All healthy relationships have boundaries. In fact, a relationship cannot be healthy if clear boundaries are not in place and respected. Boundaries are what set the space between where you end and the other person begins.
Healthy boundaries can be challenging. If you were brought up in a family where you learned to stay within certain boundaries, there’s a good chance you learned how to set and enforce boundaries of your own. If the ways in which you were disciplined as a child weren’t clearly marked with an understanding of where the boundary was, it may be more challenging for you to identify and state your boundaries to others as an adult—or to honour and respect the boundaries of others.
Unclear boundaries can create anger or resentment in the person who is putting her or his own needs behind others. This manifests as complaining, feeling taken advantage of, or feeling powerless.
Boundaries distinguish what is your responsibility in the relationship from that of your partner’s. Each partner is responsible for their own –
Recognise and respect your own needs, desires, and comfort zone. When you allow someone else’s happiness to mean more than your own desires and needs, you’ll start to build resentment toward them, because you’re not feeling like an equal partner. If you are so concerned with pleasing others, you ignore what your own needs are – a need for respect, quiet, personal power, support, kindness, solitude, free choice, etc. It’s about defining what is acceptable in your life and what is not.
No matter how close you are, you’ll both need your own space – be it physical space within your own home or time way from each other. This could be time spent with friends, family or just time alone to chill out. Or if you don’t want to be physically touched, for whatever reason, you have the right to say no.
We can teach our partner how to treat us, by what we put up with or what we accept.
Being calm and firm when setting boundaries helps create boundaries that stick. Healthy boundaries allow us to focus on controlling what we can control—ourselves. In doing so, we also respect that our partner has their own thoughts, feelings, opinions and behaviours. We acknowledge that we are willing to respect each other’s differences, even when we don’t like the differences.
Healthy boundaries, and taking responsibility for our own boundaries, means healthy relationships.