personal boundaries in relationships

Relationship Boundaries – Are You Screwing This Up Too?

Everyone has and needs their own personal space via relationship boundaries, everyone.

This was a big and recent lesson for me so I’m passing on how I screwed up and came back from the brink so you don’t have to go through the same painful experience.


The Boundaries Back-Story

Even though you’ve got many trusting relationships with family, friends and loved ones, taking boundaries for granted is paved with eventual heartache.

I should know because, in hindsight, I’ve always been unknowingly overstepping the mark.

You see, this just wasn’t something I knew about. I know now how vitally important it is though.

When I was growing up, my parents never ever mentioned anything about people’s boundaries or giving thought to ‘social niceties’ such as not making myself at home with someone new.

Can you see how this is going to shape up when I meet a new person and make myself at home?


Mistake 1

Not Even Knowing That Everyone Has Relationship Boundaries

learn what personal boundaries are
Learn what personal boundaries are

Everyone has possessions that they class as theirs. An iPad, computer, clothes, the humble refrigerator or even something simple as a notebook.

Here’s two examples:

1. Much the same as educating your kids in respecting the boundaries of their friend’s parent’s homes.

Respect they can’t overstay their welcome so it never gets to the point of the parents needing to (uncomfortably) ask them when they’re leaving.

Or thinking they can simply ask to be fed or raid the fridge for snacks – that’s showing a lack of respect for another’s family unit boundaries.

2. My wife has a laptop, as I do. It’s a Macbook Pro and obviously computers require updating, from time to time. I failed to properly understand that I simply can’t charge in an install updates whenever I feel there’s a need.

Sure, she trusts me in doing the updates and computer maintenance but it’s her property and there’s a boundary.


Mistake 2

Forgetting To Ask Permission

First there’s actually knowing people have defined boundaries and then there’s the need to ask for permission to cross them.

In the example above with the laptop, I needed to understand it’s her laptop. It isn’t mine. I know updates are needed and she knows they are needed and happy for me to do them – PROVIDING I ask her for permission to do them, at a time that suits her and telling her what I’m going to do and why.

Remember To Ask and Show Respect

Never think you have any rights when it comes to another’s property, even when it’s a part of the same household.

For the most part, you’ll still be able to achieve the objective but ensuring everyone is being kept in the picture and why is the important part.


Mistake 3:

Are You Aware When You Cross The Line?

The third part comes into play when you’re doing the first two properly.

People won’t feel controlled or threatened so are more likely to let you know when you might have inadvertently crossed a line you didn’t know about.

People Can Tell You – That’s OK

Once you’ve recognised the boundaries and the permission asking, casually but firmly inform those that you’ve made the mistake with (in the past) that you’d like them to let you know if you screw up again and where.

Life is always a learning experience and you want to track through life with ease and the same for others.


Speak Your Mind, With Your Opinion

Glad you got to the end of another one of my own life lessons. Here’s what you can do next:

  • Have you ever crossed an unseen boundary?
  • What do you do if someone crosses one of yours?
  • Click one of the Share buttons – your friends can then enjoy this article too.

And thanks for reading too – Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Relationship Boundaries - Are You Screwing This Up Too? 1

Enjoying newly found freedoms in South-East Asia, Martin is a down to earth, honest, quirky humor, compassionate and upfront kinda guy. Easy going and love to laugh. Into good food, wine and great company. I’ll talk and try to help anyone.
Drop me a message and let’s start there, OK?

Martin Cooney – who has written posts on GeekandJock.

11 thoughts on “Relationship Boundaries – Are You Screwing This Up Too?”
  1. I worked in the court system for over 10 years and I saw
    A lot of crossing boundaries. Taking
    One partner for granted. One of the most
    Heart breaking cases I had to mediate
    Was a couple who had been married
    For 30 years and the husband just left.
    The wife was shock and hurt. I was hurting
    For her and angry at him for leaving.
    Hubby, had enough. But it took him 30 years?
    Wow! I also see that in my son marriage
    Sometimes. Like wifey will say “He don’t like
    gifts” or assume not cooking is ok or I
    Want this and I don’t have to ask.
    Ladies and Men it is the little things that count!
    Relationships are hard enough without
    Assuming it’s ok b/c he is your hubby.
    For me a lasting relationship is one that has
    Communication, fun & excitement, love&war
    Makeup sex! But having your own space when
    You need it and respecting those boundaries.
    Ok so it took me a while and lots of mistakes
    But I get now happy to say!

  2. Your article instantly reminded of a lesson taught by my college Psychology professor. Back then, we call that “boundary” as one’s “ouch line”. My ouch line would differ from that of my friends; if relationships are to work well, we must be sensitive about other people’s ouch lines so we know where to draw the lines. And since we can’t keep guessing all the time, it has to come to a point that we should ask and respect that ouch line.

    1. I so have to remember the ‘ouch line’, Caira – that’s says exactly what it is, doesn’t it?
      Thing was, for me, I didn’t even realise what I was doing so when I discovered the ouch line syndrome, it was a true revelation.
      Kinda cool this old dog is still very much learning new tricks :)

  3. Thank you for being honest about yourself and your imperfections, I really admire that you admit your own mistakes first before you discussed about screwing up and making up for your mistakes. I had a great time reading your blog post, and I hope to be a better person as well thanks to your post.

    1. So glad you enjoyed all my faults, Emilia hahaha
      We’re all imperfect creatures though – I guess I’m just sensitive to wanting to be a better person than I am now and seek out ways to identify the areas I need to do work on and research what I need to do to start the journey.
      Which part of the post most resonated with you?

  4. When you embark on a beautiful relationship and you invest true feelings in it, don’t just invest, you have to be optimistic, and you should be open-minded and strong for whatever things that may happen. Everything in life is a test, it’s your choice if you’ll get depressed and feel defeated, or stand up for what you’re truly fighting for.

  5. Sometimes, a beautiful relationship may crash and burn just because the partners start to treat each other like siblings. And then there’s the annoying little nuisances that come along that may piss off each other. Try to have an open mind that not all relationships are all about smooth sails and sweetness. Sometimes you get to eat something horribly salty or bitter to balance all the flavors.

    1. That’s some brilliant words there, Joy. An open and accepting mind is where we should all be trying to head.
      Would you agree that NO relationship is smooth sailing or if people tell you they are then they’re probably fooling themselves or have a distant and boring time together?

  6. There are social boundaries to consider, too. When travelling abroad I was startled to find that strangers in some cultures will stand less than 60cm away when talking (that’s 2 feet for Imperialist readers).

    Personal space is – well, a personal choice. Whether in the bathroom, eating, reading, meditating or taking time out, people have different expectations, so pay attention to other peoples’ reactions, because they may not be the same as yours!

    1. Always great to have your thoughts here, Phil.
      I do get the social boundaries too – for me, it was not even being aware of all these boundaries so a wonderful learning experience, even if it took 54 years to discover.
      I can tell you I’m far more aware of boundaries now though.
      Think yourself lucky you knew about them :)

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