Codependency describes a relational dynamic where you over-rely on others and their approval of you, have a hard time experiencing yourself as distinct and separate from others, and struggle to recognize and prioritize your own needs.
In codependent relationships, your partner's well-being becomes fundamentally entangled with your well-being. You may find yourself confused as you try to make choices and decisions. Putting attention on your partner's real or imagined reactions and responses feels safer and easier than putting attention on yourself, especially during key, emotionally charged moments. This can make it hard to set, respect, and recognize your own and other's boundaries or to know and honor what you want when your desires are distinct from your partner's.
In the short term, codependency can masquerade as "getting along" or keeping the peace, but subsuming yourself in another also builds resentment within you for sacrifices you make—however unconsciously—at your own expense. Often, it also creates resentment in the person you're working so hard to please, protect, nurture, and support. Even when relationships are hard, the healthy parts of us ultimately long for partners with integrity who know how to be themselves (while still being appropriately flexible), act in accordance with their own values, and set limits. Our partner's strengths offer a counterweight to our weaknesses, and our strengths to their weaknesses.