You are probably familiar with the term codependency but do you know what an interdependent relationship is?
It’s not the same thing. An interdependent relationship is having an emotional bond with your partner and they are your biggest emotional support.
But it is also about having boundaries and about maintaining a sense of self in the relationship dynamics.
So this type of relationship is much different than a codependent relationship.
Codependence is about relying on others for your well-being and sense of self and it creates an unhealthy relationship.
But when it comes to interdependency, you don’t look to your partner for your self-worth. It’s about creating emotional intimacy but at the same time, about taking care of your own needs and personal goals.
This type of relationship nurtures your self-esteem and self-confidence and it does so by not having you rely on your partner for it.
In this article, you are going to learn all there is about interdependence in a relationship and how to achieve it.
A lot of people have a problem with being codependent so I will keep that in mind while I explain to you how to be more interdependent.
However, I am also going to mention those of you who have the opposite problem and are extremely independent but for you to be ready to make a difference in your relationship as well as your life, you have to first understand the meaning of interdependence.
The best choice is always the middle one; not too much and not too little.
That is what interdependence is all about because it’s not good to be codependent in a relationship but being extremely independent is also bad.
You and your partner should depend equally on each other but you should be capable of being individual people as well.
Having your own dreams and goals outside of the relationship is important to you as human beings so you have to work on making that possible in your relationship.
What an interdependent relationship is and how to create it
Unlike with codependent relationships, healthy boundaries are an important part of this kind of relationship, as well as active listening.
When you are in a new relationship, it is important to set boundaries and to maintain a strong sense of self in the relationship dynamic.
Interdependency is different than codependency because your self-worth and well-being depend on you, not on your partner.
I am going to talk about the characteristics of an independent relationship as well as define an interdependent relationship and you will learn how to make your relationship better.
Any psychotherapist will tell you that this will help you achieve personal growth and this kind of relationship is good for your mental health as well as your self-confidence and self-worth.
You will also get to learn how to create this sort of relationship in your life. It will make you happier, and your relationship will be healthier.
Read on to discover all about it, and don’t hesitate to use my advice because it will really help you make your relationship better and feel good in it.
Characteristics of interdependent relationships
If we were to define an interdependent relationship, we could say that it is about letting go of codependency but it is also about letting go of extreme independence.
So it’s not the actual interdependent relationship definition… but we could say that it is the perfect middle between codependency and extreme independence.
Still, to understand the definition of an interdependent relationship, let’s look at its characteristics.
1. Healthy boundaries
Codependent relationships are unhealthy relationships because of the poor or nonexistent boundaries.
This is not good for your mental health, and any psychotherapist will tell you the same.
It is important to set boundaries, especially in the beginning, when you are just starting to get involved with someone.
2. Active listening
Interdependence in a relationship means that you actively listen to each other.
It means that you work on your emotional intimacy and create an emotional bond.
You should be the biggest emotional support to your partner, as well as the other way around.
Intimate relationships consist of partners carefully listening to each other and paying attention to one another is essential.
3. Time for personal interests
Codependency doesn’t allow for personal growth because you don’t get to have personal interests outside of the relationship but in an interdependent relationship, you get to take care of your own needs because personal goals matter.
Being in an intimate relationship is about being dedicated to one another but you also have to have time for personal interests, and a little independence is good for you.
4. Clear communication
When it comes to codependency, communication between partners is unhealthy and ineffective.
Partners in such a relationship manipulate and always blame each other.
However, an interdependent relationship is all about clear and healthy communication and everyone knows that communication is the key to successful romantic relationships.
5. Taking responsibility
Taking personal responsibility for behaviors that aren’t fair to your partner is important.
You have to learn how to take responsibility for your actions instead of placing the blame on your partner.
Most of the time, in romantic relationships, both people should share the same amount of blame for what’s wrong with it.
6. Feeling safe enough to be vulnerable
For interdependence in a relationship, it is important that both partners feel safe enough to be vulnerable in front of each other.
An interdependent relationship is about having emotional intimacy and you achieve that by being vulnerable with each other.
7. Engaging with and responding to each other
When you are engaged with what your partner is saying, you’ll be able to hear by their voice how they feel and it will help you respond accordingly.
This is important for healthy functioning of an interdependent relationship.
8. Healthy self-esteem
Interdependence in a relationship is different from codependency because neither partner has a low self-esteem but a healthy one.
And this is important because it’s essential for you to feel good about yourself in order for your relationship to work well.
9. Being approachable and open with each other
You should be approachable and open with your partner and expect the same from them.
Interdependence in a relationship is about being able to be yourself with your significant other and to talk to them openly about your feelings and they should feel close enough to you to do the same.
Interdependence in a relationship
If you want to be in an interdependent relationship, it’s important for you to know what matters to you and what you like.
Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want and spend some time with your family and friends.
It’s important that you keep pursuing your own goals outside of the relationship and to be aware of your values.
Find time to spend on your interests and hobbies, and don’t hesitate to say no. And remember, pleasing others is not what your life should be about.
Work on developing yourself because that is what interdependence in a relationship is all about.
I am going to talk about how to improve interdependence in a relationship so that you will be less codependent but let me first tell you something if you have a problem with being extremely independent instead:
Learn to depend on others. Even though you might be able to do something by yourself, try asking someone for help instead.
You don’t have to need someone to want someone. Next time you want a jar of pickles opened, give it to your man, as it will help your relationship.
Making your relationship interdependent might not be an easy or quick process but once you get to it, it will be worth the trouble.
You just have to have patience and work on it. Start developing healthier habits that will make your relationship healthier as well.
Let’s see how you will get to have interdependence in a relationship by being less codependent.
1. Don’t stop working on yourself
It’s time for you to notice and evaluate what aspects of your life could use some building up.
It takes effort for a relationship to succeed but that shouldn’t be the only aspect of your life that you put effort into.
Maybe the professional, recreational, spiritual, or social area of your life needs your attention.
You have to find meaning and purpose outside of your relationship and don’t rely on your partner to provide you with it.
It will surely make you happier and it will also improve the passion and intimacy in your relationship.
2. Go out with your friends
Your partner is your number one person you go to, but don’t put a ton of pressure on them by counting on them for everything.
It is perfectly fine to sometimes turn to other people for support, advice, and companionship.
And, as a matter of fact, it is healthy for your relationship that you regularly spend time alone with your friends.
It will help you realize that you and your significant partner don’t have to always be together and you don’t have to do everything together either.
Trust me, your partner will want to have time with their friends too.
Some time apart is good for you, so try to go out with your friends when you get the chance.
3. Try weekly check-ins
Weekly check-ins mean that once in a while, you sit with your partner to honestly discuss where you’re at, how you feel, and what is bothering you.
It is important to communicate, so there won’t be any misunderstandings.
When you two act as if you are one person, the boundaries disappear and one of you might do something that could hurt the other person because they think it’s okay when it actually isn’t; this is why it’s important to regularly discuss things with your partner so the boundaries are clear.
That way, there won’t be any misunderstandings that could cause problems in your relationship.
4. Establish rules for healthy communication
You don’t want to have power struggles in your relationship and that is why between you two there should be a healthy communication channel.
This will make sure that neither one of you has an unequal power over the other.
The rules for healthy communication are that you actively listen to one another, without interrupting or judgments.
That will make sure that you are respectful and open with one another and you will be equals once both of you feel like their feelings and opinions are valid.
5. Get real about your fears
Once in a while, get real with each other about the fears that you have.
Vulnerability and communication are important for establishing trust in your relationship.
Talk to your partner about codependent behaviors to see if you use some of them and find out if you actually have a lack of trust in yourself, your partner, or both.
Then it will be time for you to be vulnerable enough so you can express that out loud.
The deeper conversations that you will have will make you sure that your relationship is going to work out.
6. Be patient with your codependent partner
If your partner is codependent, you should be patient with them and take breaks from time to time.
Don’t condemn your partner for being codependent and needy because it could make it worse.
Interdependence in a relationship is the process of breaking with expectations and previous experiences in relationships.
Perhaps your partner has been let down or was unfulfilled in their previous relationship and it will take time to let go of that.
It probably won’t be that easy, so be generous and gentle with them.
7. Get help if your relationship is codependent
Turning your relationship from codependent to interdependent might not be that easy.
There could be a deeper issue that is causing you to feel like you would be nothing without your partner.
Therapy will help you figure out those issues and work them out. And not everyone has to go to therapy, but it sure can help everyone.
If you are always finding yourself in relationships that are codependent, therapy might be what does the trick for you, after all.