Written by Joseph • August 7, 2015
Have you ever skipped going to the health club one day because you just absolutely had no motivation to get all sweaty and tired? Or what about gorging on a half-gallon of ice cream to cope with your stress? Ever leave the mall wondering what the heck you were thinking maxing out your credit card? […]
Boundaries & Relationship Types
Tips For Boundary – Setting Success
As an individual, determine whether you struggle with maintaining healthy boundaries in your relationships and life in general. Difficulties with boundaries can come from many sources, including: being raised in a dysfunctional family where unhealthy boundaries were modeled, low self-esteem, lack of individual identity and codependency, poor assertiveness and social skills, being in an abusive or toxic relationship, being easily guilt-prone, having addictions of any kind, having power/control issues, getting a sense of validation for catering to a relationship partner, etc. Try to identify where your struggles with boundaries originate and keep track of what triggers your self-sabotaging behavior. Work aggressively at overcoming these personal hurdles to promote a more solid and confident sense of self.
Take a class on assertiveness training or get some counseling to help you build skills in identifying your needs and feelings and how to directly express them without guilt or qualification.
As a couple, plot out a relationship mission statement that specifies your values and expectations for behavioral conduct as individuals and as a couple. This becomes your “relationship contract” that will give you a structure by which to live your life with integrity and stability. Introduce spontaneity and novelty into your relationship from time to time so you don’t feel like you’re living according to a policies and procedures manual and to keep the spark alive.
Make sure that you both define your particular boundaries around money, household management and domestics/division of labor, sex, monogamy vs. non-monogamy, parenting roles (if applicable), work, friends, family, health, spirituality, the way anger is dealt with, how you spend your time, etc. It may seem like a lot of material to cover, but the more that’s communicated will lessen the opportunity for surprise violations to occur in the future. It’s a great way to learn more about each other too and create further growth as a couple.
Realize that you and your guy will not always see eye-to-eye on things. It will be important to recognize and appreciate your differences and have systems in place to manage disagreements (eg. fair-fight rules, taking Time-Outs when anger gets unproductive, following the problem-solving process for reaching win/win solutions, practicing forgiveness and compromise, etc.). Communication is key of course! Make sure you’re both well adept in the fine art of active listening to help pave the way toward resolution.
Boundaries protect your relationship from outside forces as well. Should family or friends try to come between you, even if well-intentioned, always stand by your man and reinforce your commitment to each other. Don’t enable other peoples’ efforts to force their viewpoints and projections onto your relationship.
So whether you’re single and looking for Mr. Right or you’ve already found him, recognize the profound importance boundaries have on your well-being and quality of life. Without them, you’re left in a vulnerable position and can make poor choices that could adversely affect the course of your life. Knowing yourself and standing up for what you believe in can empower you to enjoy life to the fullest and accomplish great things in your relationships.
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