A healthy relationship always involves personal boundaries. How to set boundaries correctly in relationships with the closest people?
The euphoria of first dates gives way to the delight of the first months of life together, when you and your partner are like one whole. Feelings like this are natural when starting a relationship. Instead of “mine” and “yours” appears “our”. However, when the euphoria subsides, both partners begin to feel uncomfortable and often do not realize why this is happening.
In fact, the reasons are typical for most couples in a situation that psychologists call confluence. This means that between partners there is no understanding of each other’s personal boundaries. Why is this happening? In the romantic stage of a relationship, it is difficult to accept the need for such boundaries. Partners negatively perceive any attempt to establish distance. It is believed that a loved one should anticipate desires and read minds. After all, this is true love. And boundaries are a rigid artificial construction that is poorly compatible with romance and spontaneity of feeling.
Psychotherapists note that often couples who seek help are sure that the presence of personal boundaries and love are mutually exclusive things. Nevertheless, experts say that “believing harmony with algebra” is the only way to healthy relationships. It is clear boundaries and their observance that promote mutual understanding and intimacy.
Borders can be violated only as a last resort, subject to mutual understanding and goodwill of the second partner. However, when an invasion of personal space occurs in an aggressive form, it is a signal to start protecting it. It is in a loving, romantic relationship that boundaries are especially important, because partners let each other get too close, both emotionally and physically.
Borders that don’t work
Here are some common cases of border violations:
- The use of the words “always”, “never” and similar words denoting some kind of absolute limitation. In this case, the observance of the boundaries becomes unrealistic, and they themselves become short-lived. Examples are the statements “you must always”, “you can never”.
- Double standards or attempts to manipulate: “If you do not return home by time X, I will not be able to sleep until morning”, “If you do not do X, it will cause irreparable harm to my health.”
- Vague, ambiguous definition of boundaries: “Don’t spend a lot of money today” or “You have to pick up your children from school several times a week.” Such requests can be interpreted in different ways, they are not specific.