what I havent gotten (in my words a safe place for my feelings and emotions and boundaries, without fear of anger and abandonment, which has been the pattern up to now). I have not gotten that. Now I am feeling that #2 is someone who is hearing these things up front and is willing to communicate, actively, on these issues that would affect our relationship and look into his own history that would possibly repeat this pattern.

The muddy part is that #1 is wrapping up...so there is overlap...and I have been clear and ahve to continue to be clear with #2 that I need time for healing and dealing with these issues and get on solid footing.

thanks

December 31, 2003
10:45 am
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gingerleigh
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I'm going to try to probe a little deeper here, so please keep in mind that I'm not trying to attack you or judge you. I'm seeing some lack of consistency in your posts, Conomo, and I'm going to call you on it 🙂 In your most recent post, you mention that you have "overlap" and that you want time to heal and get back on solid footing. But in your first post, the one that initially brought you here, you were already exploring the dynamics of a relationship with gentleman #2. If giving yourself time to get back on solid footing is really what you're after, this isn't the way to do it. Solid footing comes from one's own feet and legs, and you're lining up another person to catch you as you fling yourself from the relationship with gentleman #1.

*gentle smile* Please don't feel like I'm picking on you or attacking you here. You seem like you are trying to be really open and up front with your issues and deal with them head on. You've done it in group, you're trying to do it here, that's great! You mention that you are afraid of the anger of your partner and afraid of being abandoned by him. Is it also accurate to say that you are afraid to be alone? You've been in a relationship for over 10 years, and for at least 3 of those years, you have felt something was amiss, and you were unhappy. Your partner basically gave you an unspoken ultimatum... either change yourself and put up with things, or leave it. You are opting to leave it, but you aren't able to leave just for the sake of leaving... you have to be leaving for something else... why is that? Want to look at that a bit more closely?

Suppose #2 didn't even exist. Would you still want to leave your current relationship?

December 31, 2003
11:44 am
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Zinnie
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Same thing I was thinking. Are you needing/wanting to leave the #1 relationship, because it is over and time to move on, nothing can fix the problem?

Or...

Now that you have someone else possibly waiting in the wings so to speak, is that why you are now willing to leave?

Hopping from one relationship to another is not healthy, and many times you will find that you are leaving one toxic relationship for another one, that often times can be worse than the first.

Z.

December 31, 2003
9:47 pm
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conomo
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you are both right on point and that is the question I have been asking my self... that is, am I, even though I have the best intentions, lining up a safety net with #2.

I realize that is the possibility and I have been trying to determine what is the right course of action here. I have told him #2 that I need to be on solid ground and I we may need a cooling off period. I have been honest about not knowing what that cooling off period looks like, because I dont know and I need some help there. I have said, and must continue to say to him, that I have to be very careful to take care of myself. But what is the right way or a right way to do that?

I dont know if that means cold turkey on both...I do think that a substantial curtailment of contact with #1 is coming...he has been out of country for two weeks and it has given us time to cool down and get past the crisis stage. My fear is that when he is back, there will be the bargaining stage and right now I am not up to that. I dont feel like bargaining there (thinking of the 5 stages of grieving) I am more at the acceptance stage and right now I am scared of
#1 jeopardizing my recovery

Thanks for your insights and happy new year!

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