“We don’t need boundaries in our relationship. We don’t hide anything from one another”
First thing’s first: what are boundaries? They are not secrets, as some may have told you. Boundaries are the non negotiables of your relationship; the things that create a safe space for you to be vulnerable with your partner. Some examples could be the following:
- No gaslighting
- No lying or cheating
- No stonewalling
- No physical contact in emotionally heightened situations
Boundaries are a way to set the groundwork for your relationship moving forward. They help your partner understand the things that are important to you, and they tell a lot about how you “work” in a relationship.
For example, “Janet and Steve*”. Janet outlined a boundary for Steve to not stonewall during an argument. “When I say something he doesn’t like, he just ignores me and storms off. I don’t know when or if he’ll be back”. Janet has shown vulnerability about her fears regarding Steve’s commitment to her. Steve later shares that while he was growing up, he learned to walk away to avoid showing signs of intense anger. Now, a therapist or relationship coach is able to them to identify additional boundaries for their relationship.
“How do I know what my boundaries are?”
Your therapist or relationship coach can work with you to identify your boundaries. Hint: they’re usually the things that, when not followed, make you REALLY angry! Think about the things that are most important to you in your relationship (trust, integrity, etc.), the things that make you feel safe (honesty, genuineness, etc.) and let your therapist do the rest!
*Janet and Steve are fictional clients. Any relation to actual persons is unintended