“Walls keep everybody out. Boundaries teach them where the door is.” — Mark Groves
Are you a doormat? Do you lead your own, independent life? Are you in charge? Or, on the other hand, does your wife or girlfriend tell you exactly what to do?
If you’re giving her the reins to your existence, I’ve got news for you. You need to learn how to set healthy boundaries in a relationship.
In a romantic relationship devoid of these boundaries, you end up bending over backward to please your partner which might lead to problems and you being unhappy in your relationship after a certain point.
Stop being a ‘yes’ man.
There’s a common misconception here. You think that if you set a boundary with your partner, you’re blocking them out. Incorrect. If you want to have a healthy, high-quality relationship with her, you need to let her know where your boundaries lie.
It’s not about keeping her out or even keeping her at arm’s length. It’s about not self-betraying in order to please her.
If she’s the woman that you think she is, she will respect you and the boundaries you draw up. She will give you that level of respect.
I’ve worked with many men that have found themselves in relationships where the boundaries have gone out of the window. Since they failed to set these boundaries from the offset, their partner has walked all over them.
They’ve found themselves becoming stressed, angry, upset… and not been able to pinpoint the cause of their problems.
The reason is obvious to everyone but them: there are no boundaries in place. That’s why I wanted to share a guide on how to set healthy boundaries in your relationships.
Tending to this part of your love life doesn’t have to be a chore. Taking the time to do this can help you gain the respect, love, and trust that you deserve from a partner.
Within this guide, I will dispel some of the myths surrounding setting boundaries and why you should do it.
How to Know When You’re in a Boundary-Free Partnership and It’s Ruining Your Self-Esteem
“When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated.” — Brene Brown
You might be in a boundary-free relationship without realizing it.
If you feel as though something is not quite right but can’t put your finger on it, you could have fallen into this trap.
The first step in establishing better quality romantic relationships is noticing the red flags. When you’ve done that, you can work toward the relationship you deserve.
1. She imposes herself on every situation or event
Are you feeling suffocated by her? Do you ever get a moment to yourself? If your wife or girlfriend won’t leave you alone for a minute, she is crossing several boundaries.
She might turn up when you’re out with your friends, assume that she’s invited to every social event, or become clingy when you’re trying to make other plans. If the answer is yes, it means that she’s walking all over you. She doesn’t respect your alone time or privacy.
At first, you might find this type of behavior sweet. You might think that she is so into you that spending a moment away from you is all too much.
While that will fly for a while, you’ll quickly get bored of having her at every event. Before you know it, your friends will be making comments about you ‘always bringing the wife’ and you’ll be the butt of every joke.
2. She expects you to ask permission all of the time
Do you ask your partner whether you can do certain things? Whether it’s going out with your friends or watching the game, you shouldn’t have to ask permission.
PSA: You are a complete, autonomous human being. She doesn’t have the right to tell you what you can and can’t do on a day-to-day basis. That is some controlling BS… and you need out.
The moment that you hand over control of your life to another person is the moment that you cease to be a man. Don’t do it.
While you should respect your partner and factor her into things, she does not have the right to tell you what to do, think, or wear. That right is reserved for you and you alone. If the above scenario sounds familiar, get out.
3. She checks your phone and social media
You have no secrets—that’s a given.
However, you shouldn’t need to prove that to your partner. She should respect you enough to believe you.
If she checks your WhatsApp, Messenger, or social media, that’s a serious red flag. It shouldn’t be news to you that you have a right to your own privacy. If she has trust issues, those are her issues. Not yours.
When you start allowing her to check up on you like that, you lose all of your privacy. You become subservient to her.
It doesn’t matter how infatuated you are with her, giving up your private life completely will emasculate you in less than 60 seconds. Don’t do it.
4. She always takes you and what you do for granted
Being in a relationship means both give and take. But if she enjoys being a receiver all the time… you might want to stop giving so much.
Don’t be blinded by your emotions. Yes, you love her. But that doesn’t mean that you need to do everything for her. If you’re cooking, cleaning, doing her laundry, and running errands for her, you need to check yourself. You are not her servant.
High-quality relationships are about mutual respect—not one person being subservient to the other. Chances are, you need to change your mindset and create the epic life you deserve.
I work directly with men, providing them with strategies and approaches to establish high-quality relationships with women. Learning when another person is taking advantage of you is a valuable lesson.
The sooner you learn it, the better.
5. You don’t feel entitled to an opinion and she doesn’t respect you
Whose opinion counts in your relationship? Do you have respectful discussions when you disagree? Or, on the other hand, does she dominate the conversation and tell you what to think?
When your opinion no longer matters, you’ve lost your sense of identity. You are no longer the man that you once were. You have handed yourself over to her entirely.
When you find a woman who respects and admires you, she will take the time to listen to your opinion regardless of whether she agrees with it or not. She will take the time to hear you out and give you some air time.
If she shuts you down whenever you say something that she doesn’t agree with, that is a major red flag. Don’t put up with that disrespect.
Strategies to Help You Set Healthier Boundaries and Upgrade Your Romantic Relationship
“When someone oversteps your boundaries, they’re letting you know that what you want doesn’t matter.” — Phil Good
Is she draining your energy resources? If your relationship is boundary-free, the good news is that you still have a chance to save it.
Creating a healthier set of boundaries will change the way that your partner relates to you.
Since I started working with high-achieving men, I have developed strategies that you can use to set boundaries. Here are some of my tried and tested approaches that will revitalize your romantic relationship.
1. Decide what your boundaries in relationships are and don’t hold back
First things first, you need to decide what you will deal with in a relationship.
Only you can figure out what is right for you and what isn’t. Of course, there will be some things that no one should put up with when it comes to their romantic partners.
For example, you should never allow her to control you, demean you, or belittle you. That’s a given.
“When you say ‘yes’ to others, make sure you’re not saying ‘no’ to yourself.” — Paulo Coelho
However, the specifics of what you will stand for are up to you. Think about what makes you feel content in a relationship and what makes you uncomfortable.
You might be okay with her calling you once a night to chat but you might have certain hours that you stick to. Equally, you might have no problem with her staying the night now and then, but need your space on specific days.
It’s up to you—be clear about what it is you need here.
2. Have an open, honest conversation about what you expect in your relationships
You need to have a conversation with her. Communication is key when it comes to boundary setting. Find it hard to have an honest conversation without her blowing up at you? That’s a serious problem.
She should respect you enough to hear what you have to say—no matter how difficult it may be to hear from her point of view. Whether you’ve been with her for a month or 10 years, you can still take the time to clear things up.
While you don’t have to outline all of your boundaries at once, let her know if she’s been crossing them. You can’t blame her for not respecting your boundaries if you’ve never shared what they are.
This doesn’t have to be a big serious conversation. You don’t need to sit around a red table. Instead, pick a neutral place and talk openly about your needs.
3. Prepare yourself for some resistance—she might not like you setting new boundaries
Okay, here’s the tough one. If you’ve been letting things slide for a matter of years, your partner will have gotten used to that set-up.
She will take for granted the fact that she can do whatever she wants. Yes, she might love the fact that she can walk all over you and have you at her beck and call.
Put it this way—she’s got used to playing by those rules.
The moment you switch things up and start setting boundaries, she might be inclined to kick her feet. Don’t be surprised if the conversation gets heated when you first have it.
You’re blindsiding her. She may have no idea that you’ve been unhappy with how things are playing out. As far as she’s concerned, you’re suddenly changing the rules here.
Here’s how things need to go down:
You talk and explain that things need to change. She hears you out and engages in the conversation. If that doesn’t happen—for whatever reason—you need to pause and come back to the chat at a later date.
Give her a chance to consider what you’re saying, take all of the information in, and adapt her behavior.
4. Avoid attacking her in the conversation and be sure to use ‘I’ statements (not ‘you’ statements)
The words that you use matter. I’m not talking about sugar-coating things here. But the last thing you want is to get drawn into an argument. It’s not worth your time or energy.
You don’t want to tiptoe around your partner. However, if she feels as though you’re attacking her, things are bound to go south quickly.
Saying “You are too clingy” is a sure-fire way to get her back up. It sounds like an attack.
Rather than causing a fight, rephrase that and say “Sometimes I need some space and time alone.”
You’re much more likely to get a positive response if you use these types of statements instead. Take a second to consider the right way to get your point across.
5. Establish consequences to boundary-crossing and make sure you follow through with them
You’ve set out your stall. Your partner knows what your boundaries are… So, what are you going to do if she crosses them?
If this behavior has no consequences, she’s not going to realize that you were serious. Whenever your partner does something that crosses your boundaries, you need to tell her about it and explain what the consequence is.
For instance, if you have told her not to look through your phone and you catch her sneaking a peek, don’t just ignore that.
Tell her that you are mad she has disrespected you and that you will now be setting a new password on your phone. It’s a simple move.
When you follow through and show that there are consequences, she will start to learn where the lines are.
The truth of the matter is that it may take time for her to understand that you need her to stick to these boundaries. Give her a chance to adapt.
Healthy boundaries are essential in romantic relationships. If you’re feeling anxious, overwhelmed, or unhappy in your relationship, you need to change things up and establish the lines.
There is a right way to share this news with your partner and upgrade your relationship. Now that you understand that, invest time and energy in crafting a partnership that suits your needs.
Join my exclusive coaching program where I teach a community of high-achieving men how to gain the high-quality relationships they deserve. You get the relationship that you settle for—and you deserve one that complements and enhances your life. If your partner is not living up to your expectations and constantly crossing the line, it’s time to change things.
Don’t wait in the hopes that things will get better. They won’t—at least, not on their own. Take control of things today and start making the relationship you need.