Looking back, I realize how much my inability to set boundaries contributed to my rocky relationship roller coaster ride. And while there are many different ideas about what boundaries are and aren’t (and a whole bunch of self-help books on the subject), the simplest way to think of boundaries is with this question: At what point do you stand up and let someone know you are not okay with something he/she is doing?
Sound simple? It’s not. If you had let your guy know the exact moment when you were no longer okay with something he was doing that you didn’t like, he would have had three options: respect that boundary and stop doing it; negotiate with you about it; or ignore you and keep doing it, in which case you would have to decide for yourself if you are going to stick to your boundary and stand up for yourself. But here’s the problem. In order to set boundaries, we must respect ourselves and be willing to take a risk, knowing that — if he isn’t willing to respect that boundary — we’ll have to end the relationship.
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These boundaries have to be your own — not your mother’s and not your best friend’s — so you can feel comfortable standing up for yourself and saying what you need from him, knowing in your heart that you deserve it. And that’s an important point — you deserve to be treated the way you want to be treated. If you are steadfast about that and don’t wimp out just because you really really like a guy and want him to be the one, then it might mean you have to say goodbye to him if he can’t respect that boundary. If he can’t respect a boundary you set, it doesn’t matter what he does or how much you want to hang onto him. He’s not the guy for you.
You might wind up alone and heartbroken, but if you stick to your boundaries in the beginning, and the relationship winds up being over closer to when it began, the difference is that you’ll still have your self-esteem and confidence intact. You’ll have more inner-strength because you stood up for what you believed in and the way you know you deserve to be treated.
You’ll have saved yourself a lot of wasted time and energy you could be using with the guy who’s right for you, the real thing, instead of hanging onto what you know in your heart is more about your dream of what this relationship could be rather than what it actually is today. Because if he doesn’t respect your boundaries when you set them, he’s not going to respect you.