Q: How do I avoid codependency in my relationship? -Anonymous
This is a very valid question for someone to ask at Point Loma Nazarene University. Maintaining a relationship at PLNU looks much different than any other place in the world. The opportunity for intentional time between two people in a relationship is almost infinite. A couple can spend all of their day together; whereas, in the real world, this isn’t logistically possible. Here are some tips for you and your significant other (SO) to follow, in order to avoid codependency at PLNU:
Follow the 2-2-2 rule: Every 2 minutes think about them, every 2 hours text them or respond to them on some social media platform, and at least every 2 days hang out with them in person. This 2-2-2 rule is one every couple at PLNU should know. It has saved countless relationships.
Walk them to all their classes. What’s that? You just got done eating at Bobby B’s and their class is in Fermanian but yours is in Bond? Too bad. Get walking. This shows your SO that you love them and are willing to carve time out of your busy schedule for them. Make sure to hold space for intentional conversation on this walk:
“So what class are you going to?”
“Babe, it’s week 6. You should know which class I have after lunch on Tuesdays. You walk me everyday.”
Also, make sure that you know their schedule as well as your own. It’s important to spend every single moment in between classes together. A great spot to spend this time is the ARC. They have billiards, ping pong, and even foosball. The area also comes equipped with plush couches, great for snuggling. For those couples that are a bit more studious, don’t worry, the library has couches too. Not as soft, but they get the job done.
Pro tip: a good study technique is to award kisses for every question answered correctly.
Attend every single chapel together. Make sure to always sit in the same spot if you can. While the speaker is talking, make sure at least one of you has their arm around the other’s chair. It’s important to still show people how much of a couple you are in chapel. During worship, hand holding is encouraged and back rubs are smiled upon; booty bumps during the chorus are a bonus! For those of you who are not boyfriend and girlfriend just yet, make sure to leave at least one seat in between the two of you. For Jesus of course.
Never sit alone in the cafeteria! Make sure that you are always sitting with your SO, preferably on the same side of the table so you can keep holding hands throughout your meal. If there ever is a moment where you can’t go to the caf together, get your food to-go. Better to eat by yourself in your room than in the caf where everyone can see your loneliness.
If all of that sounded insane, then congratulations, you have something we like to call social awareness. In any relationship, it’s important to maintain a sense of self – who you are and what makes you, you. This sense of self is surrounded by boundaries. When we start dating someone, we naturally let down those boundaries. Releasing these boundaries allows us to share ourselves with others; however, there is such a thing as oversharing.
Setting clear limits of how much you are willing to loosen these boundaries is an important part of avoiding codependency in a relationship. If there aren’t clear boundaries that distinguish you from your SO, then you run the risk of becoming suffocated in that relationship. Remember, it is extremely hard to forge those boundaries later on in the relationship, so make sure to enter into it with these boundaries already formed.
Communication is key. Talk to your SO about the time you spend together. As a student, it feels like there’s nothing you’d rather do than spend every waking moment with this person that you love, but as you get older, you realize that this constant interaction hurts your relationship more than it helps it. Independence is the foundation to a healthy and mature relationship. That means time apart from your SO isn’t bad; it’s time for you to spend with yourself.
I’ll leave you with a beautiful line from Kahlil Gibran’s poetic masterpiece, “The Prophet”, that profoundly speaks on the question of codependency: “Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. / For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. / And stand together yet not too near: / For the pillars of the temple stand apart, / And the oak tree and cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”
Send any relationship questions or comments you have to firstname.lastname@example.org to possibly be featured in the next installation of Stupid Cupid.
By: Brennan Ernst