9 Characteristics of Interdependent Relationships

by Liz Jansen

No one is an island. Not even a free-spirited, independent motorcycle rider. The relationship between motorcycle and rider teaches us how to create healthy, interdependent relationships.

Interdependent RelationshipWithout a rider, the bike just sits there. And without a bike, the rider walks. Or finds another form of transportation, which can’t help but pale in comparison to the joy and exhilaration of a motorcycle ride.

  1. Boundaries. Like a motorcycle and rider, each partner is a distinct being with clear, healthy boundaries. Each has their own source of power, origin and ability to function independently.
  2. Uniqueness. Like a motorcycle and rider, each partner has own identifiable characteristics and needs. A motorcycle is a very different entity than its rider. It looks different and operates in a completely different manner. Even though you’re headed in the same direction, riding a motorcycle any distance teaches you that the needs of both partners must be met if the relationship is going to go anywhere. Click to tweet quote.
  3. Common Ground. Unique in your own right, you are drawn together by a common purpose, cause or passion. You still have interests outside the relationship, but unite for a specific reason.
  4. Synergy. Coming together to create a third distinct being, i.e. the partnership, your energy, strength and effectiveness are far greater than the sum of the parts. This radiates beyond the time you’re together, leaving a legacy trail. Whether the relationship is personal or professional, synergy is an unmistakable byproduct of an interdependent relationship.
  5. Responsiveness. One partner’s desires cannot take precedence at the expense of the other. Quite often they’re not on the same schedule, but if one has an immediate need, it must be addressed. If your bike needs refueling, you got to stop and gas up. If you need a break, even though your bike’s gas tank may be full, it’s time to pull off the road.
  6. Communication. It takes effort from both parties to communicate in a manner that gets the point across, enhances effectiveness and averts misunderstandings. Accomplish this through active listening, focus in the moment, attention to nonverbal signals and remaining open to the needs and desires of the other.
  7. Awareness. As you get to know each other, you become more cognizant of the other’s strengths and shadows. If you’re open and receptive, by understanding each other, you also learn about yourself. This enables you to grow both as an individual and as an individual and as a partnership.
  8. Tolerance. Riding a motorcycle is not always comfortable. Nor are relationships. There are times when you need to be willing to tolerate discomfort to get to your destination, as long as safety isn’t compromised. Patience, compassion, focusing on common ground and keeping your eye on the goal will get you there.
  9. Evolution. As unique beings, you have your own life path, part of which you share. Recognize that change in one party affects the dynamics of the relationship and the road can get rough while things are resolved. As you gain awareness, self-confidence and trust in your partner, you naturally evolve to more challenging roads and situations. Your experiences together become richer and more gratifying.

An interdependent relationship is far more fulfilling than one where partners are independent, dependent or co-dependent. Looking for these characteristics and applying them to your own close relationships enriches your life, your Road and those you share it with.

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photo credit: bill barber via photopin cc


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Author, writer, student and motorcycle aficionado Liz Jansen combines her artistic mediums to create stories that inspire readers to embark on their own journey of self-discovery. No helmet or jacket required.