To be in harmony with others, you have to learn to understand yourself and your needs. So we wrote a post on What Is An Interdependent Relationship And How To Build One.
What is an interdependent relationship?
It is not at all romantic to associate with a partner and constantly make sacrifices for him or her. This type of relationship is called co-dependency and does not serve anyone well. There is an opposite situation – counter-dependence when one person keeps a distance and is not able to truly open up to the other. Both of these forms are abnormal: they exhaust the partners, make them unhappy and sometimes even lead to violence.
But there is a golden middle ground that allows for a balance between intimacy and self-sufficiency. Psychologists call this kind of relationship interdependent. In this case, the partners are emotionally close and trust each other completely, but retain their ” I ” and a sense of their own integrity.
How to recognise an interdependent relationship?
- You both keep your own boundaries and respect the boundaries of others. You don’t do what your partner doesn’t like but respect his or her privacy and time, and you accept his or her choices. You are treated in the same way.
- You both know how to listen actively, engage in dialogue, ask questions, spell out and accept emotions.
- You set aside time and space for personal projects and hobbies. You have things that you regularly do without a partner, and you do not keep them secret. Whether it is dancing lessons, going out with friends or just spending a few hours alone with yourself.
- You communicate honestly and openly. Without reticence or manipulation.
- You may admit that you have behaved wrongly in a certain situation, try to correct your mistakes, and not look for someone to blame. At the same time, you do not take responsibility for the actions of your partner.
- You create a safe space for each other. That is, you provide an environment in which you are not afraid to be vulnerable, to talk calmly about your feelings and to resolve conflicts. You accept each other and try to do without devaluation, inappropriate jokes, unwarranted criticism and harsh judgments.
- You participate in each other’s lives. You talk, you support, you show genuine interest and attention.
- You have adequate self-esteem. In a relationship, no one seeks to assert themselves by suppressing the other.
In this approach, the partners both need each other and retain the necessary autonomy. They have a deep emotional connection, but it is flexible enough that each remains a self-sufficient individual without losing themselves or trying to make the person they love their own property. The two have more trust and confidence, fewer pretensions, and therefore there will be fewer cracks in the relationship too. Interaction with your partner gives you joy and strength, and if conflicts and crises do occur (what can happen without it?), they can be resolved without losses.
How to build interdependent relationships?
It is important to primarily focus on yourself, not your partner, in order to build a relationship based on interdependence. Get to know yourself better, understand your needs, form boundaries. That’s what’s worth working on:
- Figure out what you like and what is important to you.
- Don’t be afraid to talk about your wants and needs and what you don’t like.
- Also, spend time with family and friends apart from your partner from time to time.
- Move towards your personal goals.
- Make time for yourself and your interests and hobbies.
- Don’t be afraid to say no.
- Don’t try to suppress yourself to please your partner.
If you have problems understanding yourself and your own boundaries, this work will be long. But it is worth the effort. When you have a clear idea of your own self, it is easier to read your partner’s needs, to give them the space they need and to build a harmonious relationship.
There is one more thing. Psychologists believe that at the beginning of a relationship, it is important to honestly answer the question of why you need this person. It happens that we start a new romance because we want to forget our former partner, raise our self-esteem, prove something to ourselves or others, get rid of loneliness. If you have similar reasons, you are in a vulnerable position from the beginning and reduce the chances of a strong equal union. It’s better to sort yourself out first and only then seek a match.