Do We Have Proper Emotional Boundaries With Our Partners?
Hi, KALMers! Do you like watching romantic movies? Often, words that are said in such movies are along the lines of, “I would do anything for you.” In the movie, the protagonist would sacrifice everything for his or her lover, ready to do the grandest or silliest things just to see their lover smile. But keep in mind, KALMers, that those movies may instil unrealistic hopes towards our own partner.
In reality, your partner may not always be willing or able to fulfil all your needs. Why is that? Because in the real world, each of us needs to take care of ourselves and must take our own comfort and capability into consideration before we do things for our partner. This is called having emotional boundaries with our partners. You must respect the emotional boundaries that they set up, and similarly, you should also set one up with them.
Why Do We Need Emotional Boundaries With Our Partners?
“Aren’t we supposed to always be open and willing to do anything for our partners?” Of course not, KALMers. We definitely have some things that we are willing to do and other things we are not willing to. Just because we love them, it does not mean that we must put their needs before us all the time. Surely we find it taxing if we always have to fulfil other people’s needs even though it puts us in difficulty or discomfort.
So, don’t get mad if your partner doesn’t reply to your messages every hour, or if they refuse to be your plus one at your ex-partner’s wedding. If we love our partner, we should also respect their decision, and vice versa. If we desire a healthy relationship, emotional boundaries are important so that the things we do for our partner really comes from the heart. Not by force or out of fear of the consequences if we could not fulfil their wishes.
Healthy emotional boundaries in a relationship with your partner allows us to be comfortable with one another and develop good self-esteem. If communicated well and respected by both you and your partner, emotional boundaries would even strengthen your relationship!
How Do We Establish Emotional Boundaries With Our Partners?
Communicate About Each Other’s Feelings.
Sending hints or hoping that they would somehow know your wishes are not effective ways to establish emotional boundaries with our partner. Tell your partner about your feelings or thoughts toward things with honesty and respect. For instance, “I would appreciate it if you let me know when you’ve arrived home,” or “I usually go to bed before 10 PM, so I will reply to your messages the next day.” Ask your partner to communicate his or her emotional boundaries with you, too. Neither of you are mind readers and neither should not need to be one.
Do Not Assume Your Partner’s Feelings.
Misunderstandings could happen if you think your partner feels a certain way when you actually don’t know for sure. Ask your partner about their feelings when you have doubts, even if you feel like you already know him or her well. Clarity is important when we want to create emotional boundaries with our partner.
Apply The Emotional Boundaries With Our Partner We Have Established.
If you have let your partner know about your boundaries, the next step is to apply it the way you have communicated to your partner. Don’t let your boundaries be broken except for special considerations. For example, you may have already specified that you do not want to be contacted during certain times but your partner really needs your help at that moment. In this case, you may consider breaking your boundaries just for this time.
Be Responsible for Your Actions.
If you feel something you dislike or think your partner did something wrong, don’t immediately blame your partner. Take time to do some introspection, are there some responsibility on your part in causing the problem? Has there been a misunderstanding from your part?
Show Your Affection but Assert Your Boundaries.
For example, tell your partner “I love you, but I don’t want to lie to my friends to hang out with you.” Don’t get mad or act distant towards your partner if there had been, for instance, a misunderstanding. Try to talk your problem out with your partner and reaffirm your emotional boundaries. Make your partner feel loved and appreciated by respecting their emotional boundaries as well, and arrange some quality time when you are together.
Know When To Move On.
Does your partner demand their needs to be fulfilled, but ignore yours? If you have established your emotional boundaries yet your partner keeps on refusing to accept them, or even belittle and deliberately violate them, this may be the right time to end your relationship with them. Consider even whether your relationship is toxic. You can read more about toxic relationships in this article here.
Emotional Boundaries with Your Partner is A Way to Respect Each Other.
Establishing emotional boundaries with your partner may not always be easy, but they are one of the ways to show that you respect each other and appreciate that your partner is a whole different individual with their own needs and desires. If you are having difficulties in establishing emotional boundaries with your partner, don’t hesitate to consult a Kalmselor on the KALM app. Don’t forget, KALMers, a healthy couple is not two individuals who became one, but two different individuals who appreciate each other so much that they stay together!
Editor: Lukas L
Margarita Tartakovsky, M. (2020). Why Healthy Relationships Always Have Boundaries & How to Set Boundaries in Yours. Retrieved 13 June 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/why-healthy-relationships-always-have-boundaries-how-to-set-boundaries-in-yours/
Setting Boundaries in a Relationship. (2020). Retrieved 13 June 2020, from https://www.breakthecycle.org/blog/setting-boundaries-relationship