Three words often cause various degrees of confusion when it comes to relationships: co-dependence, independence, and interdependence. Although there might not be unanimous agreement among experts on the pros and cons of each one, from an altogether pragmatic standpoint let’s consider the possibility that all three of them play different roles in relationships.
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In one way or another co-dependence is a wholly dysfunctional manner of being in relationship. It entails an inability or unwillingness to do anything without the approval or consent of your partner, or, conversely, anything and everything your partner does has a direct impact on you, usually in a negative manner.
Couples who claim to have successful relationships will stipulate that co-dependence is not part of their dynamic at all. Their partner has an influence on them, yes, but never to the point of dictating what to do or how to be.
Co-dependence ought to be consciously avoided, or at the very least quickly removed as a factor in your relationship. If, however, you find yourself in a co-dependent situation, you need to find a manner of dealing with it as quickly and effectively as possible, even if at the cost of the relationship itself.
Unfortunately, too many individuals find themselves trapped in such debilitating relationships and don’t know how to get out. If you are one such individual, please reach out to professionals who are available to help you. Your well-being depends on it.
Independence is a highly desirable characteristic if you seek to access your personal power and stand firmly on your own two feet. It’s a testament to the degree of self-sufficiency and self-sovereignty you can attain, becoming in essence a “one-person show” – written, acted, directed and produced by you.
You deserve kudos for creating success according to your own terms, in the manner most suited to your needs, and without any approval from others.
In the context of relationships, however, independence is too often overused and misused. If you say, “I want to be in a relationship, but I still want to (fill in the blank),” you are revealing that in some circumstances your need for independence may end up trumping your desire for a relationship.
If your independence is counterproductive to committing fully and completely to a relationship, then you likely are not ready or willing to embrace the dynamics of being in a couple.
You might want to give yourself more time as a single person in order to fulfill your need for independence. Or you may want to discern for yourself, perhaps with the help of a coach, how much of your singleness you are willing and ready to give up in order to enter into a relationship.
When your desire for a relationship is greater than your need to be single or independent, then you will be ready to assume your role in a successful couple.
Interdependence conveys the notion that two individuals are connected by a thread of mutuality and reciprocity in what they do and why they do it. Even though they remain self-sufficient in their own right as individuals, their respective autonomy does not ignore or exclude the interests of their partner but takes those interests into account and considers them significant factors in their decision making.
Interdependence is a derivative of the sentiment, “I cannot have a relationship with you by myself.” Each partner’s belonging into their relationship is contingent on the other partner’s belonging into the same relationship.
Interdependence is a mysterious and often elusive blending of two partners’ respective self-sovereignty into a willing complicity that forms the foundational synergy of the couple. It is a conscious choice made every day by both partners to live in relation to each other, because of each other and for each other.
It is perhaps one of the key ingredients to successful relationships. Paradoxically, perhaps, the parameters of interdependence are discussed and agreed upon by the partners in an interdependent manner. Such a dynamic reveals to you that you are indeed on the road to a successful relationship.
And so, the real challenge for many people is to understand the impact of these three factors, and to navigate through the dynamics of a relationship accordingly. In a real sense, your goal ought to be to start the right kind of relationship, with the right person, for the right reasons.
You need to recognize that co-dependence is not the answer for someone who cherishes independence, but neither is independence the answer for someone who seeks a relationship. A healthy level of conscious interdependence is the most effective and fulfilling avenue to the actualizing your dream of having a fulfilling relationship.
By becoming interdependent with your partner, you in essence become self-sufficient as a couple, and once you achieve this self-sufficiency, the possibilities inherent in your relationship are limited only by your imagination.