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Finding your own happiness

We all want to love and be loved but ultimately our happiness is in our own hands. Our husbands, families, friends, colleagues, doctor, Allah (SWT) or even the stranger in the streets are not responsible for our happiness and it is unfair to put the burden on them to make us happy.

Whilst there is nothing better than finally meeting someone you can really be with and spend time together navigating life remember that all relationships have their ups and downs. There are times when you need to pay attention in order to be sure you are in a healthy relationship for both people. When you are in a co-dependent relationship, your identity is so entangled with that of your partner that you will have trouble even knowing who you are without them. Whilst it can seem like you are incredibly intimate with your spouse when you are co-dependent, in reality, you are not.

Signs of co-dependency

Doing too much for the other party. Whilst there is a difference between helping your partner out here and there, you could actually be treating them like a child. If you find that you are constantly needing to do things like making sure your partner wakes up and gets to work on time, packing their lunch every day, filling their car at the petrol station and reminding them to do things they should otherwise be able to handle.

Being in a co-dependent relationship is emotionally exhausting, especially if you’ve nominated yourself as the unofficial cheerleader for the two of you. As a result, it can feel like it’s your job to make things better if your partner is in a mood. You have taken on the responsibility for their feelings and this is one manifestation of it.

Feeling anxious is normal at the beginning of a relationship given that you may not have figured out where things stand yet. But if you’ve been together for a while and you’re still feeling anxious a lot, it’s not healthy. You want to be with someone you can feel super comfortable with. Anxiety could be your antennae letting you know something is off.

You treat your spouse like a project, which is not healthy. You are setting your partner up to be reliant on you and your help from the start, secretly hope that your project never actually gets it together so they won’t leave.

Taking responsibility for their actions.

Their mood is your mood. In a healthy relationship, it’s normal to feel upset if your partner is upset, but you are otherwise able to shake things off as you go about your day. If you have good boundaries, you can maintain your mood and allow them theirs. But in a co-dependent relationship, their mood can seriously drag you down. If you feel that it’s your job to try to help your partner out of their sour mood all the time, it’s not going to work. For Muslims, our Sunnah tells us that when one partner is angry the other should be peaceful.

People in a healthy relationship are aware of each other’s schedules. But people in co-dependent relationships can be obsessive about keeping track of the other person’s thoughts and movements. This comes from a place of insecurity.

You forget your own needs, which is a huge issue in a co-dependent relationship. The co-dependent person often struggles with their dependency needs and will give themselves over to the needs of the other simply because they cannot endure being alone.

Every relationship has a power balance, but constantly checking in with your significant other before you do anything is giving someone a lot of power. Someone who is checking in at all times is questioning their power.

Boundaries are important and at some point, people in healthy relationships will tell their partner that they can’t or won’t do something. But people in a co-dependent relationship seriously struggle with this. It’s due to an inability to deal with their disappointment or disapproval and ultimately keeps you from being able to do what you want.

For Muslim men, I suggest you study the Seerah and for women folk, I suggest reading The Surrendered Wife by Laura Doyle.

For both men and women, find your own way in life and find your own happiness.

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