Boundaries and Intimacy
“We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.” -~Sam Keen
The Webster dictionary defines boundaries as “A line that marks the limits of an area.” Boundaries are limits. But in relationships boundaries set you free.
Emotional boundaries define what we need for ourselves and from our partners. We share the limits that help us feel safe, loved and protected. Boundaries are the foundation of emotional intimacy.
Each of us comes to our relationship with a unique set of experiences, interpretations and beliefs about the world that signal to us what feels safe and what feels threatening.
When you hold back from setting boundaries essentially what you’re saying is, “I’ll keep my needs, limits, feelings and desires to myself to keep you here/happy/in love with me.” This can’t help but backfire. When you hide what you need or assume your partner would know if s/he really loved you, you grow resentful. You may carry on for a while pretending you’re not hurt, but eventually you blow up. The pattern repeats and before you know it you have convinced yourself that your partner really doesn’t love you, or at least not enough.
This is not to say that stating your boundaries ensures they’re never crossed. We are all human and we inadvertently (and sometimes intentionally) tread on each other’s boundaries. But stating them out loud in a respectful way helps your partner knows what’s really important to you.
In healthy relationships, boundaries are welcome. You want to support, encourage and nurture each other. You strive to respect your partner’s unique self, boundaries and all.