Boundaries are important in any type of relationship, but they’re especially essential in a romantic partnership. Unfortunately, people have a lot of misconceptions about boundaries. They aren’t necessarily rules or restrictions for your relationship.
Rather, they are clear lines that indicate what you’re comfortable, what you need, and what you want.
If you aren’t able to clearly express boundaries in a relationship, you run the risk of developing communication problems, trust issues, and even struggles with intimacy. Boundaries help your relationship to grow comfortably, securing your bond with your partner so you both feel safe to open up and be vulnerable.
But, even if you’ve set boundaries before, don’t assume you’re set forever. Sometimes, boundaries need to be reinforced in a relationship, and it’s important to know the signs.
You’re Starting to Feel Resentful
Do you do things for your partner that you really don’t want to do on a regular basis? Or, do they do things that bother you, but you haven’t reaffirmed your boundaries? If so, you’re going to start to feel resentful about those things, and perhaps about your partner, in general.
When you don’t reinforce boundaries, things start to slip through the cracks. They might not seem like a big deal at first. But, eventually, they can start to bother you to the point of resentment. Maybe they go against your values or beliefs, or maybe they’re just things you’re not comfortable with.
Whatever the case, resentment can lead to more arguments, a lack of effective communication, and underlying issues that aren’t being properly discussed.
You’ve Shifted Your Persona
Relationships are about compromise. It’s natural to adjust your presentation to fit your partner’s needs and wants. But, that doesn’t mean you should lose yourself in the process.
If you’ve started to become a “chameleon” in your relationship, shifting your persona into whatever your partner needs or wants, it’s not going to end well. You’ll lose your sense of self, you’ll start to struggle with feelings of self-worth, and you might start to become dependent on your partner for your own happiness.
You’re Jealous of Other Relationships
Do you ever find yourself wishing you had the kind of relationship your sister has with her partner? Or, maybe you love watching your best friend and their spouse interact because they both have clear boundaries that are respected in the relationship.
While you’ll never know what’s going on behind closed doors, if couples are portraying healthy boundaries in public, it’s likely they have those same boundaries when no one is looking. If you find yourself coveting those relationships, it’s a red flag that your own partnership is lacking the boundaries it needs to stay healthy.
You’re Angry Most of the Time
Emotions always demand to be felt. Don’t try to push them down thinking they’ll disappear. If you find yourself feeling angry more often than not, especially when you think about your relationship, it’s a sign that your needs aren’t being met.
You can try to ignore those feelings or tell yourself things aren’t that bad. But, boundaries are essential for a reason. They aren’t there to stifle your relationship, but strengthen it.
If you’re angry or frustrated when it comes to your relationship and it’s starting to impact other areas of your life, don’t wait to reinforce boundaries. Have an ongoing conversation with your partner about your needs and wants, and open yourself up to hear their needs, too.
More importantly, make sure your boundaries are something you revisit frequently. People change, and your boundaries can, too. The more open you are with each other, the more valued you’ll both feel within your relationship.