How To Set Boundaries In Your Relationships?
As women, setting boundaries in relationships may not come easy. We’re often used to doing all, being all and giving all to others, and at the risk of losing ourselves in the process.
That leads to a drain on our emotions and our energy and hinders the development of quality relationships. Here are a few tips on how to set boundaries in your relationships.
Why Set Boundaries In Your Relationships?
Healthy relationships of any kind have boundaries. A healthy relationship boundary is a line where you end, and the other person sort of begins. Without those boundaries being clearly defined, the people in the relationship may be confused and suffer from emotional distress.
Boundaries in relationships show a commitment to mutual respect for feelings and opinions. Healthy relationship boundaries set expectations for how you want to be treated, and how you’ll treat the other person in the relationship. Whether it’s with your partner/spouse, your children, your friends or your coworkers, relationship boundaries protect you and also allow you to have deep, meaningful connection with the other person.
How To Set Boundaries In Your Relationships?
- Know Your Needs.
Your needs in a relationship matter, but you can’t expect someone to know them or understand them if you don’t know and understand them yourself. Be self-aware and know your likes and dislikes. Know what things you want from your relationships and what you don’t want and won’t tolerate. Plan on how you want to be treated, and how you’ll treat the other person within the relationship.
To be fully aware of what your needs are in the relationship, you first need to know and love yourself. Author and Forgiveness Coach Brenda Reiss shares a very enlightening exercise to develop self-love from her article Love The One Your With.
Each day take 3 minutes and look into your eyes in the mirror. Set your timer on your phone. You want to take the full 3 minutes.
- Look into your eyes
- What feelings arise?
- Do you want to look away? Do you look away? Does it feel intense?
- What are the thoughts that arise? Does it sound like “this is stupid”, “of course I love myself. I don’t need to do this”.
- Stay there a little longer
- Does your mind start to calm down?
- How about those feelings? Is there sadness, grief, joy, peace, calm?
Practice this every day for 7 days and see how you feel. I encourage you to keep going until you can look at yourself and feel peace, even love.
- Communicate Your Needs.
Again, you can’t expect others to understand your needs in a relationship if they’re not aware of them. When you’re setting up boundaries in relationships, it’s vital that you communicate those needs to the other person/people. You can’t expect people to read your mind, and you need to be clear and direct about your needs and expectations. Most of the boundary-crossing that happens in relationships is because one person was not clear and direct about their needs and their boundaries. Communication is key!
- Manage Expectations.
Just as it’s important for you to communicate your needs, it’s vital for you to manage the expectations of the other people in your relationships. An important part of setting up boundaries in relationships is managing the expectations of others. This means you’ll have to ask them about their expectations and needs, and you’ll have to decide if they’re ones you find acceptable and with which you can work. If you feel a family member is taking advantage of your kindness or generosity, talk to them about what they expect from you and whether or not you can meet their need. Managing the expectations of others is the best way to respect the boundaries of any relationship, and to help ensure that your relationship boundaries are not breached either.
- Know Your Limits
It’s often ingrained upon us that we give, give, give even if that means that we give all of ourselves and leave nothing. You don’t have to be the super woman of your relationships. They should be about give and take, and if you’re doing way more of the giving than you are of the taking, it’s okay for you to set boundary lines for how much you’re comfortable giving. It’s easy to burn out of relationships in which the boundaries are too often crossed, but if you know your limits and are ready to exercise them, this will happen far less.
We sometimes feel like setting up boundaries in relationships sounds harsh, but that couldn’t be less true. Healthy relationships need boundaries in order for all the involved parties to thrive. Consider setting up boundaries in relationships an investment in yourself and others, as doing so allows you to enjoy your relationships to the fullest.
Some of the most rewarding relationships if our lives are the ones we have with our children. Creating relationships with your children as adults can be challenging, but when navigated and cultivated they can be better than you could have hoped
According to the AARP, divorce rates have nearly doubled since the 1990s. This means that more women are finding themselves in different roles in mid-life. Additionally, this can change the dynamics of their relationships with their adult children as often it feels like there are ‘sides’ and everyone has to choose one.
Even if you’re not widowed or divorced, you may find that the relationships you have with your adult children are not as fulfilling as you hoped they might be. Creating new relationships with your adult children takes work, and we’ve got a few tips on how to rejuvenate those family bonds.
They’re Not Kids Anymore
It’s often said that getting older is not for sissies! Truer words have never been spoken. As we get older, we may find it difficult to view our adult children as adults. We still see them as the adorable little girls and boys with milk mustaches and silly Halloween costumes. While the years may pass quickly, letting go gets harder and harder.
Whether you find you need to create new relationships with your adult children because of the death of/divorce from your partner, or you simply need to get used to the idea that they’re not kids anymore, it takes work. The most important thing you can do is recognize this and then move into action to create new relationships with your children.
Divorce and Death Add New Dimensions
When you and your partner divorce, or your partner dies, the relationship with your adult children changes. You might experience anger from your adult children, as they’re not sure why the divorce happened. Or, they may be angry if they find out you just stayed in the marriage ‘for their sake,’ because they’ll feel like so much of their life wasn’t what they thought it was.
Or, if you’re in a different dynamic with your children because your spouse or partner has died, you may find that they immediately want to take the reins and begin ‘parenting’ you. This can be endearing at first, but frustrating as you’re still capable of taking care of yourself.
In these cases, the most important thing you can do is communicate with your adult children. Let them know that you understand their feelings, and you want to validate them. Let them know that you won’t speak badly about their other parent, nor will you lean too heavily on them in the event of the death of their other parent, as you know they’re grieving too. Communication is key when establishing new relationships with your adult children.
While divorce and death do uniquely affect your relationships with your adult children, simply the nature of their growing up and becoming adults makes it imperative you create new relationships with them.
You have to learn to let go of wanting to parent each step they take, and you have to learn to hold back when they’re finding their footing in this world they’re navigating. Even if you’re not divorced, or your partner hasn’t died, your relationships with your children will change because you are all adults doing adult things. Remember that now, as the mother to adult children, your advice is just that—advice. They’re no longer expected to take it simply because you say so, and so a little trusting encouragement goes a long way.
Recognize that instead of losing the little ones they were, you’ve now been given these amazing adults to bond with and grow with. Embrace the new relationships by allowing them to grow organically. Life changes whether are ready or not and creating new relationships with our adult children is one of the privileges that comes with change. Embrace them and bloom with them; who better to do so with than the amazing children you raised?
Whether it is your adult children, or any other relationships in your life, having boundaries is the way to create healthy bonds. Boundaries allow you to get what you need from your relationships and it sets the other person in the relationship up for success. If the other person has no idea of your wants and needs, they will constantly disappoint and be left feeling that they are failing you time and time again. So, while you might feel that setting boundaries is harsh, impolite or even mean it is actually one of the kindest things you can do for your friends, spouse and children. We all want to show up in our relationships in the best possible way and boundaries allows that to happen with ease.
Owner, Fave Lifestyles
I was becoming an empty nester, a woman of a more interesting age and in transition. Sound familiar? I was at that place where we question our purpose, value, and worth and what in the world are we going to do with the rest of our lives.
I noticed women have a huge hunger to belong to a community of women where they can feel safe, share openly from their heart and have other women to do life with! This is why I created my Fave Lifestyles.
Fave is for the woman who wants to call Fave her community of women who support, uplift, and make her feel better about herself. I want to create a place where we help her answer life's questions and just do life together!
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