An interesting topic keeps arising with both my Relationship Coaching clients, the brave couples and empowered individuals who are in relationships AND my Love Coaching clients, the incredible fierce women who are out there in the wilds of the dating jungle.
What is a healthy relationship?
Whilst there are as many ways to flesh out the many facets and unique paths towards a ‘healthy relationship’ there are a few basic fundamental points that are universal and if we want the journey of love and partnership to thrive and be a well paved smooth road, we need to navigate the three primary relationships highways, with great care.
One of the basic principals of coaching, for me the coach, is to never assume you know, what I know. Confession time! I don’t always get that right. And over the last few weeks, it’s become apparent that this very topic is one of the ways, I’ve fallen down, as a coach. And today, I RECTIFY THAT! WOOT!
There are three major categories that relationships (and most people who engage with ANY kind of relationship) fall into; Independent, Co-dependent and Interdependent.
This is not one of those millennial races, where every one get’s a prize… there is one clear winner for the best and healthiest type of engagement in relationships.
In today’s LOVE LETTER I am going to present the big three, and YOU, dearest one, are going to tell me, what you think is the #1 health winner. Hop on, LET’S RIDE!
Co-dependent relationships are one of the most common ailments I come across in my coaching practice.
Here is the dictionary definition of CO-DEPENDANT.
Codependency is a type of dysfunctional helping relationship where one person supports or enables another person's drug addiction, alcoholism, gambling addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under-achievement.
Right now, you might be thinking OH SNAP, BEEN THERE BOUGHT THE T SHIRT!
Or you might be saying, Hey drug addiction>? Mental health? That’s not been my relationship experience!
Let me drill down on the simpler yet deeper explanation of co-dependency.
I am only okay, if you are okay.
My well being is directly influenced by your well being.
I am not sure where I end, and you begin.
Co-dependent relationships are toxic for ALL who are involved, it enables the person we are trying to fix and it stifles our own happiness and ability to self create happiness from within.
Dictionary definition of INDEPENDENT = Free from outside control. Not depending on another for livelihood or subsistence.
Whilst this does affect more of my single Love Coaching clients, it’s also not uncommon with those in relationships. Independence is not a bad thing. In fact this feminist LOVES her some independence! Hellllo free from outside control! YASSS!
HOWEVER when we are using independence to self sustain 100% because we are convinced others will disappoint us, OR we feel that no one can be relied upon to do the job and/or do it right AND/OR in general are using independence to shield our own control issues… we lose out on allowing others to provide for us.
Human beings often connect most meaningfully in the exchange of love and through acts of contribution. If we are too independent to truly receive from others, we in effect make them redundant. And most people want to feel they play an active, impactful role on others lives. That they can contribute sustenance, whether that be emotional, mental, spiritual or even financial.
People are generally drawn to go where they are needed most. In fact, that’s often how we define a ‘good person’.
Definition = mutually dependent; depending on each other creating a framework of partnership.
My personal definition for independent? I want AND need you in my life, but not to have a life.
Interdependent relationships mean relying on each other for mutual support. Adding to someone’s happiness, however not being the sole font for that person’s happiness. We are open to give and receive within healthy boundaries, where asked, where appropriate whilst still allowing and even expecting self-sufficiency, too. Interdependent t partnerships do not necessarily mean everything is split down the middle 50/50, but instead means that each individuals assets and limitations are valued and utilized for an overall sense of equality.
You can be in an interdependent relationship where one spouse is the overall ‘bread winner’ whilst the other spouse is provides the highly valuable ( yet wildly un monetized) service of childcare. In a healthy interdependent relationships, those roles do not have to correlate with traditional gender roles, and yet they still can, if that is what works best for your relationship.
You can be in an interdependent relationship and still put concerted effort in to brightening your partners day, or booking those concert tickets you know will bring them joy but you don’t feel you HAVE to do those things in order to be liked, loved desired by your partner OR that if you don’t ‘make them happy’ they won’t BE happy.
I do hope the above offers you a very clear and easy to apply standard for relationships.
WHICH ONE DO YOU THINK IS THE WINNER FOR HEALTHIEST RELATIONSHIP OF THE YEAR?
And, where do you see where you have been curating, participating and harming yourself and others in your past relationship? OR, your current one, my dear?
Can’t wait to hear your responses in the comments!