A few nights ago I was having dinner with a friend and she asked me about the most significant breakthrough I had in relationships. My biggest breakthrough came from a combination of self-help books. I can boldly say I have read a whole lot of books on relationships. I enjoy reading anything about relationship
The one common pattern between many intimate relationships is lack of boundaries. A whole lot of people are never willing to say what is ok with them and what isn’t. I don’t think I’m alone.
Many of us grew up in a culture where you were taught to never question authority, even if that person is wrong. In other words, you are actively discouraged from establishing boundaries. This has played out in many adult relationships and until you realize how important it is to establish clear boundaries you would make the same mistakes over and over again.
For people who don’t like to rock the boat, establishing boundaries is hard. Our fear of setting them gets reinforced particularly when another person’s response to us is negative. But lack of boundaries is why people put up with insane amounts of bullshit from a woman they’re dating just because she is hot, and women tolerate an abusive man because they find him so attractive. It’s why people stay in toxic relationships when they should walk away. It’s why they allow people to mistreat them.
What Happens Without Boundaries
I had a female roommate who was one of my best friends and like a sister to me. Most people who spent time with us would immediately see that our dynamic was like that of sisters. Any woman, after spending even an hour with us would conclude that there was no way in hell she had any romantic interest in me or vice versa.
I know a friend whose girlfriend had tastes that were out of his budget. She liked fancy restaurants every weekend, and would always suggest they spend the nights in expensive hotels even though hotel room they lived in the same city. Instead of my friend making his boundaries clear, he put the entire relationship on a credit card and money was a constant source of tension between them. He said she would always tell him “I expect a guy to pay for my things especially when I’m fu##ing him.” But instead of speaking and stating that living this way wasn’t feasible for him, he stayed in the situation out of fear of being alone.
The truth is that we avoid establishing boundaries out of fear. Fear of how someone will respond. Fear of losing someone. Fear of being alone
We tolerate what’s unacceptable to us which eventually transforms into resentment. Without boundaries, you’ll always feel as if you’re dancing on eggshells around another person. You’ll feel as if you have to watch every little thing you say and do. You’ll be the most inauthentic version of yourself. You will have to keep up an exhausting facade of power dynamics and games.
Establishing boundaries isn’t just about romantic partners. It applies to your parents, co-workers, friends, fans, and followers. Communicating your boundaries might mean the end of a relationship with someone, or a less favorable response. But do you really want to be with someone who doesn’t respect your boundaries, insults you, and treats you like shit? I’d rather spend my whole day sleeping than be out on a date with someone who doesn’t respect my boundaries.
In conclusion, if you want people to respect your boundaries then you must also respect peoples boundaries no matter how petty you think it is.
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