Setting Healthy Boundaries in a Relationship

Love is sighted. We’ve all heard this at one point or another, usually from a loving family member or friend who is gently attempting to let us know that we are ignoring the reality of a relationship. It’s difficult to hear these words and to comprehend that someone we adore, perhaps even someone who claims to love us equally, would ever take any action that could harm us. Perhaps despite seeing the warning signs, we decided to disregard them, especially if the result would be losing the person we care about most.

Regardless of the nature of the connection, love may be blinding. Just as no child wants to believe their parent may have ever made any significant mistakes in their lives, no parent ever wants to believe their lovely child could ever do the mischievous things they might be accused of as they grow up. It’s possible that we offer them too much of ourselves. It occurs more frequently than we would like to believe in romantic relationships, and if it is not handled right away, it may eventually cause the relationship to end.

So why do we allow ourselves to be blindsided by our loved ones?

Maybe it’s because we crave other people’s love. We believe that if we give someone everything we have, they would love us more or never leave us. We might notice indications that our partner isn’t perfect in their relationship with us, but we don’t want to “rock the boat” and write off our observations as being overly analytical. Perhaps we did make an effort to resolve the issue, but our partner rejects our worries, saying that we are being overly cautious. But refusing to establish sound limits in our relationships just increases the likelihood of future conflict and doesoms the union to failure.

Consider your relationship to be a collaboration in business.

There isn’t a simple way to handle this kind of circumstance, but one helpful tip is to treat your romantic relationships like a business partnership. Each employee’s unique abilities and talents contribute to the success of the company. Although there is never a day when each partner performs exactly half of the company’s work, the business will expand and prosper if everyone works together.

Partners in a company occasionally need to collaborate with other companies to achieve a common objective. You are better able to think logically about the circumstances of your relationship in order to set more healthy limits by utilizing the example of a business partnership to consider them. This shift in perspective is only possible because the love component of the relationship has been eliminated, allowing partners to once again prioritize respect and trust.

Consider these questions:

Is it ever acceptable for your spouse to keep you in the dark about any specifics of their interactions and/or agreements with other companies or people?

If your spouse didn’t share any of the benefits they gained from the company you both worked so hard to develop with you, even if you are aware of them, would that ever be acceptable?

Would you ever be willing to let your business partner rely on you to complete all the labor-intensive tasks, while you enjoy the resources and/or free time you have provided them by taking care of all their work?

You need to express your concerns to your partner so that you can start setting appropriate boundaries. Instead of criticizing someone of acting improperly in the relationship, concentrate on your feelings that are connected to your observation of what they did, such as,

I’ve been struggling to keep up with all the housekeeping around here, so I was wondering if we could collaborate to find a way to make it more tolerable for both of us.

Another strategy could be,

“When you get home from work so late, it makes me feel extremely alone. Can we try to arrange a time to talk later this week?

Instead of accusing your partner, start the conversation by involving them. This will make them less defensive and more receptive to what you have to say.

There is never a perfect couple. There will never be a 50/50 relationship. However, the relationship will have a strong foundation that will allow it to grow and flourish for many years to come if each partner cooperates to set appropriate limits that encourage trust, respect, and participation.