Ever seen one of those relationships where both people just 100% totally understand what the other person needs all the time, and both partners just effortlessly read minds and live in perfect harmony?
It’s hard to know what the healthy boundaries in relationships are.
The old myth goes that if you’re in love with the right person, everything will just feel “natural” and you’ll be so connected that you won’t have to discuss what is and isn’t appropriate.
But back on planet Earth, it’s probably likely that you have some different expectations, even if only a little.
+How much independence do you both need? i.e. if s/he wants to spend every night at your place, whereas you need some private time a couple of days a week.
+Behavioural boundaries: does s/he constantly show up late to things? How does s/he act with your friends? Does s/he flirt with other women in ways you consider inappropriate?
+Is s/he thoughtful and caring in the ways you need?
To be clear: it’s pretty unlikely you’re going to sit down and hash all of your expectations out when you first decide to date someone.
Maybe you’ll off-handedly mention some during your early dates, e.g. “I love being with someone, but I definitely value my time on my own some days as well”.
But in general, some boundaries in relationships won’t be made clear until they’re violated. That’s when it’s time to set your boundaries and make it clear what you expect in future.
When this happens, be very clear about exactly what bothered you.
++DON’T: go silent, ignore, call names, or make passive aggressive attacks toward your partner.
++DO: Take time to say how you feel about it. E.g. “When you arrive late all the time, it makes me feel like you don’t value my time, which then makes me feel angry. Could you please come on time in future? I don’t mind it once in a while, but when it keeps happening it becomes really frustrating…”
That way you’re communicating, (a) what you’re feeling, and (b) how s/he can change to solve the problem.
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