The key to building an interdependent relationship is to be mindful of who you are from the beginning. Many times people are looking for or entering, relationships simply to avoid feeling alone, without any personal reflection of who they are, what they value, and their goals for the relationship. Taking time for this kind of personal reflection allows you to enter a new relationship with an awareness of self that is critical for the establishment of an interdependent relationship.
Licensed psychotherapist Sharon Martin, LCSW suggests it is important to maintain a sense of self in your intimate relationships. She suggests the following ways to maintain a sense of self in a relationship:
- Knowing what you like and what matters to you
- Not being afraid to ask for what you want
- Spend time with friends and family
- Continue pursuing your personal goals
- Be mindful of your values
- Make time for hobbies and interests
- Don’t be afraid to say “no”
- Don’t keep yourself small or hidden to please others
Allowing your partner room and opportunity to do these same things will be the key to establishing a healthy, interdependent relationship. Starting your relationship in this way can allow for the development of a safe space for both partners to learn how to turn toward each other intimately without fear of losing themselves or being controlled or manipulated. Interdependent relationships do not leave people feeling guilty or scared of their partner or the relationship, but leaves them feeling safe with their partner.
Take time to reflect on who you are and what you want in your most important relationships. Being mindful of this in the dating process can help ensure that your relationship will be healthy and more solid for the long term.