Boundaries In REAL Life

12 Jun

I get it! I finally get what boundaries look & feel like.

I’d read about boundaries and heard the jargon throughout my coming of age in relationships; but I never quite GOT how you go about asserting them in a relationship as it’s growing. I want to share some of my REALizations.

The beginning of relationships are so full of “promise” and excitement that we really don’t like to stop to respond to warning bells when they ring. Who wants to interrupt feeling like Cleopatra, Cinderella and Angelina Jolie all rolled into one to set a silly boundary!!???

Granted, it’s not very sexy to slow things down and use our heads, but that’s EXACTLY what we should be doing before we go headlong into rose colored glassesville and miss the important boundary setting that needs to take place at the beginning of a relationship when things are very clear and so eagerly adhered to.

By having our wits about us, and making some rational declarations about what we do and don’t like (boundaries) we can teach this new person who we are, what’s important to us and where we end and they begin.  Think of it this way, if we DON’T teach someone that we have clearly defined limits to ourselves, we are in for a LONG road of trying to “unteach” them the things we can’t stand, when we’re comfortable enough to “get real”.  Imagine our partners dismay when they notice, that “suddenly” we are bothered by things that we used to laugh and giggle about.

BOUNDARIES: Being strong enough to lift our partners baggage back up after they tossed it over our fence and throw it back in their yard.

We are who we are. The more we come to accept and embrace who we are, we’ll be less inclined to change with the breeze. With finely established preferences and things that drive us batty, we know what we will and will not accept in terms of another’s behavior and words towards us.  If we are the type of people who need space after an argument, we are going to need a partner who will respect that we need a cooling off period before they begin trying to discuss the issue.

It does not serve us in the long run to pretend to be okay with certain behaviors because we fear losing a person or fear their disapproval.  That just indicates that we have more work to do on ourselves before we’re ready for a relationship.  Desperation is not a good position for finding healthy love.

We want to be with others who are healthy enough to not only respect our boundaries, but who define and assert their own.  It’s a nice feeling when someone shows me what their boundaries are and I consciously say I need to respect them more than I need to insist on my own way.  It’s a two way street and boundary busting is just as dysfunctional from either partner.

Like attracts like.

There are 4 elements of responsibility that are protected by boundaries:

1. Thinking

2. Acting

3. Speaking

4. Feeling

As well, there are a few different areas that boundaries protect:

1. Physical

2. Mental

3. Emotional

4. Spiritual

5. Sexual

Within each of these areas, we’ve got preferences and prejudices. Rules governing touch, how we argue, what we think, ways we process, how emotional we are, how comfortable we are with others emotions, our spiritual or religious beliefs and evaluations, our sexual code of conduct, when we first have sex, how monogamous we like to be, etc.

Each one of these “rules” we have with our thoughts, feelings, actions and words regarding the 5 areas will tell us WHO WE ARE.

When one of these “rules” gets “crossed” by another person, we have reactions ranging from mild annoyance to white hot rage.

Here’s an example:

We have a belief that we wont become sexual before 1 month of dating.  Our thought is that people who have sex earlier than that risk not getting to know eachother and thus could reduce the chances of a successful relationship.

Our partner, a very passionate person, really “wants” to have sex sooner. When we inform our partner what our thoughts and beliefs are about this topic, we are asserting our boundary. However we convey our thought and desire about sex, we are asserting our boundary. If this is of great importance to us, any “crossing” of the boundary will cause a strong reaction.

If we ignore the strong feeling and proceed anyway, appeasing our mates to keep them happy or because we fear losing them, we’ve just done a grave disservice to our relationship, partner and self.

If our partner INSISTS on pressuring us to have sex, ridiculing our thought that it makes for a shaky start, they’ve crossed over our “thought” boundary which will likely cause a feeling of anger or frustration.

The more we get to know what we like and don’t like and listen to our guts when things go “awry”, the more power we have to share this knowledge with our partners to set clear, firm boundaries.

Keep in mind, not EVERYTHING is a battling issue. Some boundaries are less important to adhere to and with flexibility can possibly be renegotiated without causing a loss of self.

Stay healthy and keep asserting your boundaries!


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