If you’re codependent in a relationship, the reliance you feel on your girlfriend will exceed the healthy level of dependency. You might struggle to do things on your own, or become extremely anxious when you’re uncertain of how they feel about you at any given moment. With this type of behaviour, is it bad to be attached to your girlfriend?
When you have an anxious attachment style as an adult, you may have lacked the necessary support that was required from your parents during infancy and as a child. This would be why you might feel like you’re constantly searching for your partner as a way to fulfill your needs.
In this article, we’ll delve into why it is bad to be attached to your girlfriend. We’ll inform you on what can cause a person to become codependent in relationships, as well as what you can do to help you detach yourself.
Why am I so attached to my GF?
If you find you have an attachment to your girlfriend, you may be a codependent in relationships. Codependency is when your emotions depend on the behaviour and actions of your partner. This attachment style can emanate from experiencing neglect during the developmental stages as an infant and child.
From infancy, a psychological process will take place in the brain that is pre-programmed to stay consistent to look for the support and care of your primary care-givers. This is known as the ‘attachment style’ which is part of the limbic system of the brain. As soon as these needs aren’t met, a child’s emotional responses to an attachment figure won’t develop in the correct way.
When a child’s parents are not readily available to provide the necessary comfort in distress, it will hinder their ability to develop a sense of security. The attachment bond between a baby and their elder should protect them from fear and anguish.
As per research posted by Frontiers, when this is not consistent in the developmental stages, adults will later experience different levels of insecurity in relationships, such as codependency.
If you find you have an emotional attachment to your girlfriend, it can simply be because on a subconscious level, you look for the support from your partner to meet your attachment needs that may have been overlooked in your younger years from your parents.
Is it bad to be attached to your girlfriend?
Being a codependent in a relationship can become unhealthy not only for you, but your girlfriend too. You may struggle to be autonomous due to the immense attachment you have for your partner. This could hinder her own, and your personal growth. Once you depend solely on your girlfriend for your own emotional happiness, it can put pressure on the relationship.
Consistent codependent behaviour may cause you to lose your individuality, and come across as ‘needy’ in your relationship. Although neediness is not necessarily a weakness, it can have a negative impact on the connection you have with your girlfriend when it starts to become excessive.
Otherwise known as an ‘anxious attachment style’, you may experience a deep rooted fear of abandonment. This will cause you to put the desires of your girlfriend before your own in order to sustain the relationship.
You might lack boundaries. The mere thought of upsetting your girlfriend will cause the brain to release the chemicals cortisol and norepinephrine. When these stress hormones become present in our blood stream, your heart rate and blood pressure will increase, and you’ll go into ‘fight or flight’ mode.
When your attachment to your girlfriend is immoderate, you may feel unsafe whenever you’re not with her. This will be due to the uncertainty of not knowing whether she still feels optimistic about you. You might find you only feel calm when she’s around you because it will reassure you that you’re secure.
If your girlfriend feels like your life is centred around her, she might start to feel suffocated, and may distance herself from you if she struggles to deal with the pressure.
Being too attached to your girlfriend can also cause you to ignore potential toxic traits she might display which can be a detriment to your well-being.
What do you do when you are too attached to your girlfriend?
If you find you prioritise your actions around your girlfriend, you’ll need to take the initiative to instigate some detachment between yourselves. As a codependent, this can be difficult to do. So, it’s important to begin with simple steps such as increasing the time you spend apart.
This could be an extra half hour or one hour a day, depending on the circumstance of your relationship. For couples who don’t live together, forcing yourself to not send copious amounts of messages, or to not send a response straight away will help.
Practise self-reflection. From The Open University, this is a positive method in which you question yourself on your weaknesses and problems, so you can become aware of what needs to change to better your responses to apathetic situations.
(Did you know; around 20% of the population will have an anxious attachment style).
Take on a new hobby to help you divert your attention from your girlfriend. This will not only jumpstart you to gain your autonomy back, but also help improve your mental health. Oregon Counselling provide insight on how it can help enhance your social connections amongst others.
Remember to always communicate with your partner. We can’t reiterate enough how important it is to let your girlfriend know how you’re feeling. Be open and honest about what bothers you.
Are you in love or just attached?
The key variation to distinguish whether you’re in love or attached, is who you direct your emotions towards. If you’re fueled to satisfy your own needs and desires, than you may be attached. Your girlfriend may make you feel less alone, supported, and help improve your self-esteem, all of which is for your own benefit.
However, if you put the well-being of your girlfriend before yourself, than you’re in love. Although you may miss your girlfriend when you’re not with her, your thoughts won’t be preoccupied with her. You’ll be able to be get on with your own life, and not feel angst.
To summarise the main differences between attachment and love, we’ve created a table for you;
|You only think about yourself
|You put your girlfriend above yourself
|Not being with them puts you in a frenzy
|You miss them when you’re away
|You display controlling behaviour
|Your girlfriend has freedom
|You stagnate personal growth
|Both individuals grow autonomously
|You become a better version of yourself
|Compromise is a struggle
|Making decisions come easy
|You might try and change your girlfriend
|You accept her for who she is
How do I break an attachment with my girlfriend?
Focus on activities you can do on your own. This will include going to the gym, meditation and spending time with your friends without your girlfriend.
Signs of unhealthy emotional attachment
The main signs that you have an unhealthy emotional attachment include;
- You have no boundaries
- You need constant approval
- You’re unable to function without them
- You find it difficult to express your emotions
What causes unhealthy attachment?
An adult who has an unhealthy attachment style may have experienced neglect from their primary caregivers as an infant and child. If a baby’s parents were frequently unavailable, specifically in times of distress, the emotional response system will not develop properly. This will cause insecurity in adult life, and affect how well a person forms interpersonal relationships.
If you think you have unhealthy attachment to your girlfriend, you’re not alone. On the forum, GirlsAskGuys, 71% of men confirmed at some point in their life, they’ve felt dependent on their partner. A skimpy 29% said they’ve only ever been self-reliant in relationships.
A healthy level of dependency is okay. An interdependent relationship will consist of mutual understanding, trust and compassion. However, if you become too attached to your girlfriend, you may be a codependent. In which case, you won’t have any autonomy, and rely solely on your partner to make you feel secure.
Once you’ve come to terms that you may have an anxious attachment style, it’s important that you take the necessary steps to help better your emotional responses, and aid in forming healthy interpersonal relationships.
(Quiz Question; what percentage of the population has an anxious attachment style?). Submit your answer with the available box below.