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Valentine's Day Reflection: Independence and interdependence


As I celebrate my 1year anniversary of getting my coaching certification, I am finding a natural niche reveal itself: Relationship Coaching. I'm enjoying helping my clients sort through feelings about their current relationship and create visions for who they want to be in a partnership. It's a lot of exploration of trusting the self and trusting a partner. One of my most trusted relationship mentors, Esther Perel, says "The quality of your life depends on the quality of your relationships" so this is how I most love to serve my clients.

It's a delicate balance isn't it? Loving ourselves, understanding our own needs and also, loving our partner and understanding their needs. And where is the point where independence and interdependence meet? I see us asking that question as we evolve as individuals, as partners, and as societies. The most stunning way it played out was with the pandemic the past few years. We were constantly confronted with situations where we were asked to put the whole, our communities, before our individual needs. (for example, getting a vaccine when we feared a negative reaction) And there were times when our individual needs had to come first. (for example not getting a vaccine because of health reasons) I noticed people doing a balancing act between the two.

In romantic relationship, we are challenged to make choices which may deny our individual wants and needs in order to serve the relationship. I see clients struggle to feel comfortable with this. I also see clients struggle with putting themselves first when their partner has an opposing need and/or is hurt. Some of us seem more tied to the idea of individuality and some of us more naturally serve the relationship. Exploring whether the choices are wants or a needs or whether they represent deeply held values can be part of negotiating with your partner.

What happens in your relationship when you and your partner have conflicting needs and values?

What do you notice when you make a sacrifice for your relationship?

What happens when you deny yourself things you need and value because it seems to bring peace to the relationship?

Do you tend to be more independent or more interdependent in your relationships?

How does dependence make you feel? Is it a vulnerable or powerful state?

What are the greatest lessons you have learned from being alone?

What are the greatest lessons you have learned in a close relationship?

Do you need more alone time in a romantic relationship? How does that make your partner feel?

Do you need more connectedness in your romantic relationship? How does that make your partner feel?

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