Being independent and relying on yourself to get things done is a wonderful thing, but let’s face it. It is healthy to need someone and rely on another person every once in a while. No matter how strong-willed of an individual you are, we all need some support. You should never feel ashamed about asking for help, this does not means you are dependent on another person – just that you’re human. 

Studies have shown that the most successful relationships are interdependent in nature. This means that each person understands the importance of the other, but a solid sense of self is still maintained. Practicing interdependence in any type of relationship – no matter if it is romantic, familial, or a business partnership – is the best way to stay on good terms. 

Understanding the Difference Between Interdependency and Codependency

This is a common misconception, but interdependence and codependence are actually two very different things. When you and another person are codependent, you both rely immensely on each other and it actually plays a role in determining who you are as a person. It is not healthy to need each other, even if that need is equal for both parties. 

In a codependent relationship, the boundary lines are thin and both parties will do anything to please the other person. Manipulation, blaming, controlling, and poor communication are all traits of a codependent relationship. It isn’t abnormal to put the relationship first, even before hopes, dreams, and goals. 

Traits of a Relationship Built on Interdependence

Interdependence allows each partner to be him or herself to the fullest, but also understand the significance of the relationship. There is a healthy balance of self and the other person; both partners are working towards their own goals but doing it alongside each other. Neither partner is demanding of the other, instead there is complete support and freedom. 

People often don’t understand that space in a relationship is a healthy thing. There is no need to spend every waking minute together, in fact that is unhealthy behavior. You should be able to approach each other, but also successfully spend time apart. Here are a few more characteristics of a healthy interdependent relationship:

How to Build a Relationship with Interdependence

If you are unsure of who you are as a person, engaging in an interdependent relationship can be challenging. First you need to establish who you are as a person, what your goals are, and how you hope the future to look. If you don’t have that figured out yet, your goals will start to align with your partners and this is a surefire way to become codependent or even dependent on that person. 

Even if your relationship is extremely intimate and full of passionate love, you need to maintain your sense of self by:

  • Knowing what matters to you
  • Spending time doing what you love
  • Pursuing your personal goals
  • Spending time with your own social circle