What are some examples of boundaries (physical and otherwise) in a romantic relationship?
The very premise of a romantic relationship is safety. When we connect with anyone in a relationship of any kind: social, business, transactional, friendship or love, we want to feel comfortable. Especially when we choose a romantic partner, we want to feel respected and considered. We all want to feel that we matter. Generally, as a relationship develops, trust is built organically over time by the words and actions of each partner. Both begin to feel the reliability, the interest, the care and concern, the respect and the admiration from the other. Mostly this happens naturally. If a moment of discomfort arises, only a small utterance should be necessary. Or sometimes something with a bit more force and clarity is needed:
“Wait, you’re walking too fast for me.” or
“Hang on, I’m not ready to leave yet.” or
“Eh, don’t really want to talk about it; that’s a sensitive subject for me.” or
“Hey, honey, can you please stop interrupting me?” or
“Nah, I really don’t want to have another drink, thanks. No, really”. or
“Honestly, yeah, sorry, I really just don’t enjoy doing that during sex.” or
“I guess I need a little more social time with my friends than you do.” or
“You know what? I think I just need the morning to myself.” or
“I know I you like when I hang around the kitchen while you’re cooking, but sorry to disappoint, babe, it’s just not my favorite thing.” or
“You know, I am actually not as into sharing when we go our to eat as you are. I like having my own.” or
“You know, I’m feeling frustrated because I don’t want to be in charge of the cleaning up around our apartment. I really need us to share it more.” or
“I know I said I would go to the store, but my day was too long and I’m afraid I am too tired now. I will go tomorrow” or
“Honey, I feel like you are taking over all the organizing in our place and I don’t have a say here.” or
“I know you are angry about what happened, but you can’t just talk to me disrespectfully.” or
“Honey, I’m sorry, I’m not going to give up something that is really important to me like that. ”
Your relationship will ultimately not succeed if you cannot comfortably set appropriate boundaries for yourself. They may generally evolve organically and effortlessly.
But there will always be times when there is a slight, or sometimes a wide, misalignment of wants and needs. Then is your moment to find your own self and simply state what you would like. Blame need not be entered as a focus to make the point. Your feelings and thoughts about yourself should stand on their own with importance.
Remember, cliched as it is, you truly cannot love someone else until you love yourself. Your relationship matter, yes, but you matter individually also. Of course, compromise and acceptance are essential elements to any happy relationship. The space between you and your partner is important to establish, manage and maintain, so you can have the most love and joy possible.