At first glance, boundaries sound like something restrictive, something that keeps people out. Boundaries are something you set up in your yard, like a fence or some hedges, to keep your annoying neighbors away. Why would you ever want to have boundaries with your significant other?
Well, boundaries can actually help us grow closer to people. Boundaries are not about putting up barriers, but about creating a space where you feel comfortable. Neighbors who get along can often live in harmony without setting up giant walls between their houses and yards, and you can do the same with anyone, and that includes with your significant other.
You set boundaries more often then you realize. When you are in line at the grocery store, you set a boundary by standing a certain distance from someone, or looking at your phone to indicate that you’re not in the mood to talk to someone. You establish your boundaries with a matchmaker when you let them know what you’re looking for in a relationship.
Setting boundaries with a partner is like setting up the first floor of your house. You put a couch and TV in the corner to show that’s where you will spend leisure time. You place your dining table in a way that establishes how you want to have your meals. You separate the rooms, but it doesn’t mean you need to set up walls.
Communicating these important boundaries with a significant other is similar to setting up a house. You let them know the types of communication that work for you, and the types of communication that don’t work. Telling someone that you respond better to a calm voice rather than a raised voice is not setting up a wall – but inviting them into your space in the way that works best for you.
Issues surrounding boundaries
Sometimes, the boundaries you set with your significant other don’t quite line up. Sometimes, it’s the equivalent of you wanting a big, comfy chair in the living room, while your partner wants something more aesthetically pleasing. In the real world, this could come in the form of your partner wanting to invite their friends over, while you prefer to spend time by yourself.
It can be really challenging when you feel like you’re not lining up with your partner. It may feel like you are incompatible – but you can be respectful of each other while ensuring that both of you are happy, as long as you communicate and are both willing to compromise. That may mean temporarily giving up your space for an established amount of time, but ensuring that you are not giving too much up.
Benefits of boundaries
Boundaries do not have to be stifling things that make you feel like there are walls and fences between you and your partner. Instead of restricting, they allow you to be free, because it gives you the space to be comfortable. A boundary is something you establish for yourself out of self-love, and adhere to with your partner out of love for them.
So, remember to discuss with your partner and ensure that both of you feel comfortable in your relationship!