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  • Writer's pictureKennedy McLean

Putting The Relationship First

For us to really thrive as individuals, our relationship needs to be a home base, our place of refuge. We need to know it is somewhere where were are understood and cared for in the ways that work for us. As this way of relating becomes fixed, and the basis of trust is formed.

A key element of a secure functioning relationship is when partners act based on what is best for the relationship, rather than using temporary strategies that work for us as individuals. This shift might seem relatively simple but it is not easy for most couples, especially when we live in a society that over-emphasizes individualism.

Secure-functioning relationships are not a guarantee. Partners must make the decision and commitment to become a team comprised of individuals with equal power. There must be a “me” and a “we” for secure functioning to exist thereby allowing partners to thrive.

Partners who are secure-functioning are fully interdependent. The assumption is that you and your partner are different people, you have different histories and different interests. You have chosen each other, you accept each other, you are each other’s burden.

The principles of secure functioning assume that you and your partner form your own little couple bubble, a boundary, protecting your resources and sense of safety and security. This bubble allows you and your partner to deal with fears and anxiety, handle difficult situations and people, and undergo personal growth.

Secure functioning is not codependency. In a secure-functioning relationship, you and your partner assure each other’s safety and security, freeing up valuable resources necessary to be effective at everything, including the development of the self.

Codependent partners live through each other or for each other while ignoring their own needs and wants. This leads to resentment and other forms of emotional distress. Codependent relationships are fraught with unfairness, injustice, and insensitivity. Full collaboration is denied, avoided, or inconsistent. There are two people in a codependent relationship, however, they function as if they are in a one-person system that does not have room for both of them. Secure functioning relationships, on the other hand, are based on true mutuality, which allows both partners' needs and wants to be honoured.

Although our attachment styles are primarily a product of our childhood and therefore can’t be chosen, you can still create a secure functioning relationship with your partner. Interested in working together? Book a free 15-minute consultation:

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About Kennedy

Kennedy has been working in the field of addiction and mental health for 10 years. She currently runs a virtual private practice treating clients throughout Ontario.   

Kennedy's practice currently focuses on trauma, attachment, couples therapy. Associate therapists work with people of all ages experiencing a wide range of concerns such as stress, depression, anxiety, relationship distress, and grief for example.

Anything written in blog posts are the thoughts of Kennedy. They are intended to offer information that may be interesting or useful for contemplation.


Nothing written is intended to be a substitute for seeking professional help.

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