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  • Writer's pictureInterval Health

What Are Co-Dependent Moods in Relationships?

Updated: Sep 12, 2022

Couple in a relationship are emotionally co-dependent.
"I'm happy if she's happy." Or "I'm sad if he's sad." When empathy becomes co-dependence, it can become problematic.

When you’re in a relationship, it’s normal to want your partner to feel happy and satisfied. It’s also normal to be empathetic when they’re not feeling their best, but there’s a difference between empathy and co-dependent moods. Co-dependent moods in relationships can harm your own mental health and will undoubtedly do more harm than good in the relationship.

Let’s take a closer look at what co-dependent moods are, how they can impact your relationship, and what you can do instead of internalizing or sharing your partner’s intense emotions.

Taking on Your Partner’s Feelings

If your partner feels anxious, do you start to feel the same way? Do you internalize their sadness or frustration? Again, it’s okay to be empathetic when they’re feeling those things, but it can create problems when you try to cover yourself in those emotions.

The basis of co-dependent moods is simple enough: It’s a way to share your partner’s experience or burden. You might think it will make you feel closer to them or understand what they’re going through. But in reality, you could be damaging your mental well-being. That’s especially true if you already struggle with anxiety or depression.

Internalizing your partner’s feelings will become emotionally taxing. You have your own emotions to deal with, and red flags could worsen by pushing them aside. Think of it as carrying a heavy weight on your shoulders, and then grabbing double that amount of weight from your partner to hold onto.

It’s not sustainable, and you’ll eventually collapse under it.

When that happens, it can cause problems in your relationship. Not only will it negatively impact household dynamics, but you might even start to have feelings of resentment toward your partner. But co-dependency in your moods is on you, not them.

What Can You Do?

Both you and your partner should recognize if you’re taking on each other’s emotions and showing signs of co-dependency when it comes to your moods. While it’s something you have to deal with as an individual, you both need to be aware of what’s going on, so you don’t enable each other. It can be tempting, in some cases, for them to want you to be co-dependent so they don’t feel so alone in their moods.

Make sure you talk about it, and how important it is to be there for each other without internalizing one another’s emotions.

It’s also a good idea to spend some time apart. That doesn’t mean taking a break from your relationship, but it’s essential to do some things on your own so you can have a better understanding of your own thoughts and feelings. For example, try out some hobbies you think you’ll enjoy, or spend some time with supportive family members and friends.

Co-dependency, in any situation, is often more common in people who don’t have a deeply rooted knowledge of who they really are. Take the time to “find yourself,” and you’ll be less likely to soak up your partner’s moods.

Understand You’re Not Alone

You don’t have to deal with co-dependent moods on your own. If you’re having a hard time separating yourself from your partner’s emotions, it’s okay to seek out help. When you have co-dependent tendencies, they could be rooted in something deeper that stems from your childhood or earlier experiences. Talking to a mental health professional can help you get to the bottom of those issues.


Don’t wait before your co-dependent moods start to damage your relationship or your well-being. If you find that you’re internalizing your partner’s moods, feel free to contact me to set up an appointment. I offer a complimentary phone consultation to all potential clients. To schedule yours in a matter of seconds, please check here.

Together, we’ll get to the underlying cause and work on healthy ways to support your partner without taking on their emotions.

To learn more about how counseling can help experience more joy in your relationship, please click here.

BRINGING BABY HOME: A NEW PARENT WORKSHOP IS GOING VIRTUAL!!!! A workshop for couples who are thinking about or planning to have a baby, who are expecting a baby or who have children already. Based on years of research and experience and developed by the Gottman Institute, this 12 hour workshop is designed to repair communication skills and jump start your relationship with your partner. For more information, please click here.


Jennifer Perera is a mom of two boys, a spouse and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has a private practice in Springfield, New Jersey and also sees clients throughout New Jersey via telehealth. Her passion is helping new moms and dads find their joy again in parenthood through individual and couples counseling. She also runs workshops for new parents, teaching them techniques and strategies to help them have a stronger relationship - built to thrive during the parenthood years. Jennifer specializes in working with parents during the prenatal and postpartum periods and those coping with grief or loss issues surrounding pregnancy.


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