Are Boundaries Necessary for a Thriving Relationship?
When it comes to relationships, the topic of establishing boundaries is always a touchy
subject. Some people think that it is a healthy practice, while others think that it can hinder a
relationship. Well I’m here to tell you, establishing boundaries is not about limiting interaction or
setting strict rules. It is about addressing your needs as an individual. At the end of the day, a
truly balanced relationship requires that each person fulfill their own needs to better serve their
partner. It’s like oxygen masks on the plane, first you put on your mask then you help others. In
case you’re still a bit skeptical, here are three reasons why you should start establishing
boundaries in your relationship.
1. Showing Respect and Consideration. Establishing boundaries is also a great way
of communicating respect and consideration. It means that instead of trying to change the other
person, you are going to simply distance from their behavior that doesn’t work for you.
It’s about being honest instead of criticizing your partner or caving to their wishes. For instance,
saying you are worried about your health and therefore don’t want to join your wife in eating
fried foods is much better than lecturing her on her eating habits or simply going along with her
choice to be “nice.” Being open and having a healthy understanding of boundaries will help
ground, strengthen and even bring your relationship closer.
2. Time and Space. No matter how much you are into your relationship, you will
eventually need personal time and space. This is not so you can take a break from your partner,
it is so that you can recharge and refresh your mindset. Not only will this help with your overall
well being, but it is also a great to cultivate a healthy relationship with yourself. Saying you’re
not into skiing but would like to join your husband for an apres-ski sauna is a form of
compromising. When was the last time you went on a walk by yourself? Or had a couple of
hours alone to reflect? In today’s day and age, we have a thousand things going on at once,
don’t neglect your own well being for the sake of your relationship– it will backfire. Trust me.
3. Individuality. When we get into a relationship, we often want to dedicate all of our
time and energy into it. It’s more common, than not, to get lost in being a couple so we forget
about being an individual with wants and needs. Don’t get me wrong, commitment and attention
definitely strengthen a relationship, but make sure you are also giving yourself time to reflect on
what is working in your relationship and what isn’t. In other words, cater to yourself. If you’re not
happy, how do you expect to make others happy?
Being mindful of the fact that you are a separate individual from your partner is key to a
thriving relationship. This doesn’t mean you can’t depend on one another, it simply means that
you are strong individually and even stronger together.
To your emotional health,
Dr. Laura Dabney