Interdependence suggests that partners recognize and value the importance of the emotional bond they share while maintaining a solid sense of self within the relationship dynamic.
An interdependent person recognizes the value of vulnerability, being able to turn to their partner in meaningful ways to create emotional intimacy. 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.
Interdependence is not the same thing as being codependent. A codependent person tends to rely heavily on others for their sense of self and well-being.
Codependent relationships are not healthy and do not allow partners room to be themselves, to grow, and to be autonomous.
Codependency refers to someone who has lost their core sense of self, so that his or her thinking and behavior revolves around someone or something external, including a person, a substance, or an activity, such as sex or gambling.
Interdependence involves a balance of self and others within the relationship, recognizing that both partners are working to be present and meet each other's physical and emotional needs in appropriate and meaningful ways.
Partners are not demanding of one another and they do not look to their partner for feelings of worthiness. Interdependency gives each partner space to maintain a sense of self, room to move toward each other in times of need and the freedom to make these decisions without fear of what will happen in the relationship.
A healthy, interdependent relationship involves healthy boundaries, active listening, healthy self-esteem, healthy boundaries, looking out for each other, Openness and respect.
When partners feel cherished and valued, the relationship becomes a safe haven and a place where the couple can be interdependent. They understand that they are not alone in the relationship, can turn toward each other safely in times of need, and feel secure that their partner will be present.
The key to building an interdependent relationship is to be mindful of who you are from the beginning. Many times people are looking for or entering relationships simply to avoid feeling alone, without any personal reflection of who they are, what they value, and their goals for the relationship.
Taking time for this kind of personal reflection allows you to enter a new relationship with an awareness of self that is critical for the establishment of a relationship based on interdependence.
It is important to maintain a sense of self in your intimate relationships by:
Knowing what you like and what matters to you
Not being afraid to ask for what you want
Spending time with friends and family
Continue pursuing your personal goals
Be mindful of your values
Make time for hobbies and interests
Don't be afraid to say "no" and Don't keep yourself small or hidden to please others
Allowing your partner room and opportunity to do these same things will be the key to establishing a healthy, interdependent relationship. Starting your relationship in this way can allow for the development of a safe space for both partners to learn how to turn toward each other intimately without fear of losing themselves or being controlled or manipulated.
Relationships based on interdependence do not leave people feeling guilty or scared of their partner or the relationship, but rather, leaves them feeling safe with their partner.
Take time to reflect on who you are and what you want in your most important relationships. Being mindful of this in the dating process can help ensure that your relationship will be healthy and more solid for the long term. If you are in a relationship already, it's never too late to examine your and your partner's values to ensure that you remain aligned.