Can There be Boundaries to Love?

Communication within relationships can be tough, especially if you bring insecurities and trust issues with you. It can be hard to know where your comfort zone is in terms of humility, intimacy, privacy, honesty and boundaries.

But a great relationship relies on all of those things, comfortably shared. So how can you learn to improve your willingness to communicate with each other, if it doesn’t come naturally to one or both of you?

Firstly, it is important that you stay honest with yourself about what you need in a relationship, and from life in general. Remember, relationships satisfy us emotionally because we provide each other with things we need: love, respect, support, commitment. When we provide each other with what we each need, we grow at the same pace because we are each at a positive level. Beyond that, there are also other needs each of you have that have to be brought out in the relationship: commitment to careers, life goals, dreams, favorite activities, etc. For example, if one partner isn’t aware that something is important to the other, imagine their surprise when suddenly, a date is postponed for a meeting with a beloved mentor!

Your needs tie into what you expect from a relationship, and what you won’t condone. If you know ahead of time that you are not comfortable with this or that (for example, if you think hard and admit that you have a tendency to be jealous and expect attention) then you can communicate that to your partner early on.

When we talk about communicating our boundaries with each other, there are some basic ideas at play: how much of your life you want to share, how much of your resources you want to become “shared” (money, for example), and how much emotion you’re willing to invest in order to make your partner happy.

Kind of like balancing your budget, you need to decide how much you’re willing to “spend” in the relationship. Now, you don’t have to be exacting and superficial on this, but you should have an idea of how much of yourself and your time you’re willing to share. Not only does this tell you something about yourself and your emotional needs regarding intimacy, it tells you how willing you are to commit to your partner in the long run. If you feel you are “investing” more than you are comfortable with just so the other person is happy, you will short-change yourself in the long run. Your relationship needs to go at a pace that seems a good fit for both of you.

When sharing your boundaries and intimacy “budget” with your partner, remember that no one can read your mind. You have to be clear, and if you really feel something is important to you, state it. Don’t hesitate to share your true feelings, although of course you want to do it with compassion and respect (as you would want done to you, if you overstep or make someone else feel uncomfortable or threatened). If you feel that something is especially hurtful toward you, say so the first time you feel wronged. State how it makes you feel and that you won’t allow it.

Lastly, of course, is to remember that your partner is doing this mental analysis of himself, as well! He’d better know his boundaries, just like you. You can encourage your partner to share their needs and desires with you, but you’ll only be convincing if you offer some honesty in return. When the two of you feel you can be honest with each other, you can quickly get to the heart of matters and conflicts. You can feel free to say, “Yes, here, this makes me uncomfortable,” or “Here, we disagree because we each come from these two opinions about gender roles.” Once the two of you are in that space of near-objectivity, you can begin to look not only around, inside, and through issues, but beyond them. You can see all the opportunities for common growth!

Many couples struggle with how to set boundaries properly and respectfully. If you find yourself in a relationship where boundaries are being crossed (and you don't know how to express your true feelings) or a new relationship where you're not sure how much of yourself to give, don't hesitate to call on one of our coaches for support. We are always here for you and your relationship needs! Visit Conflict Coach today for your private, confidential consultation.

Neil Warner

Neil Warner

I'm the “relationship guru,” and my main focus is to increase the quality of love-based relationship experiences. In this ground-breaking guide I offer useful strategies on healing a difficult angry relationship with love and compassion. You don't have to stay in an unhealthy relationship one more minute. Let us share our tools with you today. We can begin by you receiving from Conflict Coach a plan for action to change your life with new skills included. Just click this link and get started now!

 

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