The Difference Between Interdependence and Codependency

Interdependence and codependency are two terms that often get confused. For starters, they both involve people relying on one another for certain needs. However, there is a stark difference between the two concepts, and it’s important to understand the nuances between them.

Let’s take a look at what makes interdependence and codependency different from each other — and how you can use these concepts to foster healthier relationships.

What is Interdependence?

Interdependence is defined as an interconnected relationship between two or more parties who rely on one another for mutual benefit. In an interdependent relationship, parties have healthy boundaries and respect one another’s autonomy while also recognizing the need for dependency when necessary. As long as both parties are balanced within their own individual autonomy and their reliance on each other, this type of relationship can be beneficial to all involved.

What is Codependency?

Codependency is defined as an unhealthy reliance on someone else in which one party has a dysfunctional lack of emotional or physical self-sufficiency. In a codependent relationship, either one or both parties will sacrifice their own well-being in order to meet the needs of the other person — creating an imbalance where one partner takes on too much responsibility for the needs of the other partner. This type of relationship can be destructive to both people involved if left unchecked.

How Do I Foster Healthy Relationships?

It’s essential to recognize the differences between interdependence and codependency so that you can create healthy relationships with others around you.

To foster these types of relationships, it’s important to maintain clear boundaries so that each person feels comfortable expressing themselves without fear of being judged or controlled by the other person.

Additionally, open communication is key since it allows partners to express their needs without feeling overwhelmed or taken advantage of by the other person.

Finally, mutual respect is essential since it allows both parties to feel secure in their own autonomy while also recognizing each other’s importance within the relationship dynamic.


In summary, understanding interdependence vs codependency is crucial for fostering healthy relationships with others in your life. By establishing clear boundaries, open communication, and mutual respect within your relationships — you can ensure that you are practicing interdependency rather than falling into unhealthy patterns of codependency with those around you. With practice and dedication, any relationship can become rooted in a strong foundation of trust and understanding that benefits everyone involved!