It can be difficult to navigate setting boundaries in a relationship. It often feels weird to say no to your partner which leads to being stuck in a cycle where your boundaries are always crossed. That needs to change for your self care. If boundaries are crossed again and again you might start feeling resentful and unhappy. Protect your relationship and start setting boundaries.
Discussing relationship boundaries
Take the relationship as slow as you want
Two people might not be in the same place in a relationship. When I start dating someone and they do something I think is making everything go too fast or I am not ready for, I say it. I might not say it in the moment as in a new relationship you don’t know how the other person might react. I like to be safe space when I explain my stance and why I feel that way. However, if you need to set the boundary in the moment set it then.
You can go as slow as you want emotionally and physically. It might take you time to open up and that is okay. You might not want to be physical at the beginning and that is okay. Do what you are comfortable with.
This can be something small like the type of texts he is sending you are too provocative. Let him know that is not something you are okay with instead of pretending.
If he says I love you and you aren’t ready that is okay. If the reserve happens as well that isn’t a problem. Everyone works at their own pace.
A partner that respects you will respect your boundary
Partners that care about you will be happy that you are sharing and will respect your boundary. So expressing boundaries is also a good way to weed the trouble makers out.
Respect your own boundary
When I am setting a boundary in my head I often think to myself ‘am I being too extra.’ I have to remind myself that if I am uncomfortable that is not me being extra it is how I feel and I need to respect my own boundaries.
Don’t think that you are being uptight. If the other person tells you that you know they aren’t respecting your boundary.
Be expressive about your boundary and say no when you feel uncomfortable. Don’t want to sit in his car on the first date because you don’t feel comfortable – say it. I have told so many guys I am uncomfortable and you know what? Most of them understand. Be smart about your own safety.
It is important to understand the absence of no is not yes. So be mindful of others’ boundaries as well.
Boundaries in covid can look like not being comfortable meeting someone because they hang out with friends. Not being comfortable meeting someone who isn’t vaccinated. You do you! Choose based on what you are comfortable with and the right person will be okay with that.
There will be different reactions
I have had guys tell me oh they can’t wait a week to get to know me when I wasn’t comfortable to meet in one day. Through that conversation, I then knew they were not worth it.
Other times I have had guys apologize for not realizing they were crossing my boundary. So don’t live in fear that he won’t understand because the right person will surprise you. If you are in a long term relationship express how you feel so your partner can understand. Communication is key when it comes to boundary setting.
Boundaries can be different things
Boundaries don’t just have to be emotional or physical it could be something like he expects you to do all the housework and you aren’t okay with that. Let him know how you feel and what you need him to do. Don’t bring it up when you are fighting. Instead wait for a moment you both are calm and then bring up the problem you are having and what you would like. Sometimes, the other person has no idea what is bothering you.
Listen to their view point as well to avoid misunderstandings.
A boundary can be that you don’t want him to use the same toothbrush as you. Or it could be that you need some alone time in the middle of the day. Boundary setting looks different for everyone.
You deserve someone who respects what you are comfortable with. There are people who will be willing to give you that. So don’t settle for someone who makes you feel uncomfortable.
Setting boundaries can be hard at first and when you change your behaviour there can be a backlash. This is because people might not be used to you being assertive. Expect that it will take some time for you and the other person to get used to the boundary setting. Long term you will feel happy as you will finally be doing what you are comfortable with. It will reduce your stress and resentment.