In case you didn’t know, most people are not mind-readers. So why do we assume that our loved ones should “just know” what we need from them? Communication is the key when setting boundaries! The earlier you start, the better the relationship can be. Let’s say that your girl/boyfriend wants to spend every single evening with you. Maybe you’re someone who enjoys your space and you need some alone time to “recharge”. The moment that you get that gut feeling that this isn’t what you need, speak up! It’s not worth stewing about.
The longer you stew, the more resentment that builds. This is not fair to you or to your significant other, and will only make the conversation harder in the long run. However, there is one very important exception to this rule: Wait to talk about setting boundaries when you are not angry.
If you start a conversation about boundaries and you are already angry, it’s likely not going to go well. Your significant other is going to feel attacked, they will become defensive, and you will unleash all of your frustrations and emotion on them.
Wait until you are calm and can approach the situation with a level head. Talk about a solution and work together to compromise. Avoid using “you statements” and don’t be accusatory or blaming.
Using the example above, you could say something like “I feel better when I get some time to myself alone to recharge my batteries. What if we plan to spend Wednesday evenings apart? The break will make Thursday evening together that much better!”
Continue to read this week for more tips on setting boundaries with loved ones. Thanks for reading! :)
Written by: Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW
Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Christy enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Christy also provides family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling.
Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.