There have been a lot of arguments about the kinds of boundaries that couples should set – and what they can actually do – for their relationships. Some may claim that they don’t need these boundaries, as their partners should already know each other’s limitations. But the truth is that if your relationship is healthy, then it must have boundaries. It can’t be strong and productive until both partners convey their restrictions clearly, and each partner respects them. Boundaries MUST be set because they don’t get organized inherently, and they’re not easily created as well.
Here is a comparison of healthy and unhealthy qualities in a relationship:
You are accountable for making your own happiness.
You have friends other than the ones you and your partner make.
You accept endings.
Communication is honest and open.
You acknowledge that you have differences.
You feel incomplete and unimportant without your partner.
You are manipulative of your partner.
You are in a jealous relationship.
You are hesitant and afraid to express how you truly feel.
You can’t let go even if you have to.
You are not happy without your partner.
Independent boundaries are important no matter how big or small, and they need to be respected. Below is an example of a simple boundary and a serious boundary, to help you have a better understanding of the concept.
Your partner has made known to you that he is sensitive to his things so you need to ask him first before using them. You need to call a friend but then your phone is dead. You decide to borrow your partner’s phone but he’s asleep, so you just decide to use it anyway.
In this example, the boundary set may be really, really simple, and yet this may be a big deal for your partner. Remember that you already know how he feels about his belongings. It is a small thing to ask but nevertheless, you have disrespected it.
You have honestly told your partner that you are the type who doesn’t want to be controlled in a relationship, especially when it comes to family and friends. Your partner calls you one night and asks you if you have plans, and you tell him that you’re going to a friend’s birthday party. Your partner says you can’t go but if you insist, he won’t go with you to your family reunion. Just because you don’t want that to happen, you make an excuse not to attend your friend’s birthday.
Here, it is clear that you don’t want to be someone who is controlling and manipulative. Not only did your partner disrespect your boundary; you yourself were not strong in standing by your own boundary.
Whether you think that the boundary set by your partner is major or not, it shouldn’t be neglected or disrespected. If, on the other hand, you are inconsistent with your own boundary because you are scared of your partner or you just don’t want a fight, then it’s a huge red light. Healthy relationships don’t feed on fear and manipulation.
Want your partner to feel loved, respected, and valued? Here’s what you do:
Listen to your partner so you’ll know what he or she wants. If there is something that you want to say, be honest. Perhaps you can meet halfway.
Don’t put words into your partner’s mouth. If she sets the boundary, don’t tell her that she said otherwise just so you can get your way. Make an effort to show him or her that you recognize the boundaries and you follow through with actions.
Let go if you have to. When all boundaries have been set and all efforts have been done to respect those boundaries, yet both seem to find a compromise, perhaps it’s time to move on.