• David Strittmatter

Interdependence in Relationships - a Success Factor

Summary:

  • Functioning and prosperous relationship requires two people that are happy as independent individuals but prefer to live together in a relationship

  • When partners feel cherished and valued, the relationship becomes a safe haven and a place where the couple can be interdependent

Practical advice:

  • First you need to assess where you are right now

  • Find out what you like and what matters to you. You need to make clear what you value, what are your boundaries, what you’re passionate about, what you expect from life, and what you want in a relationship

  • Talk about your boundaries, values, and passions


Dear friend,


When you think about romantic relationships, what do you consider an indicator for a successful relationship?


In my opinion, a functioning and prosperous relationship requires two people that are happy as independent individuals but prefer to live together in a relationship since adding the respective partner to their life makes it even better.


There’re a lot of people who live in unbalanced relationships for a lifetime. Often, they don't see that by making some simple realizations and changes about the way they relate to their partner, they can change their entire life for the better.


In today’s blog article, I want to share my thoughts on why co-dependency is poison for a happy relationship, contemplate the difference between interdependent and co-dependent relationships, and write about how one can make the transition from a co-dependent to an interdependent relationship (partner).


The evil of codependency


A co-dependent relationship is a relationship where both sides aren’t complete enough by themselves so they need to find someone else out there (a family member, friend or a boyfriend/girlfriend) to fill a hole in them and make them whole.


People in this relationship tend to rely heavily on others for their sense of self and well-being. There is no ability for that person to distinguish where they end and their partner begins. Moreover, they put aside their own well-being to maintain a relationship with another.


Typical traits of a co-dependent relationship (according to therapist Darlene Lancer, JD; click here for further info):

  • Poor/no boundaries

  • People-pleasing behaviors

  • Unhealthy, ineffective communication

  • Manipulation

  • Difficulty with emotional intimacy

  • Controlling behaviors

  • Blaming each other

  • Low self-esteem of one or both partners

  • No personal interests or goals outside the relationship

Codependent people are not self-sufficient, they usually live in a state of 0 control of their lives, they have a deep victim mentality (someone else is responsible for my life), and complain quite a lot. This means that all of our needs are to be met by someone else because we, as individuals, are not capable of doing that by ourselves.


Interdependence vs Codependence - recognize the difference


To get an idea, what’s the difference between inter- and co-dependent relationships, we should clarify the term independent relationship first.


An independent relationship is a relationship where both sides are fully independent and can cover all of their needs almost by themselves. They have the deepest respect and love for themselves and are self-sufficient. Independent relationships are what happens when two people who work and grow themselves meet up and form a relationship.


Independent people, though, think they can do everything by themselves whereas interdependent people know that they can’t and carefully choose people who could have a synergistic effect on their lives.


An interdependent relationship is a relationship where both sides are self-sufficient, love, and respect themselves but decide to share their lives with someone else to create a synergistic effect which is bigger than the sum of their parts.


Interdependence, however, is not the same thing as being co-dependent either. Traits of interdependent relationships are:

  • Healthy boundaries

  • Active listening

  • Time for personal interests

  • Clear communication

  • Taking personal responsibility for behaviors

  • Creating safety for each other to be vulnerable Engaging and responding to each other

  • Healthy self-esteem

  • Being open and approachable with each other

When partners feel cherished and valued, the relationship becomes a safe haven and a place where the couple can be interdependent. This is where two people, both strong individuals, are involved with each other, but without sacrificing themselves or compromising their values. They also value a sense of self that allows them and their partner to be themselves without any need to compromise who they are or their values system.


How to make the transition


First you need to assess where you are right now. If there is too much neediness or you feel that your partner is way too independent and doesn't want to be with you, rebalancing how you relate is very important. Without it, both of you will always feel out of sync, and that isn't a great formula for a harmonious adult connection.


You need to be happy as an individual first before you can create a prosperous relationship. On the other hand, if you’re a very independent person who wants to do everything by his/her own (and want to enhance your relationship/life), you should reconsider how you view interpersonal connections. Nothing great in this world has been achieved by a single person. When you think you can live a happy life on your own (without any commitment to and trust and dependence on another person), you might be right. Yet, research shows that a healthy relationship is what makes a human being’s life really joyful.*


Build an Interdependent Relationship*


After assessing your current situation, you need to find out what you like and what matters to you. You need to make clear what you value, what are your boundaries, what you’re passionate about, what you expect from life, and what you want in a relationship.


Communication is key. Talk about your boundaries, values, and passions. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. But don’t forget to be empathic and force anything. Change will take time. Give yourself and your partner time to adjust. And don’t forget to compromise while having clear boundaries and staying within your limits.


Once you enter a relationship, don’t stop pursuing your personal goals. Make time for your hobbies and interests. Be and retain that person who your partner fell in love.


Moreover, allow your partner room and opportunity to do these same things will be the key to establishing a healthy, interdependent relationship.

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