The Mary Poppins Of Dating: How To Recognize Codependency

Mary Poppins appeared in people’s lives, fixed everything, and left. In the past, I felt that was my role. I would date a guy and then make him better—for the next girl. It felt like I was fostering a child to pass on to a permanent home. Through my journey in therapy, I have come to find out that most of my relationships formed because of my codependency. I would pick “the wounded bird” and help him along. I thought I was the victim, yet it turns out I was the manipulative one because I expected him to owe me for my kindness.

Are you codependent?….

According to Webster’s dictionary, codependency is “a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person manifesting low self-esteem and a strong desire for approval has an unhealthy attachment to another person and places the needs of that person before his or her own.” You purposefully date men who are in a rough patch to seem like the hero in his life. You might think if you help him though life and make him better, he will keep you around. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. There is no prize at the end for fixing a guy’s life.

Are you investing too much?…

You have to remember you are not his mom or his personal maid. Even women in casual relationships will clean a guy’s apartment and give him gifts.

Are you paying to keep him around?….

Are you always picking up the tab, driving him around, and holding the relationship together? Are you scared if you stop paying and being helpful then he will leave you?

While you are doing errands and paying he is saving….

So, if you are paying for his food here and maybe a bill or two there, he gets to save his money—which makes him a richer, more desirable man for the next relationship.

Check your emotions at the door….

It’s easy to be taken advantage of if you are “thinking” with your emotions. You might feel bad when he tells you he can’t afford to buy groceries. So then you decide to make a trip to the store and buy him his favorite things.

You always expect a reward….

It’s one thing to be kind just for the sake of bringing more positivity into the world. But… deep down, the real reason you are playing the martyr is because you want a gold star at the end. You expect that he will mirror your behavior and be kind back. Yet, it never happens. He will just keep asking for more.

Bottom Line…

Don’t let him save up his money to be richer for the next girl. He is just letting you help him until he gets on his feet again. This is why I stress to beware of a man in transition. If he is in a rough place, there will always be an excuse to not be able to commit or not being able to treat you well. This pattern goes deeper than you expect. You might be treating all your relationships this way. Trying to be the savior in your relationships will never serve you. Talk this behavior out in therapy. You might get a lot of insight on why you repeat these patterns and gain more self-worth.