A boundary is different from an agreement. You don’t need the other person to agree to your boundaries. They don’t even have to know what your boundaries are, unless they are crossed. Your boundary is something, that you know, if that line is crossed, you will address the matter immediately so that it is remedied, and if it is not resolved to your satisfaction, you will act by removing yourself from the situation so that you are not subjected to it again.
Say there is a woman named Marjorie, who has often been lied to in past relationships. They were big lies. It gives her great pain, remembering this. She knows that lies are not something she can tolerate in relationships. She hates the feeling of distrust, and the betrayal that lies cause in the relationship.
She enters a new relationship. They are in love. One day though, he says a small lie because he’s afraid that if he tells the truth it will hurt her. This is common — the well-intentioned lie. But she finds out and she is very hurt and upset, and she doubts now that she can trust other things he says, and she doesn’t like that feeling. This is not what she wants in a relationship. She wants absolute mutual trust.
But fortunately, she decided ahead of time what she would do if someone lied to her again. She decided that if she was told any big lie, such as her partner was covering up an affair, or drinking and hiding it, or being dishonest with money… that she would end the relationship immediately, with no negotiation. That is her signal to leave now, before it gets worse.
In the second part of this article we will discuss more about boundaries in a relationship.