Discussing Your Boundaries With Your Partner

Setting boundaries. Establishing healthy boundaries and a relationship allows both partners to feel comfortable and develop positive self-esteem. In order to establish boundaries, you need to be clear with your partner about who you are, what you want, your beliefs and values, and your limits. A lot of times, we tend to focus on adjusting to others, taking time away from focusing on ourselves. Setting boundaries for yourself that reflect who you are and who you ultimately want to be will only enhance setting boundaries with your partner in a relationship. 

Boundary setting is not just about guarding yourself physically, but also mentally. Setting boundaries means being able to communicate with others about how you would and would not like to be treated, and protecting values that are important to you. Boundary setting shows respect for yourself and healthy assertiveness to others. It is important for you to know and believe that you are worth defending. 

Boundary setting can be used across a spectrum of situations from refusing to answer questions that make you feel uncomfortable to avoiding life-threatening situations. Communication skills can make or break human relationships. Without knowing how to engage in healthy communication, you open yourself up to increased stress and for the challenges that can compromise your relationships with others. Quality communication relies heavily on listening skills. If you or the person you’re communicating with are not actively listening, there is no real understanding, no basis for growing together, no mutuality and no acceptance.

Communicating your thoughts with one another.

Be honest but respectful when sharing your thoughts and feelings with your partner. Remember it is totally normal and okay to need time to gather your thoughts and feelings but do not use this approach to avoid the tough conversations. 

The first step in boundary setting is to name your limits. 

You need to identify your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual limits —- not just in romantic relationships, but in all your interpersonal relationships. Your feelings and intuition can help guide these limits. Being self-aware helps you honor your values, feelings and yourself. You must be willing to name what your limits are in order to gain the respect that you deserve, from yourself first, but also from your partner, because we teach people how to treat us. And, if you are not naming your limits and expecting things to go a certain way, then you will not receive the things that you aspire to have out of your relationship. You must be able to put a name to what your limits are. 

When I started doing this, it changed each one of my relationships around for the better. It made me recognize that I have a voice and how I am capable of using it. You also have to teach everyone in your life how you want to be treated and this is what communicating your thoughts and wants looks like, all while setting your boundaries. You have to know what your boundaries are and then be able to verbalize them in order to receive them.

The next step is to be direct with others and develop a healthy habit of communication.

Assertiveness is often seen as a negative trait; however, being assertive means confidently and firmly telling others your boundaries and communicating with them what you expect, which is respect. Each of us deserve to be respected, unfortunately, people do to you what you allow them to do and every time you allow someone to cross your boundary, you are saying that you do not respect nor love yourself. Once you begin to enforce boundaries, you are now saying, I am important enough to ask for and receive the things that I want. You have to be able to communicate those things to your spouse as well. 

The third one is to give yourself permission.

Fear, guilt and self-doubt are big potential pitfalls. We might feel the other person‘s response if we set and enforce our boundaries. We might feel guilty about speaking up or saying NO to a family member. You may believe you should be able to cope with the situation or say yes because you are a good daughter, even though you feel drained or taken advantage of. 

Does this sound familiar? 

You may even wonder if you deserve to have boundaries in the first place. The answer here is yes! Boundaries are not just a sound of a healthy relationship, they are a sound of self respect. So give yourself the permission to set boundaries and work to preserve them. Again, this happens by communicating your thoughts with one another in all of your relationships. Give yourself permission to speak up; to ask for what you need; so you can gain the respect you deserve from others including your partner. By doing this you will feel honored, loved and appreciated as well as if you matter. 

I remember when I gave myself permission to start speaking up, to start asking for the very things I need in my own relationship. The feeling was awesome. To be able to speak freely and ask for the things I want and then to receive them, was a wonderful feeling. This can be in the form of receiving something tangible or intangible, such as respect. You too, can ask for the things that make you feel good about yourself and the relationship that you are in.

How is your communication with your partner? Have you established and kept your boundaries? How could a new way of communicating with your partner change the trajectory of your relationship?

Need help with boundary setting, communication and staying connected to your partner? Let’s talk during a free 30 minute coaching conversation. My mission is to decrease the divorce rate while simultaneously increasing the marriage rate one coaching conversation at a time. Are you ready to join the mission?

I look forward to speaking with you.

Marshaun Olaniyan 

Life & Relationship Strategist www.marshauno.com

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