You need to need your partner: The necessity of interdependence for true intimacy

You need to need your partner: The necessity of interdependence for true intimacy

 We are in a culture that praises independence. When a person has the ability to be self-sustaining and can stand alone it is seen as strength. However, being completely independent in the context of a relationship can have a negative effect on the relationship. I have been to see more and more that people are identifying the idea of “needing someone” as a negative, and have instead replaced the word need with want. “I want you, but I don’t need you.”

The meaning of co-dependence and interdependence is sometimes confused to be the same, yet they are different. Co-dependence is defined as “of or relating to a relationship in which one person is physically or psychologically addicted, as to alcohol or gambling, and the other person is psychologically dependent on the first in an unhealthy way.” Interdependence is defined as “the quality or condition of being interdependent, or mutually reliant on each other. Relying, leaning-on, or counting on someone else requires trust and vulnerability. In order to truly connect with someone you have to “allow them access into the core of your emotional- self. This step is difficult and requires time and patience, however, the payoff is worth it.

When two people are truly intimate, they are able to admit their weaknesses, their fears, and their needs to each other. Saying, “I need you,” can feel scary but it knits you together, it creates roots in the relationship that creates trust when the needs are met. Sharing a need and meeting a need is a beautiful exchange. When your partner says they need you it’s a gift to be cherished, so try your best to meet that need. If there are challenges in meeting each others needs, options can be explored and compromises can be made. As we grow as individual people, our needs change and evolve, which can make this process challenging. The work is in staying connected and understanding your partners’ needs while making sure you are expressing your own. When you are interdependent, it will strengthen your relationship. Love. Need. Be dependent. Be dependable. This is true intimacy.

-Diana Chaparro-Clark M.S. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist