Boundaries that Don’t Work
“Boundaries that often fail are those that include the words ‘always,’ ‘never’ or any absolute language,” said Bridget Levy, LCPC, a therapist who works with couples and directs business development at Urban Balance. Such boundaries are usually unrealistic and don’t last, she said. She shared these examples: “You can never” or “You must always.”Relationships Relationships Relationships Relationships Relationships
Other poor boundaries alienate you from your partner, have a double standard or try to manipulate an outcome, she said. She shared these examples: “If you aren’t home by 7 p.m. every night, I will not have sex with you,” “If you don’t do X, I will hurt myself” or “You are not allowed to do X, but I can do it when I please.”
Vague boundaries also don’t work. These include, she said: “Don’t spend a lot of money this month” or “Pick up the kids from school a few times a week.”
Many partners don’t even talk about their boundaries. They expect their partner to just know them. This is unfair, Howes said. For instance, you want your partner to recognize your accomplishments. Instead of expressing this need, you hint at it, play a game of “I’ll lavishly affirm you if you’ll return the favor” or mope around when it doesn’t happen, he said.Relationships Relationships Relationships Relationships Relationships
Not only is this ineffective, but it creates confusion and can hurt your relationship.