Relationship Boundaries

By: Susan Blackburn, MA, May 01, 2014

How do I ensure I don't cross my partners boundaries, or even my own?

Knowing each others boundaries is key to a strong relationship.

This strong sense of identity includes knowing what your values are, what you like, don’t like and how you want to express yourself through friendships, family relationships, your profession, a romantic partnership, hobbies and pastimes.

Having strong boundaries indicates where you begin and end relative to where others begin and end and ensures that you are clear about which thoughts, feelings and ideas are your own and which one’s belong to someone else. These limits act as a bridge between you and others instead of operating as a wall, which is too rigid, or a doormat, which is far too passive.

Walls are created when you feel victimized, disempowered and hurt in order to prevent others from having emotional access to you while doormat behavior is used in an attempt to gain love and please others. Both of these states are the antithesis of love as love reigns when you’re free to be yourself. Instead, boundary setting enables you to protect and celebrate your differences at the same time.

When two people with healthy boundaries interact, they inspire authenticity, interdependence and joy. They know that intimacy and trust are possible and that relationship challenges can be worked on cooperatively.

This desired state requires knowing that sensitivity is learned and can be replaced with assertive and confident behavior over time. It includes honoring your feelings and intuition, letting go of your erroneous beliefs about yourself, others and the world and releasing the past while focusing on the creation of the life you want.

Boundaries enable you to connect to others with confidence through appreciation and respect for your own unique perspective, personality and presence in relation to that others.

Susan Blackburn, M.A. is an Individual, Couples and Family Counsellor.

She is a member of the Ontario Association of Consultants, Counsellors, Psychometrists and Psychotherapists (OACCPP) and has a Masters degree in Counselling from the Adler School in Chicago, a B.A. (Honours) from York University and a B.Sc. in Business from the University of Phoenix.

Credentials include being a published author and several guest appearances on television and radio as an expert therapist including That Channel’s ‘Extraordinary Women TV’, the W Network’s ‘Style by Jury’ and Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s (of ‘Til Debt Do Us Part) show, ‘Princess’.