Today is the final part of my 3 part explanation of the fundamentals of boundaries in relationships. In part one, I explained why boundaries are necessities, how boundaries are mostly taught through actions, how we teach people how to teach us, and how the core thread of human behaviour in relationships is acceptance and rejection. In part two, it was the big revelation that even if you don’t have boundaries, he does, plus I explained the necessity of consequences, and how ‘NO’ is not a dirty word. Here is the final 3….
8. Don’t use assumptions to drive your expectations of how others should behave
There’s a lot of reason why there is that saying about how making assumptions will make an ‘ass’ out of you – In speaking with many women over the last few years and reading the comments on this site, I see variations of this notion that we assume that because we think, feel, and act a certain way that the other person will do what we expect. This can feed into this idea that there are no boundaries necessary because surely the other party will do the right thing because they love you, care about you, are sleeping with you, or saying all of the right things?
Assumptions are not the same as expectations and you can’t have expectations of someone and a relationship without having boundaries.
Just as importantly though, you must sanity check your assumptions and expectations to unsure that you’re not under or over expecting…
Life is not a fairy tale. People don’t always do the right thing or even the thing that we expect. Yes it would be nice to assume and expect that everyone will play nice and be respectful within relationships, but there are too many factors that impact on a persons behaviour within a relationship to do this.
As women we find it far easier to deny the reality of someone’s behaviour, continue to make assumptions and expectations, and continue to let them cross boundaries or test them as we opt for dining off potential and being ‘optimistic’.
Claiming that you love, care, or want someone doesn’t give you an IOU to claim on and you cannot make assumptions or have expectations about someone who doesn’t have both feet in a relationship where there are no boundaries in place to ensure that you are not disrespected.
Assuming leads to uncommunicated expectations, which more often than not leads to boundary issues and this is because as discussed in part two, you are not communicating your boundaries, whether that is verbally or through actions.
Creating boundaries for your relationships leads to you being able to understand your expectations of a relationship. Where there is one, there is the other.
What is surprising though is that we love assuming and expecting without the boundaries in place to reflect our ‘ideals’…
If you look at it like this: If your boundaries are that you are only prepared to be involved with men who not attached to anyone else, who don’t disrespect you, who contribute to the relationship, who behave with honesty and integrity with you and others, and who don’t abuse you, drugs, alcohol etc, you not only will expect that a man will stay within these boundary lines but you won’t actually find yourself accepting the attention of a lying cheat that has a penchant for coke… You’ll tell him to walk and keep walking.
9. When someone disrespects your boundaries, it’s unlikely to be just once. Where one boundary bust exists, there’s others.
This is why it’s important not to be short sighted and look at the overall picture. Instead of going – but he has some nice qualities or he’s great on his good days – it’s looking beyond the trees to the wood and saying – well most people have their good points but I cannot ignore the fact that he has done X, Y, and Z and that does not work for me.
Say it with me – If my boundaries are being crossed, this does not work for me. I can fight it, I can demand that they comply, but if nothing changes, it does not work for me.
This is why it is important to distinguish between what is completely unacceptable and what constitutes a wake up and pay attention warning.
The former means you opt out straight away – these are your core boundaries that should not change.
The latter means that you are not only aware of a potential problem but that you address it to ensure that it’s not something bigger that leads to it being a no-go. These are like your warning lights on the way to the boundary zone that give you indicators.
There’s no point in him sharing the same interests as you (for eg skiing, drinking fine wine, great for debating politics with etc), if the guy is a frickin assclown that won’t commit, won’t grow up, isn’t sure what he wants with you, screws around on you, calls you names, and repeatedly disrespects you and the relationship.
I wouldn’t feel that my boundaries had been crossed if a guy wanted to split the bill on the date but I would feel my boundaries had been crossed if he didn’t turn up, or if he said that he would call in a few days, but instead I heard from him several weeks later talking to me like we’d just spoken the day before…
Stick with a guy like this and he’ll always feel he can breeze in and out of your life, and even if you bollock him and tell him he’s out of line, he eventually figures out what what the maximum amount of time is that he can get away with not calling and he’ll ride with that.
10. Having boundaries is not just about ensuring that people don’t disrespect you – It’s about ensuring that you don’t keep putting yourself in situations where YOU end up disrespecting YOU.
Boundaries act as a signal that says step back. Your core boundaries should be your deal breakers, your ‘unacceptables’, your red flag, abort mission, the I don’t care what my libido or what I think my heart says, I’ve got to get out…for me.
If a guy tried to be overtly sexual with me on a first date or made an attempt to sleep with me, a warning alert would go to my brain. If he persisted and wouldn’t drop it, the alert would turn into a boundary crossing and I knew it was game over no credits.
You need to know your limits. This is liking, loving, and trusting your instincts so that even in those times when you do start to get carried away, that your core values and foundations that drive your boundaries, give you a base to come home to roost on…and get real and stay real.
That negative voice you have at times has no bounds and will leave you indecisive as you become riddled with self-doubt so you just ride the wave and hope everything will pan out because you don’t have a basis to sanity check your instincts against. Don’t allow negativity to power your decisions because you will end up with a negative result.
Get ahead on understanding waste of space men and relationships with my ebook, Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl. Find out more and download.