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Love & Boundaries

Overview

How much does your partner resemble the person you fell in love with? How easy does your relationship feel now compared to what it was like before?

Take a minute to think about how things “used to be” between the two of you. Has it changed?

Do you have the same cosy and fuzzy feelings about your other half, or are there more than a few things you wish he or she would work on?

Do the two of you seem to enjoy just being in each other’s company, or has your time together become littered with bickering, tension, fighting or feeling like you’re walking on eggshells because you just can’t be bothered with the pointless arguments that drain every ounce of energy in you?

How secure do you both feel in your relationship? Does one of you sometimes or often get jealous? Do you argue about how much time should be given to people and activities outside the relationship?

Whether you’re experiencing one of these scenarios or something similar, you might be asking yourself whether the person you’re with is truly right for you.

After all, why would these problems exist in a healthy relationship? Isn’t there supposed to be mutual acceptance, harmony, trust, honesty, respect and security?

Hang on a second … Aren’t we meant to feel in love?

Falling In Love can be terrifying and furthermore the very nature of an intimate relationship creates the perfect conditions for you to experience conflict and negative feelings. Theres nothing like the vulnerability and intimacy of a close relationship to bring out the very worst in you and your partner, why? Because the experience of being so closely involved with someone offers the opportunity to be completely known. You’re stripped naked, in every sense of the word.

This person is going to know every little thing about you. Everything. And that can be absolutely petrifying!

When you’re just getting to know someone, you’re on your best behavior. You’re putting your best foot forward, taking the time and effort to look your best and doing things to please each other. But you can only keep that going for so long. Sooner or later, your “best foot forward” slips into the real you with all your quirks and patterns.

Healthy Personal Boundaries means taking responsibility for your own actions and emotions, NOT taking responsibility for the actions or emotions of others

People with poor boundaries typically come in two flavours which are those who take too much responsibility for the emotions or actions of others and those who expect others to take too much responsibility for their own emotion or actions.

We all make them but yet we’re reluctant to acknowledge our mistakes. Rather than apologising and just admitting we were wrong, we’ll twist ourselves into positions that not even a a lifetime of learning Ashtanga Yoga could get us in. Why? To trick the Mind by giving it an excuse.

At the beginning of the relationship, you’re both secretly wondering, “When he or she finds out this about me, when they know the real me will they still love me and will they still want me?”
As your relationship progresses and you become closer, this fear of being “found out” actually becomes worse and far more intense, creating an underlying discomfort within you.

Instead of settling into the relationship and feeling secure, your subconscious invokes a series of “tests” to find out if, indeed, your partner really and truly does love you.

Sadly, these tests can actually create the very outcome you don’t want, which is why we say that love often triggers the very actions that destroy a relationship.

When you first meet your partner, you think to yourself, “Where have you been all my life?”

As time goes on, you start finding little annoying habits and huge character flaws in your soul mate and you wonder how you’ll ever be able to live with them.

Did you fall in love with your partner’s spontaneity…but now you can’t stand it that he or she won’t plan anything beyond this weekend?

“Going with the flow was fun then,” you tell yourself, but it’s just not practical over the long haul!

When we’re afraid of not being truly loved for who we are, we often become critical of our partners. Why? Because it’s much easier to pick out what’s wrong in someone else rather than to admit that we need loving and attention in ourselves. Provoking and looking for an argument is one of the most obvious ways partners test each other. You’re trying to see how far you can push each other and still maintain a connection.

An example: You’ve spent an amazing day and night together, the kind where you felt really in tune with each other but when all of a sudden you notice they’ve left cups, spoons and the lid not put back on the coffee jar and you just can’t help but point it out.

From one minute to the next, the entire mood of the day changes. They feels criticised and retreat, you feel as though you’re always talking loud when talking on your phone. And the lot is up up in the air.
The bigger problem is that a relationship can only withstand so much negative interaction.

A pattern of constant fighting and making up inevitably takes its toll, leaving both of you feeling even less secure with each other. All of us enter into relationships with two opposing fears, the need to be close, and the need to develop and express our individuality. In a relationship, partners often push each other’s boundaries on both ends of the spectrum,one partner wants more time together, while the other seems to get wrapped up in things outside the relationship. The more one pushes, the more the other pulls away.

In either case, each person is testing to see how far they can go without completely pushing away the other. If they can’t find a comfortable balance, the smothering or distancing behaviors can dangerously drain away positive feelings.

If you’re not aware of how certain fears are operating under the surface for you, you’ll continue to repeat destructive patterns from relationship to relationship. You’ll think you keep choosing the wrong partner or are somehow doomed to remain unhappy in love.

Addressing only one core issue can solve a multitude of problems within your relationship.

There is nothing that any one person can say or do to convince you of their love. The real test is whether YOU truly love yourself.

When you don’t fully love yourself, it’s impossible to believe that someone else can love all of you, too. When you don’t fully embrace all the qualities and traits that make you who you are, you’ll always be haunted by the worry that the person you’re with will fall out of love with you.

As long as you don’t fully love yourself, you will continue to test and push your partner’s love to the limit and likely create the unfortunate outcome that you really don’t want. It’s important to know that everything is rooted in the fundamental concept of loving yourself first. Loving yourself first is the key to happiness. But remember loving yourself also means acknowledging when you have been wrong.

In the end, it takes courage and determination to see the truth instead of the convenient.
But it’s well worth the effort.

The Details

You Can Love Someone and Still Have Boundaries

Just because you are in love does not mean you have to let everything go. Love can—and should—involve boundaries. You and your significant other are still two separate people with different needs, wants, expectations. Boundaries are healthy.

Boundaries often have a bad rap. They can be perceived as pushing away the other or creating distance. That is not the case at all, the healthiest of relationships have boundaries. A relationship isn’t a free ride in another person’s life. It does not entitle one person to treat another a certain way. Establishing boundaries can very much be an act of love. It is a way to get deeper in the intimate details of your significant other’s personality and needs. It is opening the doors of communication and being honest with each other.

Boundaries are a way to love yourself

Boundaries are a way to love yourself, to make strides in your life to take care of you and what you need, and they are also a way of loving another. There is the saying “I love you too much to let you act like that.” Think about your children and when you have had to punish them for hitting a sibling, or stealing from a friend— you are establishing a boundary by telling them you are not ok with that. Similar things can happen in a relationship—maybe you have a partner who frequently takes part in unhealthy behaviors or is short-tempered. By communicating with your partner that these behaviors are things you are not comfortable with and you will not stand by and be part of them then you are doing some good for yourself and for your partner. You want to see them live their best life.

We all have limits

We need each other but we all also have limits. A boundary can be as simple as establishing a time to be by yourself. Maybe after work you are stressed and just need to unwind in quiet, so you lock yourself away to watch a few minutes of TV or read a book and you ask your partner to leave you be during that time. Maybe you have a longstanding tradition with a family member that is special and your significant other suddenly wants to be part of it, and you explain that this is something that is important to you and this family member—a tradition of sorts. Maybe its a food that you don’t like and you ask your partner not to prepare that item for you personally any more. Or maybe it is down to how your clothes are folded or a chore around the house is performed. If you are not ok with it, it is ok to tell the other person to leave it be and you will take care of it.

When setting boundaries with your partner be calm, open your heart and mind to what they have to say, and establish greater respect for both yourself and him/her/they. When we keep our mouths shut and just “go with it,” or try to be “above” by not saying anything we are quietly building up resentment that will eventually explode into an argument or even the end of the relationship. Before things get to that point, speak your concerns, let your partner know what you need and acknowledge that they also have needs.

Women’s Therapy Institute – (Helping women and girls feel better).

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