Signs You Need to Enforce Boundaries In Your Relationship

The word “boundaries” can often conjure up negative images. People may think about walls that keep outsiders away. There’s some truth to that, but in relationships, many of the “walls” are quite healthy. They can lead to greater closeness to your partner while enhancing your well-being. Think of it as having mutual respect, greater independence and interdependence, and clarity about expectations.

Boundaries come in many varieties (emotional, physical, sexual, and more). But even when agreed upon in advance, boundaries sometimes must be enforced. The trick is recognizing when such a dynamic is necessary. With that in mind, let’s explore a few signs.

Signs You Need to Enforce Boundaries

In Your Relationship

You Feel Unheard and Invalidated

Even in healthy relationships, couples can slip into counterproductive patterns. They begin to take each other for granted. This can leave you feeling as if you have no voice. You just go with the flow even if it seems your partner isn’t listening to you. You’ve lost confidence that things can get better so you don’t even try fixing the situation.

You Lack the Amount of Privacy You Need

Pop culture conditions us to see a “soul mate” as someone we do everything with. You tell them everything and become an open book. Not only is this unrealistic, but it doesn’t take into account that everyone sees privacy differently. If you are craving space and solitude, you may need to revisit your boundaries.

You Feel Your Partner Is Taking Advantage of You

You’ve down your guard so much — often in the name of trying to deepen your bond — that your needs are not being met. This can be happening consciously or unconsciously but it still hurts. You feel manipulated and asking for more leads you to a place of guilt.

You Just Don’t Feel Good

It’s not something you can easily name or put your finger on but something is happening. Your physical health is less than ideal, e.g. fatigue, aches, and pain. Simultaneously, your mood alternates between depressed and anxious. Nothing seems to be in balance and it’s damaging your self-esteem. Maybe the underlying problem lies within your relationship dynamics.

A Few Ways to Set and Enforce Boundaries In Your Relationship

Communication

couple talking to each other

This is your foundation. As you can see from the signs listed above, they’re built on vagueness. Something is off but you can’t always identify it. To make things more clear, you and your partner must commit to steady, face-to-face, honest communication. Don’t try to read each other’s minds. To avoid conflict and confusion, both of you should do the work to gain a deeper understanding of the other’s needs, values, beliefs, and more.

Expect and Accept Some Differences

Once again, pop culture does us no favors when it paints a happy couple as being in synch about everything. You are individuals and should be free to see and experience the world in a way that honors your autonomous spirit. This means an acceptance that not all battles are worth fighting. Perfection is a myth so your goal is to accommodate each other and respect each other’s boundaries.

Honor Each Other’s Boundaries

  • Immediately address it when your partner violates a boundary
  • Take responsibility for any time you cross a boundary
  • Develop a method for talking about issues in advance
  • When in doubt, communicate!

You Don’t Have to Figure This Out Alone

Couples therapy is a proven path to better communication. If you find that the issue of boundaries is a recurring problem, it’s best to invite an unbiased professional into the mix. Boundaries are tricky but can be managed. We’d love to help you along on this journey.

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