What Does Interdependence Look Like in a Relationship?

A healthy sense of self-esteem can help decrease dependence in a relationship.
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Throwing yourself head and heart first into a relationship, clinging to your partner's every word, isn't healthy. Likewise, the opposite end of the spectrum -- being completely independent -- won't work either. Interdependence is a happy medium where you both depend equally upon one another, offering the balance that a successful relationship requires.

1 No Self Sacrifice

While selflessness is a virtue, self sacrifice for your partner isn't. Interdependence allows each partner to enter into a relationship without sacrificing who they are as individuals, asserts psychotherapist Barton Goldsmith in his article "Interdependence Day(s) -- How to Create a Balanced Relationship" on the "Psychology Today" website. For example, in a dependent relationship you might give up your favorite sport to start playing the one that your girlfriend enjoys. When you're in an interdependent relationship, you can continue to play football, your girl can still play tennis and both of you can try skiing together.

2 Constant Communication

Communicating your wants and needs is an essential ingredient in a romantic relationship, notes Stayteen.org, in the article "What's Your Relationship Reality?" An interdependent relationship requires both you and your partner to communicate your feelings and make changes as necessary. This doesn't mean that only one of you makes an adjustment based on the other one's needs. Instead, you both have to work together and collaborate on solutions to your relationship issues. For example, if you like going out to the clubs and your guy would rather stay at home, talk to each other about the problem and compromise on one night out and one in on the weekends.

3 Mutual Support

Your girl comes home from work and tells you she just got fired. She cries on your shoulder as you comfort her -- and you wonder if she is being clingy or dependent on you. As long as comforting her while she cries isn't a daily occurrence, then most likely she's not dependent. A week later your best bud stops talking to you over what you thought was a minor spat. Now it's time for your girlfriend to support you. When each partner is there for the other -- providing emotional support -- you have interdependence, notes psychiatrist Mark Banschick in his article "Overcoming Neediness" on the "Psychology Today" website.

4 No Neediness

It's been four whole hours since you last saw your guy and you can't stop thinking about calling or texting him. When you "need" to see, or hear from, your partner constantly, you're in a dependent relationship. In an interdependent relationship you enjoy seeing the other person, minus the neediness. For example, you get butterflies when you're around Jimmy and always enjoy your dates. That said, when you aren't with him you don't obsess about seeing him again and can stop yourself from texting him every other minute just to check in.

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.