Boundaries in intimate relationship

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relationship boundary, sexual, financial and emotional boundaries, relationships, know, feel, thoughts, partner

Few people understand what boundaries are in a relationship, that is the reason we rarely see evidence of them working in most relationships. I asked many people what are the boundaries in their relationships. Some find this a tough question to answer. Those who had something to say are the unmarried ones. They know what they will not tolerate from their partners

For the married ones, I wonder if they have lost their identities? Actually, a woman told me that once married, there is nothing like a boundary in marriage. I begged to differ, and an argument ensued. In the end, I discovered she is one of those women under a manipulative husband. She had lost her identity.

What is a boundary?

A boundary is a limit you set on what you can accept or tolerate of another person’s words or actions in a relationship. A boundary is also your bottom line, an invisible field you will not want someone to cross, trespass or trod upon, a deal-breaker.

People have “limits,” to how much pain they will endure, how much abuse they will withstand and how far they will go to help others or be responsible for them. “Limits,” to what behaviour they will accept from others and what they will not. Limits on time spent with others to avoid over-committing. “Limits” on favours, services or labour they want to offer.

Boundaries refer to limits you put in place to protect your well-being. People have “bottom lines,” to how low they will descend to be with you, how far they will lower their standard in life for a person or a cause.

But for you to effectively put a boundary in place in your relationship, be clear with yourself and with your partner about what you want or need. This enables you to know when your boundaries are being crossed or your limits violated. People violate your limits because they are not aware of its existence. In order to establish effective personal boundaries, first, know them yourself. It is only when you know your boundaries that you can communicate them to your partner and follow through with the consequences of violation.

Setting good personal boundaries is beneficial to your relationship. Boundaries protect your individuality and self-esteem, they reduce emotional stress, anxiety and depression. They set obvious lines between what you want and what you do not want. What you can accept and what you cannot accept. It earns you respect and makes your partner less likely to treat you like a doormat. Setting a good boundary provides you with a template by which others can treat you with respect.

A lack of boundaries opens the door for control, manipulation, disrespect and oppression from your partner and those around you. Lack of boundaries allows things like cruelty, abuse and harassment to slip into your relationship. Setting boundaries safeguard your mental and relational health. A healthy mind and body make for a healthy relationship. A healthy relationship is not controlling one another’s emotions or feelings, rather, it is supporting each other to grow and achieve self-actualization.

Boundaries are for you and about you.

They are about respecting your needs in your relationship. When you are uncomfortable about something in your relationship but don’t speak up and share it with your partner, resentment can build over time. Building strong boundaries begin with knowing and understanding your own limits. Knowing who you are, what you are responsible and not responsible for. You are only responsible for your happiness, behaviour, choices and feelings. You are not responsible for others’ happiness, behaviours, choices and feelings.

Healthy boundaries come from accepting yourself just the way you are. You don’t have to change yourself to be liked and you don’t have to depend on others’ approval to live your life. Stop trying to fix your partner or children, stop taking responsibility for the outcomes of their choices or behaviour. Don’t save or rescue them in order to feel needed in the family. That is needless and very unhealthy.

You need to say “no” to acts, actions and words you don’t have to accept from your family. And you have to learn how to accept “no” from them too, they need to protect their boundaries as well. Understand that as your feelings are your choices, other people make choices about how they feel too, so they have to be responsible for those choices and the consequences.

Types of boundaries

Boundaries can be physical or emotional. Physical boundaries include your body, personal space and privacy looking through your personal files or your phone.

Under this, you have:
Sexual Boundaries: Boundaries around sexual frequency and physical intimacy. What sexual acts you preferred or what’s off-limits. Healthy sexual boundaries include mutual agreement, mutual consent, and an understanding of each other’s sexual limits and desires. If you and your partner don’t know what your sexual boundaries are, one or both of you might spend precious time in fake sexual acts that are unhealthy for your relationship.

Financial Boundaries:

Financial boundaries are all about money, and it is an inescapable part of human interactions. When money matters are not properly handled, it poisons a relationship.

Setting financial boundaries is important if you want to know how to handle issues like joint or separate accounts, what to spend on purchases, what to save, and what to invest on. How much each partner will contribute and for what uses. And who takes care of what bills in the house.

Time Boundaries:

This is valuable and important as it helps to protect how you utilise your time. Setting time boundaries at work, at home and socially helps you to prioritise and set aside time for the many areas of your life to avoid over-committing yourself. When you know your priorities, it is easier to limit the time you allot to people, other things or activities in your life.

Emotional Boundaries:

Emotional boundaries are the ones you set on yourself. Healthy emotional boundaries involve separating your feelings from that of your partner. Your feelings should not depend on your partner’s thoughts, feelings or moods.

Intellectual Boundaries:

Intellectual boundaries encompass ideas and beliefs. Showing respect for different views and ideas can keep feelings from being hurt. Dismissing, criticizing or belittling your partner’s feelings, thoughts, ideas and curiosity can damage
emotional intimacy.

Healthy intellectual boundaries include respect for your partner’s ideas, thoughts, beliefs, opinion or political view.

Tips On How To Establish Boundaries In Your Relationship:

Communicate your thoughts to one another.

Be honest and truthful about your need, want and feeling.

Be respectful and attentive when your partner shares their thoughts and feelings with you

Never assume or guess your partner’s feelings.

Making assumptions can create a lot of misunderstandings in a relationship.

Never assume you know what your partner want or need.

Always ask, it is better to ask rather than assume you know.

When you set boundaries, follow through on what you say. Setting boundaries and not adhering to them will give your partner an excuse to violate your boundaries.

You shouldn’t compromise on things that are not acceptable to you, upset or offend you?

Boundaries should not be rigid or constrictions designed to suffocate your relationship. And do not use them to build brick walls to keep your partner away.

They are to give you and your partner time and space to be real and be yourself within the confines of your
relationship.

A relationship with no boundaries is full of arguments, resentment, disappointment and hurt feelings. Establishing healthy boundaries in a relationship allows both partners to feel comfortable and develop positive self-esteem.

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