This week I heard the song “I can’t go for that” by Rumer and Daryl Hall. It made me ponder the question of relationship boundaries. Have you thought about where your boundaries in a relationship are lately? Ponder with me…
We usually start out with a relationship being in head-over-heels love for one another where we are tempted to full-heartedly believe in the romantic notion of “I’ll do anything for you”. Even though that is completely normal at the very beginning of a relationship, it is not normal, when you progress into everyday life.
When we relate with our partner past the honeymoon stage we usually come back to our more realistic self, meeting the more realistic self of the partner. That’s where, sometimes, the disillusionment sets in and some relationships fall apart.
In a perfect world
In everyday life and once we ‘come back to our true self’ we should, in a perfect world, re-evaluate our relating and discuss boundaries. What are the things, behaviours and actions you like or dislike and what is non-acceptable? Have you ever thought about it yourself, let alone communicated with your partner? Well, most couples would have to answer a truthful no – you’re not alone.
Where do you dare me to draw the line?
Start by thinking it through by yourself. Simply list things, behaviours and actions, in relation to your partner, in three categories: like/need – dislike but somewhat acceptable (borderline) – not acceptable or not possible.
- From past experience or what I’ve seen and heard, what is it that I like and need in my relationship? It might be open communication, respect or honesty.
- From past experience or what I’ve seen and heard, what is it that I dislike but can accept to a certain degree? It might be going out without telling me when you come back, taking my things (laptop) without asking or not communicating when we have visitors.
- From past experience or what I’ve seen and heard, what is it that I dislike and is non-acceptable? It might be physical violence like hitting, stonewalling for days (not speaking as a form of punishment) or having sexual relationships outside our relationship.
I can’t go for that
Once you bring your list to an open discussion with your partner, you might find out that some things he/she likes, you don’t want to do or agree to or you simply might not be able to do. In the song, Daryl Hall says: “I can’t go for being twice as nice”. Your husband/partner might not be very social when visitors are around. Your wife/girlfriend might not want to be in a sexually open relationship.
Pretend or real? Dependent or honouring self?
You can choose the relationship you would like to be in, with your partner and also with your self. Choose wisely.
Doing something for someone else, even if it’s your partner, which speaks against your core values will sooner or later dissatisfy you.