Healthy Boundaries in Relationships
Do you have trouble saying no? Have you ever regretted not standing up for yourself? Then it’s time to start setting boundaries! Are you wondering what boundaries are? Here’s the definition I used in my book Psychic Wisdom on Love and Relationships – Individuals set boundaries to feel safe, respected, and heard.
For your clarification, let’s break down the definition into further explanations with three fictional yet realistic stories.
Boundaries for Online Dating
Julie’s correspondence with Matt, a man she met online, finally resulted in a phone call during a snow storm.
She was enjoying the conversation, when he suggested to meet that night, and offered to pick her up. Julie didn’t feel “safe” venturing out in bad weather, nor allowing Matt to know where she lived; therefore, she asked for a rain check.
Matt proceed to sweet talk her to change her mind and when that didn’t work he began to belittle her. After a couple of minutes, Julie hung up on Matt because she didn’t feel Matt “respected or heard” her boundary.
Sadly, Matt badgered the next woman on his list for a date. Days later, Julie read a news story online about this woman being assaulted by Matt.
Boundaries for Courtship
Catching Sarah scrolling through his text messages was the last straw for Jimmy! They had only been seeing each other for three months; however, Sarah behaved as if they were in a committed relationship. Sarah pretended she never “heard” him say he needed to take the relationship slow.
Whenever he set a limit, Sarah behaved like a two year old trying to manipulate him to say yes. Therefore, he didn’t feel “respected.” Jimmy began to question this nagging thought of his “safety” being jeopardized by staying with this woman.
A year after Jimmy had broken things off with Sarah, he discovered she had been arrested a couple of times for stalking her ex-boyfriends.
Boundaries for Marriage
As the plane took off the runway to the Bahamas, Joyce reached out for her husband’s hand. Thank God, she had talked to Tom (her husband) about how stressful the holidays had become between their two families!
What broke the camel’s back last Christmas was the fight between her and his brothers. After that event, Joyce vented, plus set limits about future holidays. She felt safe as Tom held her while repeating back the words he heard her say. Then he respected her wishes by booking this trip during the holidays.
A smile crept up on Joyce’s face while listening to Tom recount the latest horror story from a recent family gathering. She laid back on to a towel as the cool breeze from the ocean caressed her body.
Establishing boundaries can be very uncomfortable and scary as the person’s reaction is unpredictable. Perhaps this is the reason why some people accept unacceptable behavior? Please don’t allow another’s reaction to stop you from keeping yourself safe, respected and heard. In each of the stories there was a huge bonus of being a boundary maker, whether that was avoiding being a victim of crime or a trip to the Bahamas!
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Pamela Cummins is a relationship expert who teaches you how to empower yourself to empower your relationships. She is the author of four books, including Psychic Wisdom on Love and Relationships. Learn more at her website www.pamelacummins.com