A boundary is similar to an imaginary line that separates you from another person. Things such as your physical space, feelings, needs and responsibilities are separated by that line and should never be crossed in order to have a healthy relationship. Boundaries are guidelines that tell people how to treat each other, what's acceptable and what isn’t. All healthy and sucessful relationships have boundaries. If boundaries are not clear and respected then it is extremely difficult and your relationship will ultimately end up becoming less rewarding and unhealthy.
Setting boundaries can do wonders in improving a relationship, but it’s important to make sure you have clarity of thought and don’t let them be too restrictive, which can erode the spirit of love. Your first step should always be to define what it is you want your relationship to be and then take specific action to move towards your goal. It’s easy to put an arbitrary limit on the distance you should keep from your partner in terms of time, distance, or even just space. Instead of limiting the distance between you, you should define a rule of your own to keep the distance healthy and meaningful for you. Secondly, when setting the boundary, make sure you are specific. If you are too vague, you are only allowing yourself to react to your partner.
Work on yourself first
To learn how to set boundaries with a partner we must first establish boundaries within ourselves first. To do this, we need to be clear on what our needs are and what we are willing to do for others in our relationship. Once we are clear on these needs we can communicate them clearly to the person we are with. For instance, if you are willing to take care of your partner while they are sick, what you are not willing to do is treat them badly when they are sick.
Identify and Respect each other’s boundaries
Most people think that by setting boundaries, they are being mean, or rude. But this is wrong. Boundaries are built up over time, as we learn to respect each other's boundaries. Most of the time, we don't respect our partner's boundaries and thus we lose respect for each other. It's usually the other person who is violating your boundaries that is being disrespectful. When boundaries are violated, we usually feel offended or angry. And this is when the relationship becomes unhealthy and should be ended. To respect each other's boundaries, we need to communicate clearly about them and come to an agreement about how we will respect them. It’s completely okay to share your thoughts and feelings and letting them know what boundaries you have and where the line is, the conversation should be frank and you should also give your reasoning so they can understand where you’re coming from.
It can be difficult to put yourself first sometimes and you should definitely learn to set boundaries, this applies to every relationship, not just romantic ones. It will be a valuable skill in the future and will significantly improve all your relationships. Boundaries help us become aware of ourselves as well as the relationship itself.
Although boundaries can be a powerful tool to manage your mental health in relationships, it is important to be aware that there is plenty of help available. If your relationships are unhealthy and interfering with your daily life and you need a professional to help guide you on how to improve your relationships and learn more about yourself then feel free to contact Dr. Narindr for a consultation.