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What Are The Differences Between Codependency and Interdependency?

What Are The Differences Between Codependency and Interdependency?
What Are The Differences Between Codependency and Interdependency?

Do you know if you’re codependent or interdependent when it comes to your relationship?

When you think about a relationship in your life whether it’s romantic or even just friendly, do you take the approach of needing them or wanting them? Can you live without them? Do you feel like they complete you or do you feel like you’re on the same team together? Do you put them first or are your wants and needs both considered?

As with anything in life, there are positives and negatives to everything. It’s okay if you don’t know where exactly you fall when it comes to relationships. That being said, it’s also a good thing to figure out so you can work towards making your existing and future relationships healthier.

These are the differences between codependency and interdependency.

What is Codependency?

You may have heard of codependency before in a negative context. Codependency is often used to describe someone in a negative or unhealthy relationship. Codependency describes a relationship where an individual may feel an excessive attachment or reliance on their partner. Typically, a codependent person in a relationship will validate their self-worth and self-esteem through their partner or other relationships in their life like through family members or friends. Along with seeking validation for how they feel about themselves, sometimes their mood, emotions, and behavior are also dependent on their partner’s responses as well.

It’s extremely common in codependent relationships for an individual to neglect their own wants and needs and focus on the wants and needs of their partner.

What is Interdependency?

Interdependent relationships are used to describe relationships where partners work together and rely on one another. Interdependent relationships have more of a balance between the parties involved. These relationships are often seen as a healthier option compared to codependent relationships.

Individuals in interdependent relationships often see themselves as an individual person with and without their partner(s). They have their own thoughts, beliefs, and emotions without feeling the need to seek validation from their partner as well. Clear boundaries are essential for all healthy relationships, and these are typically clearly set and respected.

How to Shift from Codependent to Interdependent

If you see yourself as more of a codependent individual, that’s okay! A lot of relationships may sway between the two dependencies throughout the duration of the relationship. Often, couples may start off as interdependent and move towards a codependent relationship over time.

There are things that you can start to change in your lifestyle to make you become more independent. Since codependency is often caused by dismissing your own wants and needs, it’s time to put yourself first again. Set aside time for just you and your needs again. Focus on self-care.

When it comes to your relationship, make sure you’re setting and enforcing boundaries. If you want a little alone time for yourself during the week, let your partner know.

If you need help, you can seek additional support outside of your relationship. Lean on your family or friends during this time. If you’re looking for a little more support, reach out to a therapist to work through any doubts you’re experiencing.

Next Steps

There isn’t a right way or wrong way to be in a relationship. No matter if you see yourself as more of a codependent or more of an interdependent, there are both good and bad qualities of either. You don’t want to be so dependent on someone that you completely dismiss your own wants, needs, or beliefs. On the other hand, you don’t want to be so independent that you dismiss your partner’s needs. Healthy relationships require a good mix of the two.

Whether you’re interested in learning more about the different styles or if you want to improve the relationships in your life, reach out to us today for a consultation for relationship counseling.


Through Therapy Collective

Our team of culturally competent therapists is here to offer a warm and safe space to help you navigate life’s hardships with a sense of encouragement and empathy. Find out more >

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