Partners in an interdependent relationship prioritize the relationship, not the partner. Interdependence comes from a sense of safety both within yourself and the relationship. Thus, an interdependent relationship is much more fulfilling and enriching than one where partners are independent, dependent or co-dependent.
What Is an Interdependent Relationship?
Humans, in general, crave for and thrive on meaningful connections. More so in our romantic relationships. However, it is not healthy when this connection is built at the cost of our independence and individuality. Healthy dependency between partners is key to a balanced relationship and tricky to achieve. There are many ways for a relationship to succeed and many more ways for it to fail. Positive elements like trust, respect, love and compassion build a strong and emotionally stable relationship, while negative elements like suspicion and dominance tend to break most relationships. However, a lesser-known factor that is keeping couples together is interdependence. In an interdependent relationship, couples live by mutually agreed-upon rules, have identities outside the relationship, but cherish the emotional bond that binds them together.
Why Healthy Interdependence Is Needed in a Relationship
Interdependence helps the partners strike the right balance between the couple as individuals and the individuals as a couple. Instead of feeling addicted/ appended to your partner, interdependence lets you appreciate each other’s individual existence. A partner should be able to embark on a personal pursuit without threatening the foundation of the relationship. This way, both of you can feel complete as individuals while complementing each other as an interdependent partner. Interdependence in marriage allows your partner much-needed room to explore their passions and ambitions without making you feel insecure. This means you can turn to one another for intimacy and affection while not being afraid of getting control in the relationship. True interdependence comes from mutual support regarding personal space, clear communication and the negation of the need for one person to sacrifice or compromise to make the other partner happy.
Characteristics of an Interdependent Relationship
Here is a list of the characteristics that can make a perfect interdependent relationship.
Each partner in an interdependent relationship should be distinctly clear about maintaining healthy boundaries. They have their own source of power, origin and ability to function independently.
Each partner has their own identifiable characteristics and needs. They prosper by finding purpose in personal interest and meaning outside of the relationship. This way, they not only get happier but become a better-rounded person.
3. Common Ground
Even though a partner is unique in their own right, they are drawn together by a common purpose, cause or passion.
Focusing at the moment on clear and consistent communication between partners helps any relationship to flourish. It is important to listen actively without any interruption, pay attention to nonverbal cues and above all, not making any judgements. This will help cultivate openness in your relationship, get your point across effectively and avert misunderstandings.
Coming together to create a partnership needs your energy, strength and effectiveness that are greater than the self-making synergy is the by-product of an interdependent relationship. This leaves a legacy trail that radiates beyond the time you’re together.
Quite often, our personal desires may not be on the same schedule as our partner, but they cannot take precedence at the expense of the other. An immediate need must be addressed without any delay to avoid a grudge.
If you’re open, receptive and understand each other’s strength and weaknesses well, you learn more about yourself. This fosters positive growth both for an individual as well as for the partnership.
Compassion, empathy, patience and focus on each other’s needs will help your relationship to mature to its desired goal.
As you gain awareness, self-confidence and trust in your partner, you naturally evolve to more challenging situations and experience a richer and more gratifying relationship.
How Interdependence Differs From Co-dependency
Understanding the difference between interdependence and co-dependence is vital to nurturing a healthy relationship. A co-dependent relationship is marked by blame-shifting, manipulation, power struggles, a complete lack of boundaries, ineffective communication, controlling behavior and struggle with emotional intimacy. In this kind of relationship, a person tends to rely excessively on the other partner for their sense of worth and well-being, creating a sense of stagnancy. Here a person is not able to distinguish where their individuality ends, and their partners’ begins. Co-dependent relationships can thus be considered toxic in nature as it does not allow room for the partnership to evolve or the partner to be autonomous. Riding on the feelings of guilt and shame, partners often feel let down as the relationship does not shape up as they wish it to be. Whereas partners in an inter-dependent relationship get to actively choose how they are involved. The sense of self here is not necessarily dependent on the affection of your partner. If one can lean on one another for support, make important life decisions for oneself without fear of losing a relationship, you’re in a nourishing interdependent relationship that yields overall emotional well-being.
Tips to Build an Interdependent Relationship With Your Spouse
Both partners need to work consistently to build a balanced interdependent relationship. Here are six foolproof tips for nurturing healthy mutual dependency in your relationship with your spouse:
1. Know yourself well.
Most often, we are confused and complicate our relationships as we’re not sure of our identity and what we want from life. So, take time to understand yourself and be aware of what you seek in recreational, spiritual, professional, and social realms.
2. Cultivate other relationships.
Over-dependency on your partner to fulfil all your needs can put unnecessary and excessive pressure on them. Hence, to build an interdependent relationship, you must make an inner circle like friends, family and colleagues with whom you can socialize, depend on and turn to for emotional support and advice.
3. Be in tune with each other’s needs.
When one partner becomes dominant over the other without realizing it and the other invisible in a relationship, he/she can feel being trapped in a co-dependent relationship. You should be aware of the expectations, interests, and every other detail of your partner so that there are no misconceptions in day to day life.
4. Be real.
It is important never to lie or not hide anything from your partner in order to establish an open and independent relationship. This will help to build trust, engage in deeper conversations, and feel assured about the durability of the relationship.
5. Expose fears and vulnerabilities.
You cannot nurture healthy emotional interdependence without putting across your deepest fears and vulnerabilities. Let your guard down and confide your feelings to your partner so that you can connect better, develop more trust and get more comfortable with each other.
6. Say ‘no’ without fear or inhibition.
Learn to say ‘no’ when it matters. One should be able to let their heart out when they want to follow their heart. You may choose to cancel your plans to accommodate that of your partner’s, but you should not resent it at any point in future.
Interdependent relationships between romantic couples are the most basic form of relationship. When they cooperate and rely on each other socially, economically, emotionally and environmentally, they are said to be interdependent, which proves to be one of the best interdependence relationship examples. When partners feel valued, their relationship becomes a safe haven where they can be interdependent. Instead of entering into relationships simply to avoid loneliness, it is important to be mindful of our values and goals for that particular relationship to ensure that it will be more stable and healthy for years to come.