Codependence and the Heartbreak of Romantic Relationships

For codependents, almost any problem encountered in a romantic relationship is a symptom of some deeper problem within our relationship with ourself! Learn more.

"As long as we believe that someone else has the power to make us happy, then we are setting ourselves up to be victims." - Robert Burney

Romantic Relationships may be the most powerful, meaningful, traumatic, painful, explosive, heart wrenching single topic for most people. As I say on my flyer for my new workshop "Our hearts have been broken because we were taught to do the Dance of Love in a dysfunctional way/to the wrong music."

Our hearts have been broken! And then they were broken again.

If you can Truly own the pain in that statement - take some deep breaths, visualize breathing White Light into your heart chakra (which will break up and release some of the trapped grief energy) and say out loud, "My heart has been broken." - you will probably not only produce some tears but some sobs of emotional energy being released. If you cannot own, feel, and release some emotional pain energy in relating to the Truth of that statement, it could mean that you don't feel safe to be emotionally honest in this moment, or that you don't feel safe to be emotionally honest with yourself in regard to this topic. It could be a sad commentary on how much you have had to shut down your heart, how closed off to the emotional Truth of how painful being human in a dysfunctional, emotionally dishonest, Spiritually hostile, Love retarded cultural environment has been for you.

It is not your fault. It is not your fault! IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT!

It is a set up. We were set up.

The thing that is so important about the issue of Romantic Relationships for codependents is to realize how we were set up to "fail" in romance - to really get it on a gut level, so that we can forgive ourselves.   Once we start letting go of feeling responsible for something we were powerless over, letting go of the false guilt and toxic shame about our "mistakes" and "failures" in romance, then we, as codependents, can start to learn how to take healthy risks.   Loving and losing is much better than never loving at all.

The issue of how we are set up to fail to get our needs met in Romantic Relationships is so complex - multi-leveled, multi-faceted, and multi-dimensional - that instead of writing an individual, fully contained article here, I am going to make this page a collage of different facets of this issue - individual vignettes with quotes from my books and articles. I am going to use some quotes from my Question and Answer pages also - the Q & A # at the end of the quote will be a link to the applicable page - any articles or columns cited will also be linked.

continue story below

I am thinking of this page as if it were a crystal with multiple facets. Each facet reflects a little different perspective on the issue of Romantic Relationships. I am going to limit this page to seven of these different but very much interrelated facets.

next: The Heartbreak of Romantic Relationship - Facet # 1 and Facet # 2

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2009, January 14). Codependence and the Heartbreak of Romantic Relationships, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 22 from

Last Updated: August 7, 2014

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

More Info