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Discussion Starter #1
I've been in a relationship with an ENFP for about eight or so years now (high school sweethearts) and the relationship has been consistently tainted by a recurring issue. My spouse is extremely overdependent on me in all practical aspects of the relationship and life in general. Needless to say, he claims he doesn't even know how to go about paying a bill if he needs to (probably because he has never tried). This unhealthy dynamic is becoming increasingly worse with time. It would be less insulting to me if I saw that he made a concerted effort to improve and help me (because I am quite overloaded with responsibility) but I don't see anything that indicates an even remote interest in improving.

His absentmindedness has lead to several legal issues and serious financial loss. For quite a while now I have considered separation but I honestly feel like this is my only stable relationship (my own emotional dependance). I'm just seeking general advice and/or insight because I feel like I'm at my wits end and have run out of patience and understanding. I'm tired of watching him enjoy his fun, happy, and carefree life while I pick up all of the slack. It almost feels as though his happiness is afforded by my struggles.

Thanks in advance to anyone who responds.

ETA: I just realized that I misspelled "codependent" in the thread title. My head is going to explode.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I am currently in treatment but he states that he doesn't feel like he needs it. It would be great if he were receptive to the idea but I've realized that something about counseling frightens him. It begs the question, how am I supposed to help someone who doesn't want to help themselves?
 

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Honestly, you may not be able to...Which is awful. You could deliver an ultimatum, trying to get him into counselling, but if he's forced, he may not really apply said lessons, which would be just as bad.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
There is no easy solution to this. How fair is it of me to act as a crutch for him? I feel like I am holding him back from developing as an individual just by being there and picking up the slack all of the time.
 

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I honestly feel like this is my only stable relationship
But it isn't. It sounds unhealthy for you both. What have your and his reactions been when he's messed up in the past? He'll probably continue to do this as long as you allow him to, especially since you say it's gotten worse. I don't know what you've tried, but you can either go the sort of emotional-appeal route of "Things are really difficult for me right now because of so and so, and I really need you to take responsibility for this and this because I can't do it anymore" or the more hard-ass route of teaching him how to do bills, maybe opening a separate bank account for him, letting him deal with his issues and responsibilities in a way where he, not you, has to deal with the consequences. Or a mixture of both. And maybe you need a break from each other so he can sort his things out.
 

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It sounds to me like he doesn't care and you are the only one holding this marriage together...which makes the marriage terminal (figuratively) as long as it's on this path. Eventually, it will be done if he doesn't start taking this seriously and start putting some effort into the relationship. He doesn't want to go to counseling because to him, there is nothing to be fixed...he is perfectly happy with the dynamic the way it is, which means, it's highly unlikely that he cares about your happiness. If he cared about your happiness, he would listen to you and take this seriously; he would also work on making changes.

If he doesn't start taking this seriously, I can tell you what will happen...eventually it will wear you down until you "check out" or reach indifference towards him. This pull back from you will catch his attention and then he will start trying to change his ways, but it will be too late once you've reach that point. He needs to take this seriously now if he doesn't want this to happen. Your communication with him at this point needs to be very clear and straight forward, no matter how much it might upset him.

Honestly, it sounds like you are both done and only holding onto each other out of fear. Once your misery becomes worse than the fear, that's when you'll be ready to move on. Try to think about why you want the marriage to work...if it's because of fear (of being alone, not finding someone better, will be difficult to undo, etc.) then try to think about if those are good enough reasons to stay.

I wish you well and hope things get better.
 

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Maybe he understands Synergy and "interdependence" .. Maybe he believes that the 2 of you are greater than the sum of your parts.
In love 1+1 can = 4 .. That's synergy.
Relationships are built on mutual support.. OH and nobody is perfect.. and we seek those who might cover our weaknesses.
Of course this culture doesn't allow for weakness and says anything but independence is an illness.
No wonder relationships don't last then.
The whole point of social cooperation is the synergy it brings.. It stares us in the face in everything we do and see.. Cooperation is everywhere but it's value is completely understated.
Statements like.. "He built this company from the ground up".. Exemplify this.. However we all know he didn't do it alone and relied on many many people.
 

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Girlfriend... this sounds cynical, but I'm a very cynical person at the moment. He needs to know what life is like without you. I mean, he really needs to come to that realization. I say... scare the shit out of him. Pack your bags and go have a weekend by yourself at your parents' or at a friend's house or something. He won't know what to do without you... you've always been there. I think he needs to know exactly what it would feel like to be without you. Don't tell him you're only going for a couple of days. If he asks how long you'll be gone, you say you don't know. He will be doing anything to get you back, but when you go back, you establish HEALTHY boundaries and let him know that you're not coming back unless he starts doing his part... helping you out with the bills and around the house, and he must agree to go to therapy with you before you "decide to come back."

Codependency works both ways. His behavior is extremely unhealthy, yes, but yours seems to have been just as unhealthy in a different way. You allowed him to stomp on the boundaries as far as the household responsibilities are concerned. He knows that he can get away with not doing anything because you always do it ANYWAY. I realize that my above suggestion seems extreme, and it is, but desperate times... you know the phrase. It's just a thought.
 

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Sometimes when you get to this point it is time for radical relationship restructuring. He might survive the shake-up, he might not.

Write a list of things that are good, and things that are bad. If bad outweighs the good, leave the list with him and go away for the weekend. Talk when you get back. Hold your nerve.....
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I can't disagree with anything that's been stated in response to my OP. It's a multifaceted issue with no simple one-step solution. Then again I have to question my own objectivity in not considering all of the factors that affect our relationship from the start. If there is any chance of us developing into a mature, healthy couple it's going to take a mutual systematic rectification of imbalances throughout various aspects of our lives. If he isn't willing to address the issues and understand things through more than just his (or even my) perspective then I will have no choice but to let him learn on his own for a while. My goal in the relationship is to achieve a harmonious, synergistic dynamic where we both benefit and are both happy....because currently, my energy = 0.
 
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