Updated: Jan 23
“Maintain your boundaries brooo!”
“Don’t let him/her/they take advantage of you.”
“This is like SO unhealthy.”
And if you’re a Bengalurian, “Why machaa you put one scene and Mrs got angry? Not nice-aa”
If you’ve encountered any of these statements, you’ve definitely had your fair share of friends telling you that your relationship in their perspective lacked something important. So, let’s go through the main question:
Why are boundaries important?
Boundaries are essential limits that people establish to determine how others can act around them. For example, they may include what conduct is acceptable and unacceptable, as well as how to respond if someone exceeds certain boundaries. Setting limits can help to ensure that relationships are courteous, acceptable, and caring. However, it's a sure fact that each and every one of you has felt your boundaries violated at some time in your life. This happens because of how they treat you, and the behaviors you tolerate under the tag of love. They may deny saying or telling you something, leading you to question your sanity. This is commonly known as gaslighting.
So what is breaching of these boundaries
There may also be situations where a stranger is approaching you too closely, or touching you (physical boundary), or asking you very intimate questions (emotional). Perhaps you have been the victim of emotional abuse or bullying at school or at work (psychological). All of these are instances of boundary breaches.
We frequently think that others will respect our limits because we have been raised and taught what is appropriate by our family and/or culture. Regrettably, this is not always the case. Although we have the ability to pick who we connect with in our personal lives, such as close friends, this is not always the case in other situations such as job, family, community, and so on. When we engage with people who have no respect for our boundaries, we may feel uncomfortable or even violated. In fact, it may be more difficult for persons who have mental health problems. The way we feel often tells us that our boundaries have been crossed. Confusion, worry, or a sense of being drained around someone might all be signals that our boundaries have been crossed. "Narcissists" are known for crossing lines, and this conduct looks to be on the rise in our society. As a result, we must understand how to have boundaries in the more intimate relationships that we foster in our lives.
How to have a “healthy relationship”?
Healthy boundaries are something that is very subjective to each relationship that you are a part of. It depends on a lot of factors and changes from relationship to relationship. Boundaries help in creating the perfect environment for you and your better half to grow through life while growing together. What may look healthy to you may not be healthy to the other party and as long as it is something both the individuals in the relationship want and is not abusive, it is completely okay.
It’s important to understand that when you get in a relationship it is important to distinguish yourself from the relationship. The aspect of how the identity is different from the relationship itself. It is easy to end up fighting and hating parts of the person’s personality that you once loved, eg. Maybe your partner is very outgoing and you are not. But you fell in love with this outgoing person and now you find the quality annoying as it could mean that you may have to be outside to spend time together. This is where you can draw the boundary and negotiate to a middle ground where you both can have fun and not hate the qualities you once loved in the other.
There are also cases where the couple tries to navigate through something as difficult as infidelity. This can be done by setting boundaries on how you cannot tolerate one more case or its end game for the both of you.
So what happens when your boundaries are too weak?
It’s simple. It always leads to a lack of respect and understanding. You may become irritated or resentful if you continue to say yes to things that might be better addressed with a no. Others may appear to be taking advantage of you or expecting you to offer too much.
Sometimes animosity arises because you are unaware that you have contributed to your too busy schedule. You can't see how you let your to-do list get out of control. Other times, you understand you are to blame and get enraged at yourself for allowing it to happen. This is especially applicable to long distance relationships as a balance is very important between your life with your partner and one with yourself. It is easy to get carried away and overcompensate for the distance but it doesn’t work that way!
On the flip side to that you can also set your boundaries on how much communication you require from your long distance partner. There can be easy negotiations done and you both can work something out that fits both your schedules. Understanding the perfect ratio between give and take in the relationship will help you find a happier relationship. Giving too much is emotionally draining and exhausting and so is being on the other end as the need to do something for your partner constantly can be hard as well. Boundaries can also be established with the family of your significant other. Especially if you look at relationships from an Indian context, this is a common thing where the significant other’s family encroaches the couple beyond the comfort levels of your partner. It is important to understand that the boundaries with family in these contexts are applied along with the boundaries with your partner.
To wrap it all up
Relationships are all about how well you can communicate and understand each other. It’s never an easy ride and setting of boundaries is the foundation for every successful relationship. Oftentimes you can also seek therapy just to understand where you need help with in terms of boundaries and better understand each other. It is commonly misunderstood that you need a “huge” issue for you to require therapy. But honestly, things really do not need to go out of control for you to go to therapy. You can figure it out at your pace and be better communicators by seeing a therapist.
We, at Safe Space Therapy, strive to provide the best couples therapy in Bengaluru. There are a lot of things different couples can figure out when equipped with the right communication skills. Book a slot here now!