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Build an interdependent relationship with your partner - not a codependent one

Updated: May 15, 2023

interdependent relationship

In an interdependent relationship, both partners are actively and equally engaged with each other in a way that is mutually beneficial. A key aspect of such a relationship is the idea that both partners are willing to take responsibility for their actions and make sacrifices to achieve shared goals.

They make decisions jointly and help each other succeed. They don’t let fear of losing control or being taken advantage of stopping them from reaching new levels of trust and understanding with their partner. Interdependence is built on trust, support, honesty, respect and love. By demonstrating these qualities, you could help your partner feel safe enough to share his or her thoughts and form a strong connection with you.

However, interdependent relationships aren’t just happy and easy. It's important for both partners to understand that there will be times when things won't go perfectly and that is OK — instead of focusing on the pitfalls, focus on making improvements so that both people feel heard and respected. By working through these challenges together as partners rather than adversaries, your relationship will become stronger as a result.

How does interdependence present in relationships?

The simplest way to perceive this type of relationship is as a partnership where both partners support each other to achieve their best. Each partner is willing to compromise and work together to find solutions that work for both of them. There is a healthy balance of time spent together and apart, giving each person the space they need to pursue their own interests.

In a healthy interdependent relationship, both partners feel validated and understood by the other person. Both partners feel like they can rely on each other for support, both emotionally and physically. They feel like they can openly communicate with each other about anything, without feeling judged or misunderstood. Each partner feels like an equal in the relationship and that their needs are just as important as the other person's needs.

In a romantic relationship as such, each of the parties increases the other's self-esteem and sense of self worth. This mutual reinforcement creates a positive feedback loop that helps maintain and improve the overall quality of the relationship.

A relationship based on interdependence is the healthiest way of dependency

A common misconception of such an intimate relationship is that in contrast to individual indecency. Interdependent couples who rely on each other for their emotional needs in a healthy way would form a secure base to grow from. This secure and safe space in a relationship becomes the foundation for individual independency in every other aspect of each partner's life. This relationship dynamic doesn't hold any of the partners back, instead, it helps them thrive in their careers, social relationships, and to take more initiative in their daily activities. This misconception is also referred to as the dependency paradox in relationships.

The key difference between a relationship built on mutual interdependence and a codependent relationship is that both partners are able to pursue their passions outside of the relationship, rather than one person completely sacrificing their needs in order to fulfill every small need of the other.

Interdependence and attachment styles explained

One's attachment style depends in large part on the experiences a person has as an infant, and those experiences determine how they will interact with others once they reach adulthood.

People with secure attachment styles are comfortable and confident in intimate relationships. They trust, open up, and are themselves. An individual with an insecure attachment style may either be obsessed with relationships such as individuals with an anxious attachment style or avoid close relationships such as adults with an avoidant attachment style.

A healthy relationship is one that is built on trust, communication, and mutual respect. It is one in which both partners feel free to express their needs and wants without fear of judgment or rejection. Both partners are able to give and receive love unconditionally. In such a partnership, there is a sense of balance and equality in the relationship, and both partners feel like they are able to grow and develop as individuals within it.

The qualities which allow interdependence in a relationship are usually associated with individuals who are securely attached. A securely attached individual tends to feel comfortable expressing their feelings and needs to their partner and confident they'll get a positive response. Aside from that, their outlook on themselves, their relationships, and the world is generally positive.

There for, to maintain a sense of self-worth in a relationship and to form better emotional intimacy with our partner, we should aim to become more securely attached individuals. Emotional support ensures that your relationship becomes a safe place, therefore we would seek to understand our behavioral patterns in it. You could do it easily by filling out this awesome attachment styles quiz.

To make a relationship work, we need to understand each other’s emotional and physical needs. By learning both partners' attachment styles, we would be able to better support each other's and maintain a healthy relationship.

Although healthy intimacy within the relationship could be easier with another partner who is securely attached, it could also be achieved with an insecure partner. If you're insecurely attached, check out the tips created for each attachment style:

  • Overcoming anxious preoccupied attachment

  • Coping with avoidant dismissive attachment style

  • How to overcome a disorganized attachment style

Interdependence & codependence; Interdependency VS Codependency

There is a big difference between interdependency and codependency and both can be seen in relationships.

Interdependency is when you have a healthy, supportive, and mutually beneficial relationship with someone. You rely on each other for support, but you are also independent individuals who can stand on your own.

Codependency, on the other hand, is an unhealthy and one-sided relationship where one person is completely dependent on the other. The codependent person has little to no sense of self and relies on the other person for their happiness and well-being. This type of relationship is often characterized by manipulation, control, and codependent behaviors. One person often feels like they need the other person to survive, which can lead to feelings of insecurity, anxiety, and low self-esteem.

If you find yourself in a codependent relationship, it is important to communicate with your partner about your needs and to make sure that you are both getting what you need from the relationship.

Coping with a codependent relationship requires commitment, and to building a healthier relationship takes time. This article might be helpful in order to make the shift:

Tips for building an interdependent relationship with your partner & avoiding a codependent relationship

  • Make time for each other: In order to maintain a close connection, it is important to set aside quality time for just the two of you. Whether it is going on regular date nights or simply taking a walk together after dinner, carve out time to reconnect and check in with each other.

  • Communicate openly and honestly: In any relationship, effective communication is key. When you feel comfortable communicating with your partner about both the good and the bad, it can help create a stronger bond. Furthermore, being open and honest about your needs and wants will help create a more interdependent relationship.

  • Be supportive: One way to build a strong partnership is by being each other’s cheerleader. Whether it is offering words of encouragement during tough times or celebrating successes together, showing support for your partner can go a long way.

  • Respect each other’s individuality: It is important to remember that even though you are in a relationship, you are still two separate people with your own unique needs and interests. Recognizing and respecting these differences can help create a more well-rounded relationship where both partners feel fulfilled.

  • Enable growth: It's important to encourage growth in your relationship by talking about your personal goals with your partner. This helps you to stay focused and motivated, and it also shows your partner that you're committed to the relationship. When you share your goals, be sure to listen to your partner's goals as well. Showing interest and support in each other's goals is a key part of a good relationship.

The Bottom line

Interdependence is a key element in all great relationships. We rely on our spouses for support, love, and guidance and in turn, they rely on us for the same things. This mutual dependence creates a sense of security and stability in our lives. It also fosters a sense of responsibility and commitment to the relationship.

Understanding each other's attachment styles and relationship patterns is an important key for such a relationship. The better we would understand the attachment style in our relationship, the better we would be able to resolve disagreements, foster a secure relationship and to prosper in it.

Interdependent relationships are supposed to enhance your life, not hold you back. If you’re dating a partner who is just coasting through life, hoping that you’ll support them without considering your needs, you might wanna talk things over to improve the situation. On the other hand, if your partner is growing and improving, but you’re also feeling encouraged to achieve your goals, you’re probably in a healthy relationship.

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