The Codependent Struggle


I looked down into my big mug filled to the brim with chai and soy milk and stirred at the foam while admiring the light reflecting off the liquid. I couldn’t think about anything else but him. My friends were having a conversation right next to me and I was just sitting there at a late night diner, feeling completely isolated by my own emotions but actively stopping myself from existing in the present.

Earlier that night, I had turned down a few booty call attempts and I became annoyed with every other man trying to flirt with me in general at the bar. I didn’t care for anyone but him anymore. I kept looking over to my phone waiting to hear back from him, as if not seeing him after two or three days apart is truly the end of my universe. I must be such a spoiled brat. I knew I was going to go home alone, sleep alone, and probably pass out with tea, a book, and a joint… and that’s exactly what I did. Surely enough, it was relaxing and not all that bad, but upon arriving home and setting my things down, I felt defeated… like I lost even though nothing was really wrong.

I have never felt like I needed someone so much before, even just to bask in their presence and make them happy. If that’s not co-dependence, I don’t know what is. It led to such an ostentatious display of my neediness that at one point, I never thought existed. I read on an astrology site (which I take regularly with a grain of salt) that “Leos need constant adoration and affection” and I suppose I’ve been using that as a silent justification for my demanding nature.

A month or so later, I felt the same feeling creep up and acknowledged it as it took place. He said he would come by after work and then a while later, plans changed when he realized he was on a roll and should stay focused. I had been working diligently on my computer on other Thought Catalog articles (which also means spending a good majority of that time reading other pieces on the site and laughing or moping to myself while the dog stares and judges me). We agreed to hangout the following night, yet still I felt my optimism sink like suddenly I had nothing to look forward to because OH POOR ME, I HAVE TO STAY IN BED WITH NETFLIX TONIGHT AND A TASTY TREAT. ROUGH LIFE.

Despite the fact that he promised the fun, hugs, cuddles, whatever I had been looking forward to would only be postponed 24 hours, I responded with “please just come over”. Realizing how desperate that must be, I still swatted my obvious shame away like a fly. It was already almost 11pm and I got in the shower to decompress and frankly, I just fucking love standing in hot water. Even if I went out of my way to recycle every thing possible on a daily basis, I probably take way too long of showers to ever really be considered an environmentalist. I’m also known to go off on completely irrelevant tangents, unapologetically. While I was in the shower, I thought to myself “Don’t be so stubborn and needy! You’re fine. Your hormones are to probably to blame. Alone time is healthy. Enjoy it. Revel in it.”

By the time I was towel dried, there was a response from him coming to my phone via the sound of his very own text alert tone (priority by auditory recognition gets me off I guess). Why do I fucking like using (PARENTHESIS) so much? Probably because I dropped out of my community college English 101 class because the professors completely bored me and I didn’t want to rewrite Sedaris because he’s just fine on his own. Nor did I wish to listen to a grasshopper with glasses explain to me what the differences between first person and third person omniscient are because I actually did pay attention to my pregnant high school Honors English teacher. About those tangents. His text read “I know it may be tough to hear, but you can’t rely on my presence.” I knew exactly what he meant and that my happiness could not be driven just from having him around me. Things were shifting in my life, approaching 25, and I knew that I had so much energy to put into so many things, projects, and goals, and so much love to put back into myself. Being alone is more than okay. I ate a brownie and watched Orange is the New Black and slept like a baby.

He said “I don’t want to be the guy you write about.”

I say… “Tough shit.” 

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