The Difference Between Healthy Independence and Interdependence

HEART Connection Center –Difference Between Healthy Independence and InterdependenceIt’s that time of year again. Last week we  celebrated  freedom and independence in America. Fireworks, grilling, beach and pool time, and spending time together with family friends is what the holiday is all about. Now that we have  grilled the  burgers and enjoyed the holiday celebration, I want to take some time and reflect on the difference between healthy independence versus being interdependent in your relationship.

Is being independent a good thing? Yes of course. You can’t depend on your partner to be your only source of happiness, enjoyment or fun. It’s important to have your own friends that are separate from the relationship as well as having mutual friends. Having your own friends will give you a source of support, fun and comfort in good times and bad times.

You need to have your own passions or hobbies that are only for you to enjoy on your own such as exercising, fishing, or a game you play with friends. Going out as a couple and having date. nights is great and necessary for your Connection but you also need to go out on your own with girl friends or guy friends to have some fun with them. These examples are ways that you can have your own independence within your relationship.

Now, of course you are married or in a relationship and you have needs. It is not a bad thing to “need” your spouse. In Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, we call this interdependence. This means that you are both independent, but need your partner in an emotional way. We need our spouses to be there for us, to comfort us, and to be responsive to our emotional needs. When we need to talk, or cry or share something that matters to us, we need our partner to be there.

We want our partner to be there. If our spouses are there for us, we feel important, loved and supported. If they aren’t, then we feel lonely, unappreciated and sad. This interdependence is the key to building a strong emotional connection that is the foundation for long lasting love.

It feels wonderful when our spouses respond to us in way that makes us feel loved, cared for, and important. It also makes us feel heard and understood. However, if you feel your emotional connection is not that strong, and you have been feeling lonely, sad or misunderstood most of the time, please give me a call at 561-542-2466 or contact me here. I would be happy to help you rebuild that connection with your mate and rekindle the love that brought you together. There is hope and couples counseling can help you feel loved again!