Boundaries in a relationship can be a tricky thing. Depending on the age and strength of the relationship, it can be challenging to figure out exactly how to address where your boundaries are in a way that won’t offend or chase your partner away. Don’t get me wrong, if your partner can’t respect your boundaries, you need not feel obligated to continue the relationship no matter what role they have played thus far.
If you decide to accept whatever treatment is sent your way despite letting your partner know what you are and aren’t comfortable with, you’ll end up feeling violated, disrespected, and resentful. This, of course, leads to a whole host of other issues to develop down the line when what’s at the core of it is a lack of respect for mutual boundaries. An example of that could be something as simple as you letting your partner know you’re uncomfortable when they jokingly tease you about a certain area. You feel ridiculed because of it. Now, we are responsible for our own feelings, however, the partner must be responsible for the action that triggered those feelings.
Being able to talk through our vulnerable feelings can be very uncomfortable, even with someone we love and care for. We’re all afraid of that rejection. We ask ourselves “what if my partner laughs at me?”, “what if my partner continues doing what I asked them not to? What then?” Those are valid questions and the answer is very simply this; if your partner cares for you and the relationship you both are building, they will respect your boundaries. If they are not truly invested in your well-being and what’s best for you, you will see that in their actions as well. You will see them dismiss your feelings, or continue the very behavior you asked them to stop. Another common behavior is minimizing your feelings and gaslighting you by saying things like “you’re overreacting” or “you’re taking it too seriously”.
Even if you were overreacting and taking it too seriously, you’re allowed to feel exactly what you feel, and you’re allowed to express it too. Whether your partner agrees or not, if they care about you, their job is to respect how you feel. They can explain to you why they may disagree, but to dismiss how you feel is to dismiss the boundaries you have put in place for yourself. For some people it may be easier than others to stand firm in the boundaries they’ve set, yet for others they may be so used to not having boundaries respected that they just won’t speak up. This creates a toxic relationship where one partner gets used to taking advantage of and not respecting the other, and the other partner gets used to being disrespected and not valued. This is a toxic codependent relationship.
There are ways to put healthy boundaries into place. Here are 10 ways to have healthy boundaries:
- Be able to say “no” without feeling guilty or having to explain why you “can’t”.
- Be able to ask for what you want and need.
- Saying yes because you want to, not out of pressure or obligation.
- Being able to express emotions and have disagreements and still feel supported.
- Taking responsibility for your own happiness and not feeling responsible for someone else’s happiness.
- Ensuring you’re being treated with respect and as an equal in any relationship.
- Behave according to your own values and beliefs and make no apologies for it.
These are 7 ways to ensure healthy boundaries are in place. If these are being violated or not respected by those around you, you need to rethink that relationship and ask yourself if it’s really a relationship that benefits you or not. You’re worth being respected and being shown that you’re valued.
I’d love to hear how you set healthy boundaries for yourself and the impact it has on your life. Feel free to comment and share!