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Me First! Interdependent Relationships

    What kind of relationship are you in? Maybe you've never even considered your role. Whether you are dependent, co-dependent, or interdependent, all relationships need balance and communication. Monique Mitchell delves into the meaning of interdependency and how to make it work for you.

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    Do you compromise your own happiness to make other people in your life happy? Do you believe that your significant other is what makes your life complete? If you answered “no” to those questions, then you may be in, or open to the idea of, an interdependent relationship. Several studies, including those conducted at Northwestern University and Harvard University, indicate that interdependent relationships, while uncommon, is the epitome of a balanced relationship. In this type of a union, each person understands that “me” is equally as important as “us”. Nonetheless, once each person has developed a sense of personal maturity, both conclude that neither person will take on the entire financial or emotional burden of the relationship.

    Dependency roles

    In all types of relationships there are some people who are dependent, independent, co-dependent and interdependent. Firstly, the dependent person in a relationship is someone who spends much of his or her time deciphering who assumes responsibility of whom. The independent person in a relationship, on the other hand, tends to spend much of his or her time away from the other person, while the co-dependent person usually puts aside his or her own well-being to accommodate a significant other. And lastly, there's the interdependent person—a person who does not display neediness and who does not assume total power in the relationship.

    Researchers believe that being responsible for your own identity, security, and freedom are beneficial to maintaining a successful interdependent relationship. While this type of couple has to focus on separate wants and needs, a simultaneous commitment to what is best for both partners is essential. Forming the relationship with a person who is at the same stage of personal maturity, while fostering clarity and a true commitment to partnership, are additional key elements to this sort of relationship.

    Some celebrity couples also participate in being interdependent. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are a great example, due to both maintaining successful careers and equally taking responsibility of their relationship and family life.

    Building a strong union

    Understand that while the ideals of interdependent relationships focus on personal growth and shared responsibility, it would be difficult to withhold some exchange of power. Couples, in general, have to trust one another, regardless of the amount of responsibility one or both may shoulder. Interdependence is developed through a shared dedication to self-improvement, open communication and honoring personal boundaries. Therefore, interdependent couples have to work together to build a union that is greater than the sum of its parts.

    What couples like Angelina and Brad appear to do successfully is share a mutual respect for one another. This level of appreciation enables each person to work on personal goals and issues. Make sure to embrace what is important to the other partner and clarify expectations. Keep commitments as each person's self-awareness and self-esteem continues to evolve.


    Every couple specifies its own set of rules for their relationship—simply put, what works for one couple may not work for another. So, prioritize the things that will help keep your relationship strong. Communicate, early in your partnership, individual values and individual definitions of what is needed for your relationship to work. Listen for any shared set of emotional, economical and moral principles. Having beliefs and intentions in common, while also establishing precise roles and setting guidelines that both people will be held accountable for, will strengthen the success of the interdependency in your relationship.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth, the probability of a first marriage lasting at least 10 years is between 68% and 70%, while a first marriage lasting at least 20 years is between 52% and 56%. The CDC's survey also indicates that educational attainment, employment status and premarital cohabitation are likely factors, in influencing a divorce or separation. Whether or not your interdependent partnership results in matrimony, the same standards of commitment to the relationship and cultivating self-identity still apply.

    Being on the same accord, regarding life-changing decisions, is a must. The aforementioned factors of divorce and separation have to be established prior to the relationship. And like every other element in an interdependent relationship, both parties have to agree upon any transitions made, before and after the relationship has begun. The couple has to accept that change is a reciprocal obligation. Both partners' willingness to change, whether for individual or shared reasons, is for the betterment of the relationship. And the couple's investment in making positive changes will result in the relationship being satisfying and healthy.

    Relationship prosperity

    Undoubtedly, relationships are a challenge. By understanding that true love does not always conquer all, your 'happily ever after' journey will not be as rocky and far-fetched. Expecting for your mate to rescue you, rather than allowing him or her to support you and your plans for the future, will cause disparity over harmony. Therefore, devoting time and energy into your own improvement will add prosperity to your relationship. Remember that your issues are your own to work through. If you choose a mate wisely, you will be afforded the compassion and patience that you need. Several studies report that equality in a relationship is a factor in successful relationships. If you and your significant other can handle being on the same playing field, then interdependency is what will work best for the two of you.

    Monique Mitchell is a general article writer with a professional background in nearly everything. A native, and current resident, of Chicago, Monique has covered topics ranging from relationships and entertainment to technology and post-graduation career tips. Now focusing more on dating and relationship blogging, Monique aims to inform readers on issues around the emotional and sexual health of people in the LGBTQ community. In her spare time, Monique enjoys cooking, reading, and watching romantic comedies and "Trash TV".
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