Codependency with an ex-boyfriend. Top 10 tips for recovery

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All relationships come with both good and bad parts. But in some cases, they end up with break-ups. Even though he might be the right person you have met at the wrong time, this is usually something we like to tell ourselves for comfort. Codependency is something real but that is not palpable and maybe not so obvious as other things involved in a relationship. It manifests itself through a series of behaviors you might find yourself involved in doing. 

If you find yourself constantly searching for information about your ex-boyfriend, sending him texts, analyzing the relationship, and what went wrong, then you might be codependent with your ex-boyfriend. It is important to acknowledge that even though your partner was abusive, codependency can still be there. 

Some of these behaviors might be normal, especially if your boyfriend is the one that wanted to break up with you. However, codependency is also described by more extreme behaviors such as creating a crisis to catch his attention, being extra-jealous that he is not part of your life anymore and has moved on, and always following in his footsteps. 

Even though these behaviors might be comforting for you, they bring a toll on your happiness and mental health. These types of thoughts and behaviors can easily lead to anxiety and depression, as the break-up has already eroded your self-esteem. Fortunately, there are some tips psychologists share that will help you let go and move forward. 

woman thinks about her relationship

1. Stop Blaming Yourself 

One of the reasons codependent women struggle more than others with the period after a break-up is because they feel immense feelings of blame. The relationship has ended and if your ex-partner has not been clear about it, you might try finding the things that went bad in the relationship. This is the moment where many women find themselves blaming their thoughts, actions, and behaviors. 

But blaming yourself is not something that will help you, but only make your codependency deeper. You will want to try and repair things and convince your ex-boyfriend that you have changed and acknowledged your mistakes. All breakups are difficult but do not make them more challenging and burdensome than already are. Things that happened in the past should come with lessons for the future, not with blaming yourself. You cannot change the past, but you can make the future different. Focus on this. 


2. And Stop Blaming Others 

If you are not the one that is responsible for the break-up, then somebody else is. Because break-ups cause a decline in everyone’s self-esteem, codependents are especially affected by them. This might make you blame others, to protect your self-esteem. But if your ex-boyfriend has already moved on, this means that he let things go. You can only change the future, so focus your thoughts and actions on yourself and understanding the past, not on finding someone to blame. 


3. Focus on Yourself 

As a codependent woman, you have probably tried to make everything perfect. Perfect to please your partner, because he is the most important thing in your life. All codependents are people-pleasing and often lose themselves in relationships. 

You probably feel that you will not find anyone like your ex-boyfriend. You probably do not know what to do with so much free time. But you probably forgot about yourself, your hobbies and things that please you. Aim to find those things again and make them a part of you again. Focus on yourself, on your friends, family, goals, and dreams. Now it’s your time!

woman doing yoga

4. Establish Boundaries 

One of the things that describe many codependent women is the lack of boundaries. You might feel you are responsible for the happiness of your ex-boyfriend and this is why you often find yourself helping him out with different tasks. But while this can be of huge help, it’s also important to say no and establish some boundaries. 


5. Realistic Memories 

To let go and move forward, you need to keep a realistic memory of your past relationship. When all those negative emotions a break-up comes with overwhelm you, you might tend to focus on other aspects of the relationship. But if you choose to balance both the positive and negative ones and keep a realistic perspective over your past relationship, it would be easier for you to let go. 


6. Unfollow Him 

What might keep you codependent with your ex-boyfriend is the fact that you still follow his social media accounts because you want to see updates about his life. And when you see that he has moved on, jealousy can easily appear, along with other negative emotions. Unfollow him and use this time to focus on yourself. 

woman on phone scrolling through social media

7. Start Journaling

Journaling is an effective technique that can help you become more aware of your thoughts and emotions. Psychotherapists are recommending it to anyone, as it comes with relaxation, it ameliorates the symptoms of stress and it helps you reflect on yourself. 


8. Take a Break 

To heal your codependency, you might feel tempted to look for another partner. But while this might seem like a good solution, it isn’t. Likely, you will probably engage in the same thinking patterns that will create codependency with a new partner. And firstly, you need to get to know yourself better and heal your wounds. 


9. Get to Know Yourself 

We sometimes lose ourselves in relationships and forget about our sense of self. We know the needs of our partners, but we do not know our needs or values. It is therefore important to engage in getting to know yourself. Get to know your inner world, your needs, and your values. Build your life according to these and codependency will slowly disappear. 

couple on therapy

10. Go to Therapy 

However, break-ups come with many negative feelings and emotions, and finding ways to cope with them alone can be difficult. This is the last tip, but maybe the most important one. 

If you feel you struggle too much with your feelings and emotions or that codependency is affecting the quality of your life, ask a therapist for help. They have all the tools necessary to help you let go and move forward, you only need to give yourself the time and space to heal.