How to Build An Interdependent Relationship With Your Partner

The majority of us value connections with other people, especially in our romantic relationships. In reality, we are wired to connect, allowing us to form bonds and feelings of affection with our loved ones. The long-term success of relationships largely depends on the level of our emotional connection to one another.


Suppose you feel comfortable with your loved one and are confident they are there to get and provide emotional support without compromising your boundaries and needs, mental health, or sense of autonomy; this is described as an interdependent partnership.

Do you know the expression, “It takes two to tango?”


It’s all about maintaining and establishing a healthy, close relationship with your partner. When we think about our ideal relationships, we usually imagine a fantastic, intimate, and long-lasting relationship with our most important person. What can we do to build this type of connection? A warm, secure, long-term connection with someone who is there for us in the long run?

A relationship that allows us the ability to be who we are, a relationship that encourages our growth and gives us the flexibility to work with one another? One of the most critical aspects is understanding the distinction between codependence and interdependence.

Independence and codependence fall at opposite ends of the continuum, and interdependence is the golden zone that combines the best aspects but what exactly is it, what makes it so important, and how can partners integrate interdependence into their relationships?

What is an Interdependent Relationship?

Interdependent relationships are emotional bonds between two individuals who depend on each other to provide support and satisfaction without losing their individuality.


Interdependent relationships are an example of a relationship in which both partners acknowledge the importance of their emotional connection and have a strong sense of their individuality independent of their relationship.

We are all raised believing that our love relationships should “complete” us. You can blame Greek mythology for this.

According to the mythology of the ancient Greek philosopher Plato, humans were born with four legs, four arms, and heads with two faces. Fearing their powers, Zeus split them in two and sentenced them to a life of searching for their “other half”.

However, Greek mythology doesn’t reflect real life, and in actuality, it requires two whole human beings who are well-rounded for long-term relationships to work. This is the premise behind interdependence.

Interdependent relationships foster individuality and emotional intimacy. Partners in a relationship can create a life based on their mutual values, interests, and goals without losing their identity. They are aware of who each other is in all aspects of their lives.

Interdependence enables partners to develop emotional intimacy while being respectful and accepting of one another as individuals. There is no need to alter the other! You love your partner for who they are, and they don’t consider it necessary to change your beliefs, values, or opinions to ensure the relationship works.

In a healthy intimate relationship, you and your partner can rely on each other for anything. You cherish your time together; however, you also recognize the importance of relationships that are outside your romantic relationship (with friends, family, hobbies, etc.). You don’t depend on each other to feel a sense of self-worth.

Things You Should Note About Interdependent Relationships:

  • Interdependent relationships place equal weight on their bonds and their individuality.
  • Transparent communication, honesty, mutual respect, and security are all vital aspects of an interdependent relationship.
  • Make time to work on your own goals, be clear with your partner regarding your desires, and be a good listener to build interdependence in your relationship.

The Difference Between Interdependence and Codependence

Interdependence is not the same as codependence, which is very harmful to romantic relationships. In codependent relationships, partners are unable to grow as individuals, and there is no sense of autonomy. They rely too heavily on one another for their self-esteem.

People who depend on one another for self-worth usually have low self-esteem and instead depend on their partner to feel valued and appreciated. They aren’t likely to spend much time outside the relationship, and their family, friends, and personal interests are usually put aside.

The unhealthy relationships that codependency creates limit both parties’ ability to be who they are to develop and lead more independent lives. Partners suffering from codependency issues can also be unbalanced and often fight for control or power over each other and their relationship. Usually, there is just one “giver” and one “taker.”

Characteristics of a codependent Relationship include:

Why Is Interdependence Healthy In A Relationship?

Interdependent relationships are described by elements such as open communication, mutual help, and allowing personal space for one another. These characteristics are crucial for a relationship to last and make interdependence one of the most important aspects of a romantic partnership.

In an intimate relationship, one partner can tell the things that their beloved would like. The partners don’t try to make each other perform something they do not like, and there aren’t as many disputes.

Interdependence fosters maturity and removes the necessity for one to compromise or sacrifice to satisfy the other.

Research has revealed

Couples who are emotionally interdependent have better overall well-being than individuals who are not interdependent. The study also found that couples with positive emotional interdependence had higher levels of satisfaction and fewer emotional concerns. It’s the perfect balance between giving and receiving. 

A few benefits of having an interdependent relationship are:

You can Rely on Your Partner

Suppose you’re in a strong interdependent relationship. In that case, it is clear that you can trust your partner and count on them to support you mentally, emotionally, or even physically.

They’ll have your back; you can count on them during difficult situations.

You Feel Safe to Be Yourself

In the context of a healthy relationship, there’s no need to present the appearance of someone else or pretend to be someone else. You’ll feel secure being the real you with your partner and know they’ll be there for you and love your individuality no matter what.

You Have Your Own Space

While you depend on and rely upon your partner, you  maintain individuality within your relationship. You’ve got your own hobbies, interests, and friends, and you know that’s fine.

There is a Sense of Equality in the Relationship

Interdependence can foster a sense of solidarity and equality in relationships. It’s like being on the same team and working to achieve the same objectives. No one has the title of “in charge” or “better than” the other; you’re both equal.

What are the types of Interdependence Relationships?

The interdependency of relationships could be of three kinds:

Social Interdependence

Social Interdependence is the term used to describe the integration of cultures from two or more. Social interaction sets specific objectives of shared interests so that one individual’s activities also affect the other within the relationship.

Social interdependence may be any of the following:

Positive Social Interdependence

This type of interdependence happens when two people work together to accomplish common goals.

Negative Social Interdependence

This interdependence is evident when one person within a relationship seeks to obstruct the achievement of others’ objectives and vice versa.

Emotional Interdependence

The emotional bond between partners is vital to a successful romantic relationship. Dynamic interdependence happens when both parties are connected by their feelings.

Economic Interdependence

This interdependence occurs when each partner is equally involved in crucial life decisions. Each can choose to work at any job and contribute to the family’s earnings.

Characteristics of an Interdependent Relationship

A healthy interdependent relationship comes with a variety of features. Here are some points to look for in a healthy relationship that isn’t dependent.

  • Healthy boundaries
  • Active listening
  • Time to pursue personal interests
  • Clear communication
  • Accepting personal responsibility for actions
  • Ensuring each other’s safety to avoid being vulnerable
  • Responding to and engaging with each one
  • Positive self-esteem
  • Being approachable and open to one another

If partners feel loved and valued, the bond is a secure haven and a space for interdependence. They understand that they are not alone in the relationship; they can look to each other in times of need and be confident that their loved ones will be there.

How to Build an Interdependent Relationship

The most important thing to build an interdependent relationship is to remain aware of who you are from the very beginning. Taking time to reflect on yourself allows you to start a new relationship with an awareness of self that is essential for creating a relationship built on interdependence.

What are the most effective methods to establish interdependence within your relationship? Here are some suggestions:

Practice Self-Awareness

Sometimes, people get into romantic relationships to avoid feeling alone or worthless. The bottom line is that you don’t have to depend on someone else to provide the confidence you seek. You should seek it within yourself!

You must conduct some serious self-reflection to keep a healthy sense of self-worth in your relationships with loved ones. 

  • What is most important to you? 
  • What are your most essential values and beliefs?
  • What interests or hobbies will you keep pursuing, even if you’re engaged?

Before you commit to a partner, you must be committed to (and be content with) the person you are. If you’re not, you’ll end up dependent on your companion in an unhealthy manner, leading to a relationship of codependence.

Start with the individual work

A good partner will respect who you are as an individual, but that doesn’t mean they can do the work for you. Self-worth must be part of you and distinct from the relationship.

It can be a challenge since most people care about what their partners think of their image and strive to live up to their ideals. The best approach to this issue is to ask yourself: 

  • How would I see myself if I wasn’t in a relationship?
  • Do I feel as confident and secure without validation from an intimate partner?

Doing individual work is part of healthy internal growth and will enrich your relationship, too. Anxiety and reliance can be less of a threat if both partners are comfortable in their private lives.

Set Personal Goals

In every healthy, interdependent relationship, partners prioritize interests and hobbies outside of the relationship. You and your partner are committed to each other’s goals instead of stifling one another behind.

One of the main aspects of interdependence is not losing the persona you’ve always been means maintaining your career in a steady state, trying out new hobbies, or even pursuing your passions.

It’s impossible to maintain your self-esteem if you’re not spending a bit of your time doing activities you enjoy.

Communication is the key

Communication is essential in any relationship since it is the only way to avoid miscommunication. Healthy communication can solve any urgent issue. Interdependent partners have regular conversations with one another and are active listeners. Being able to communicate freely isn’t a one-way road.

In a relationship of interdependence, each partner puts all efforts to communicate and create a secure space to share easily.


Interdependent relationships require active listening.

Active listening can make a person feel heard and appreciated. It is good that people in interdependent relationships are more likely to connect with their companions and pay attention to the things their partner has to say. 

Spend Some Quality Time Together

Spending time in peace and silence can help build an enduring bond. It’s about shutting off the television and putting your phone in a separate room, and taking time to concentrate on one another.

An excellent way to accomplish this is to schedule an hour or more each day to discuss your thoughts, feelings, and the current situation you’re experiencing.

Quality time doesn’t need to be all about seriousness. It is also possible to make use of this moment to enjoy games, go on a date, enjoy yourself, or take part in an activity both of you enjoy!

You must be making an effort to connect with one another on a deeper level.

Nurture Friend and Family Relationships

It’s normal to want to spend all your time with your partner, but it’s crucial to maintain your relationships with your family and friends. Remember, they were around even before your relationship and will be around if it doesn’t work out.

If you decide to cut off relatives and friends when you’re with someone (whether intentionally or not), you’ll soon become codependent. You shouldn’t depend on your partner to satisfy all your needs, and you require the support which comes from your family and friends.

Have a blend of mutual and separate friendships

In terms of mutual and personal interests, keeping both in your other relationships is equally vital.

Our social circles often evolve with the relationship. When partners introduce each other to family and friends, it creates new bonds that connect their lives more closely. 

The creation of a safe space

In an interdependent relationship, the partners create a secure space to share their vulnerability and freely express themselves without fear of repercussions. Instilling a sense of security to express themselves without fear freely can help enhance the bond that can help two people create an authentic relationship. Security nets make partners more approachable to one another.

Be Vulnerable About Your Fears

Interdependence lets you share your vulnerabilities without worrying about being judged or criticized. The reason? You’re content and satisfied with your self-image, and your partner is too.

In an interdependent relationship, you can turn to each other for love or support without fear of falling out or being manipulated.

Don’t Be Afraid to Say “No” – Set Clear Boundaries

  • Does your partner know what you’re most comfortable with and what’s not?
  • Do they know what triggers you and your language of love?

If they don’t, it’s time to review your boundaries. If you can maintain a healthy self-awareness level, you know it’s important to say “no” and do it meaningfully. By saying no, you can establish boundaries in your relationship, which is essential to a healthy relationship.

Boundaries can sound negative, but they’re actually beneficial! They allow you to know each other better and meet your needs. This can help strengthen your relationship; In the absence of boundaries, you begin wandering into the territory of people-pleasing and can lead to an unhealthy, dependent relationship.

Be Willing to Compromise

In every relationship, there will come a time when you’ll need to make compromises. It could be giving up on the next movie you want to watch or making a major decision about where to reside; the ability to compromise is an essential aspect of an interdependent relationship.

It will only lead to conflict and resentment if you’re always trying to get your way or insist on doing things your way. 

Speak Up For Yourself

Being able to say “no” in your relationship is equally crucial to voice your values, beliefs, and personal opinions. Your partner loves so many things about you, and having a mind of your own is almost certainly one of them!

When you stop standing up for yourself in a romantic relationship, you stop being true to yourself. As much as you and your partner might have in common, having your differences is normal and healthy. The key is to embrace and appreciate them!

Do Not Judge Each Other

In an intimate relationship, it is important to keep in mind that your partner isn’t perfect, and they’ll make mistakes just like we make mistakes.

It is, therefore, essential to be gentle with them and realize that everybody is human. If we keep this in mind, avoiding judging our partners whenever they make mistakes is much simpler.

Handle Conflict in a Constructive Way

Every relationship will have its ups and downs, but how you manage conflicts is the most important thing.

A constructive approach to resolving conflict involves discussing issues and pursuing solutions as a team. It is crucial to keep a healthy relationship.

In unhealthy relationships with codependents, Conflict is usually handled in a way that is not healthy, like passive-aggressive behaviour, stonewalling, or outright aggression. It can lead to anger and hurtful feelings later on.

Take Care of Your Own Physical and Emotional Needs

Taking care of your physical and emotional needs may seem selfish, but it’s essential for creating a healthy, interdependent relationship. 

If you take care of yourself, you’re showing self-care to your partner and demonstrating to them how much you value your well-being. 

Some practical ways to look after yourself include sleeping enough, eating healthy food, working out, and establishing a routine for your skin.

It is also possible to practice self-care by making time for yourself each day, even if it’s only twenty minutes of reading or having a bath.

Appreciate Your Partner

Always be grateful for what the person you love most does for you in small and big gestures. If they take the time to make a special gesture for you, tell them you are grateful for it. A simple “thank you” can go far.

Reminding your partner of your gratitude will make your partner feel better and encourage positive behaviour to come in the near future. It signifies that you pay attention to everything they do and appreciate their efforts.

Be Each Other’s Biggest Cheerleaders

A cheerleader can motivate others by letting them know that they can succeed. As partners, be each other’s number one fan. Encourage one another to follow their goals and dreams.

This doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything your partner does, but you should be there for them in good and bad times.

Read More: Coercive control: Signs your partner is trying to control you and How to Get Out

Read More: What is Gaslighting: How to spot the signs and shut it down

Read More: What Is Self-Sabotage? Signs and Behavior: What Causes It and How to Stop It


Interdependency-based relationships do not make people feel guilty or afraid about their partners or relationship, but rather make them feel secure with the person they share it.

Make time to think about your personality and what you are looking for in your most significant relationships. Making this a priority in the dating process can ensure that the relationship is healthy and lasting for the long haul. If you are in a relationship already, there is always time to examine your values to ensure that they remain aligned, as well as the state of your relationship with your partner.

Skills for Healthy Romantic Relationships | Joanne Davila | TEDxSBU
You May Also Like