Interview with Dr. Pauline Belton Establishing Boundaries Boundaries are the cornerstone of any relationship Setting boundaries lets you partner know the things that are important to you. It allows your partner to know what you like and what you expect. It also allows your partner to know he things that make you feel uneasy. When Setting Boundaries Be open or honest about how your experiences shape your world. Share how your feelings have affected you. Communicate your needs to your spouse. Let your partner know the things that make you feel healthy happy and protected Look at your partner like he or she is the love of your life and not an obstacle in your life. This allows you to remain open to their perceptions. It will decrease the defensive response. Types of Boundary Pitfalls Disconnected: When one partner tends to set rigid type boundaries and emphasize self-sufficiency. One person feels “it is all about me.” Overstepping: One person prefers to be more in control in the relationship. The other person will sometimes just go along in an attempt not to cause any trouble. The controlling partner minimizes the boundaries or expectations of their partner. Merged boundaries: The line is blurred. This looks like the lack of individuality, and can lead to being unclear about what will happen in a relationship. Engulfing Boundary: One partner overshadows the other; Only their opinion counts. The assumption is that their partner should go with the flow. This will smother your partner Problems with not discussing boundaries When you don’t divulge the things that make you feel unsafe or insecure, problems can escalate. When you don’t talk, assumptions run free. Remember, the things that you are comfortable with may not be the same things that your partner is comfortable with. This can lead to one person developing frustration and not sharing with their partner, which can contribute to increased problems. You can begin to speak about boundaries at any point in your relationships. As you encounter life, boundaries may adjust; therefore, this needs to be an ongoing conversation. When speaking about boundaries, don’t dictate, have a conversation. Use “I messages” as opposed to you. For example, tell your spouse “I would like to talk about our day when you get home” Overall, Setting Boundaries allows you and your spouse to know what you want the relationship to look like. These boundaries help with establishing the foundation for your relationship.