Time and time again, I hear the same story from strippers, “I pay all the bills for my boyfriend/girlfriend/friend.” With a pretty limitless cash flow, it is super simple to all of a sudden find yourself caring for others and forgetting about yourself. Many of us face similar challenges and the foundation for codependency is already built in many of our lives. I am going to ask you to really consider what you are doing when you take on these dependents. I want you to look inside yourself, tell yourself the truth, and consider a course of action.
- BUT HE NEEDS ME-This is by far the most common and most ridiculous stance to take about your slacker significant other. Your boyfriend or girlfriend doesn’t need you. His or her mother may have failed to raise an independent person, but survival has been possible for this person before you, and will be possible afterwards. The reality in this situation is more likely to be that YOU need HIM for something, whether it is emotional support, the pattern of chaos you have gotten comfortable in, control over him (or anyone), the sex or whatever, you are keeping him dependent on you, which is a) not giving him the freedom to be the man he could be, and b) keeping you stuck in an unhealthy cycle. Take some time to think about your motives, and don’t you dare say:
- I KNOW HE’D DO IT FOR ME– No. He wouldn’t. In fact, he couldn’t. Don’t you think there is a reason that he chose you, a financially capable adult who mothers him now that he is too grown to be mothered at home anymore? You have become his replacement mom, and he has grown as dependent on you as he was on her. An adult who allows themselves to be financially supported by anyone but themselves, even if only for a short time, does not have the financial, emotional, or intellectual strength to EVER give it back. That’s why you need to take the focus on him and
- SHIFT BACK TO YOURSELF- The reality, as ugly as it is, is that you literally give your money to someone else so you don’t have to think about what to do with yourself. It’s scary being all grown up, all on your own, with more money than anyone else you know, but with less structure and almost no rules. As an adult, it is up to you to to draw an outline of where you’d like to be and create a survival plan. No one can help you do this, but people will certainly get in the way of allowing you to, if you let them.
- YOU WILL BE OKAY ALONE-Keeping someone dependent on you is cruel. You don’t even realize you’re doing it, and next thing you know, you own someone’s life and you can weigh in on everything they are doing and not even thinking about what you should be doing. Have the strength to look in the mirror and say “What good can I do for myself today?” Empower yourself and empower those you love by doing only for yourself. Do not share your power with others, and do not drain the power from others for yourself, simply harness your own.
- DON’T BE CRUEL-As pissed as you get at your dependent for needing you, it is unfair to yell at them or tell them that they are inferior because you take care of them. You may not have created this problem, but by paying for the groceries, paying the rent, buying him a car or paying the bills on the one he has, you have become a part of it. Simply stop. Explain to your lover that you are on a savings plan, you have goals (consider what they are) and you need to meet them. Explain that your dance years are limited and you plan on making the money you make gain interest and grow so you can care for your family and for yourself long into retirement.
- PREPARE FOR THE MELTDOWN-He isn’t going to like it. Be prepared to calmly close the door. Save the drama for your Momma, you pathetic man-child!