Boundaries are very
important in any and all relationships. Social psychologist Jane Adams, PhD
says "Boundaries regulate distance and closeness...controlling not only how
open we are with others but also how vigilant we are in protecting our real
selves from intrusion or encroachment." You must have some boundaries
in order to be respected and valued by others as well as by yourself.
No one respects people that they can take advantage of and run over so to
speak. Intimate relationships especially need boundaries. You
can only manage your boundaries if you recognize that a boundary issue -
yours or someone else's - exists. What
are your boundaries? Have you defined them and clarified them to your
partner? If not it is time to set some boundaries and then define and
explain them to the people that may have an opportunity to cross those
An Example of setting
boundaries in an intimate relationship: Before I married my husband I
set two solid boundaries with him. 1.) I told him I would not tolerate
physical or emotional abuse. 2.) I told him I would not tolerate
or accept cheating or infidelity. I made it very clear that if either
of those boundaries were crossed that I would walk away from the
relationship and never look back. He listened and understood my
boundaries and said that he could honor those and so we moved forward and
got married. We have now been happily married for over 24 years.
Set boundaries with your
loved ones. Set boundaries with your family members. Set
boundaries with your friends and co workers. The more clearly defined
they are the better they will be received and respected. Say what you
mean and mean what you say - once a boundary is set if someone crosses that
boundary then there should be some consequences of some kind.
Let the consequence fit the crime so to speak.
Another example of setting
a boundary with a friend: If you want a friendship that is based on honesty
then tell your friend this. Define to them what is important to you in
a friendship and that honesty is key. Then if you catch your friend in
a lie, then call that friend on it, tell them that you cannot continue the
friendship if there are lies between the two of you. Your boundary was
crossed and there is a consequence.
Understand that it is okay
to forgive a person once if a boundary was crossed if they were not clear on
what the boundaries were in the first place. But if that boundary is
ever crossed again then take action and end the relationship.
If you learn to set
boundaries in any of your relationships early on and then stick to
those boundaries, you will feel better about yourself overall and
others will respect you and treat you better in the future. Respect
your boundaries and respect the boundaries of others.
A Woman's Guide to Setting Boundaries by Deidre Ann Tyler
"Boundaries in Dating by Dr. Henry Cloud
and "Boundary Issues: Using Boundary Intelligence to get the Intimacy You Want and the Independence You Need in Life, Love, and Work by Jane Adams, PhD.
Setting boundaries in your relationships
gives you the power to live a rich and fulfilling life. You can be the
best person you can be and others around you will prosper. Good
relationship boundaries make for good relationships.