Somebody on the UUpoly list said something that just hit me in a big way. I’ve never thought about it quite like this before.
There’s a huge difference in caring ABOUT someone, and caring FOR someone. Caring FOR— as in taking care of another adult—them sucks you into codependent patterns. Caring ABOUT someone—loving them, being concerned about them, wanting to know what’s going on in their lives, being involved in their lives, but allowing them to be fully adult people capable of taking care OF themselves—is much healthier.
Yes, we engage in healthy interdependent relationships, where there’s a natural give and take with people caring for AND about each other. However, if we fall into the “taking care of” mode with other adults, it’s a danger sign. Each adult in a healthy relationship is presumably capable of taking care of him or herself, and there should not be any sense of obligation or true dependence.
There’s something else there at the edge of articulation for me, about obligation vs. commitment. I’ll just let it bubble up when it comes.