Setting Healthy Boundaries
According to psychologist Leslie Becker-Phelps, Ph.D, healthy boundaries include everything from speaking up when you think you’re being disrespected to advocating for yourself to have time for your own interests.
Be self-aware. The first step in setting any boundary is self-knowledge, said Howes, who pens the blog “In Therapy.” “You need to know what you like and dislike, what you’re comfortable with versus what scares you, and how you want to be treated in given situations.”Relationships Relationships Relationships Relationships Relationships
Be clear about your needs. After you know what your needs are, tell your partner. Howes has found that many boundary violations stem from misunderstandings. One partner has a problem with certain behaviors, but they never let their partner know. Often this is because they worry it’ll trigger an argument, he said.
However, “it’s OK to have preferences, and it’s OK to let your lover know.” For instance, if you want to be treated as an equal with financial issues, tell your partner, he said.Relationships Relationships Relationships Relationships Relationships
Be specific and direct. According to Levy, the more specific you are with communicating your boundary, the better. She shared these examples:
- “I want to hear about your day. I’ll be available to give you my full attention in 10 minutes.”
- “If you put your dirty clothes in the hamper by 10 a.m. on Saturday morning, I’ll be happy to wash them for you.”
- “I love you but am not willing to call in sick for you when you’ve been drinking.”
- “Do not read my journal. I feel violated when my privacy is disrespected.”