Post # 1
So, a lot of threads in here, also let’s face it, life in general, poses is with the question, “If I set boundaries in my relationship, am I insecure?”. Having been with a narcissist for 5 years, by the end of it I was afraid to confront him about PHYSICALLY CHEATINg with 100% evidence because he had me thinking I was only insecure and jealous, and that if I loved him I would unconditionally trust him, blah blah. This is quite a hot topic for me, and not one I think I completely understand.
I also do understand the side too, that you absolutely should trust your partner, but to what extent? Is saying you don’t want your partner flirting with others the same as saying you don’t trust them not to take it further? Only one small example on a huge spectrum of what people consider to be healthy/unhealthy boundaries, but you get my point.
I made a little poll to see what people think. Also, I know boundaries within a relationship are different for everyone and also personal, but I’d be really interested to hear what boundaries (if any) are in your relationship, and whether or not you believe they are healthy or come from insecurity. Or, any other comments on the topic. Are there just certain boundaries that are unhealthy no matter what? What do you think?
Post # 2
I think boundaries are healthy, but should be agreed upon by both partners. If your boundaries are vastly different, I think that can be an indication you aren’t compatible.
Our boundary (besides the obvious don’t sleep with other people) has always been “don’t do anything you wouldn’t do if I was standing beside you”. It works for us, but that’s not to say it would for everyone.
Post # 3
I think all relationships have some sort of boundaries. But personally, part of what I love about my husband and our relationship is that we’ve never had to have an actual talk about boundaries. We are both fine with opposite sex friends and have never had a problem with each other’s opposite sex friends. Neither of us have flirtatious personalities so that’s never been a problem. I don’t care if he watches porn and he has no interest in strip clubs. He’s never really acted in a way that I would consider inappropriate.
We’ve just never gotten to a point where we felt one or both of us was pushing a boundary and it needed to be discussed. I know a lot of people say relationships and marriage are hard work but I’ve been with my husband coming up on 9 years (married almost 1) and it’s never really felt hard or like work.
If you are constantly having to set boundaries in your relationship it could be insecurity but it could also just be the wrong relationship for you.
Post # 4
I completely agree with hikingbride that needing to set boundaries could be a sign of the wrong relationship as much as insecurity.
So, when you needed to set boundaries with a narcissist, that wasn’t because boundaries were healthy or because you were insecure. It was because you shouldn’t have been in a relationship with that person at all.
Post # 5
While I agree that having to constantly discuss and set boundaries could be a big sign of incompatibility, I disagree that having to have any discussion about it at all means that it’s the wrong relationship for you. I think that even good relationships at times need serious discussions. I think how you work through these discussions and come out the other end is a better indicator of how the relationship is getting along than having to have the decision in the first place.
But the thing with the narcissist- yeah no. I totally understand how abusive and unhealthy that relationship is now. I suppose just having gone through that makes me much more sensitive to this topic!
Post # 6
that’s really encouraging to hear 🙂 SO and I have been together a year and a half and it’s never felt like work for us either. sometimes I wonder if some day it will finally get hard like everyone says but he always says “maybe the honeymoon phase never has to end”…
Post # 7
Boundaries = respect for yourself and your relationship
Post # 8
hikingbride : “I think all relationships have some sort of boundaries. But personally, part of what I love about my husband and our relationship is that we’ve never had to have an actual talk about boundaries.”
Yep, I feel the same. We have boundaries but I guess they are implied? Like, don’t cheat, don’t do shady shit lol – but we’ve never had to sit down and hash these “boundaries” out. We both just naturally behave in ways that make the other person feel secure in the relationship.
I didn’t have that in previous relationships, so I really appreciate what a blessing it is to be just intuitively on the same page as your partner rather than having to constantly strong-arm them into not acting in ways that make you feel insecure!
Post # 9
I didn’t say that having to have any discussions about boundaries means it’s the wrong relationship for you. I said it’s a possibility- moreso if you are constantly having to have those conversations.
Post # 10
I don’t know. I voted “depends”. Everyone’s values are different, so what I might find not okay may be okay with others. Just read a porn thread, for instance. I know DH watches (or used to watch) porn. I’m okay with that.
My relationship is like pp’s about not having to explicitly discuss things because they are already implied. No cheating is one of them. And I can’t think of others, because we trust each other enough to not do anything we know our partner is not okay with.
Post # 11
Boundaries are necessary, but I don’t think they should ever really need to be discussed. Don’t do something you wouldn’t want your SO doing. If both partners in a relationship maintain that philosophy, I bet everything will be fine.
Post # 12
I think boundaries have been implied, rather than discussed, in my relationship. However, both DH and I have spoken up if something is outside of our individual boundaries. For example, he hates hearing anything about my past relationships and won’t discuss them. I don’t like the idea of him being in contact with an ex and he ended up deleting an ex from social media because she kept reaching out to him and it made me uncomfortable.
I experience more discomfort over female friendships than is probably reasonable, but I also don’t date men who have lots of close female friends because I recognise it would be unfair to ask someone to cut off all their friends.
Post # 13
I mean…no, it’s not great when you’re constantly having to be like “Joe, we discussed this boundary, and agreed on ZYX, so you need to ABC”.
But I find it really weird that people have been together for years and this stuff has never come up? My husband has never come close to cheating on me, nor I on him, but it doesn’t mean we haven’t ever talked about what we consider cheating.
As an example, a friend of ours cheated on their SO. Kissed someone else at a bar. That lead to a big conversation on our opinions on it, and whether we felt what this person did really counted as cheating (they were drunk, it was a one-time thing early in the relationship, etc etc).
I dunno, I just find it so weird that these things wouldn’t come up in a relationship. Talking about boundaries doesn’t necessarily mean sitting your partner down with a list of rules, and asking them to co-sign.
Post # 14
You cannot have a healthy relationship without boundaries. Understand that your ex was manipulative and wanted you to believe you were insecure because he wanted to continue his narcissistic ways. Anything that makes YOU feel bad and is reasonable should be a boundary. What is reasonable? Well, think about if you do something – would you be comfortable if your SO knows about it? Also, there are certain boundaries that should come with a relationship. Thou shalt not cheat (unless it is an agreed open relationship) is the more obvious ones. And then there are the gray areas (strip club or no strip club for instance) where you have to decide how you feel about it, and if it’s something you are uncomfortable with, you speak your truth no matter what. I am an advocate of never trying to change someone. Find something who matches your values. This is what dating pre relationship is for. If the person does not match your values/boundaries, find someone who does instead of living inauthentically.
Post # 15
I see where you’re coming from since I’m pretty sure my ex-husband is a narcissist. It was also my first real relationship so I felt completely lost when it came to asserting myself and establishing boundaries since I always got such a push back from him. I truly felt like I was the crazy one for having such unreasonable requests and demands. Only now that I’m in a fantastic, healthy relationship do I see that I wasn’t being unreasonable. At all.
I’m fortunate that with my husband we share many of the same values, so our boundaries are usually mutual ones. We’ve never specifically sat down and laid out boundaries, but we’ve had numerous talks about behaviors and relationship situations that we’ve witnessed with others that made it clear where we both stand. Heck, talking about some of the relationship conundrums from this site has been a great jumping off point for us to discuss our relationship and philosophies. It’s such a contrast to my previous marriage where I felt like I was always trying to express why his behavior bothered me but there was never a resolution because he wasn’t going to accept my insane demands. Now I feel like my husband listens to me if something upsets me, willingly adjusts his behavior if necessary, and never repeats that action.
So no, I don’t think that having boundaries in a relationship equates to insecurity. In a healthy relationship you respect your partner and your partner’s feelings enough to make compromises and adjustments when needed. Just keep reminding yourself that your previous relationship was unhealthy so whatever you learned there needs to be forgotten/unlearned. Don’t be afraid to discuss boundaries, ask your partner for things, and to discuss when something bothers you. Trust your current partner enough to tell you if something you’re asking for is unrealistic or crosses his boundaries. Open communication is key and I’m sure it’s something you didn’t experience in your past relationship, so make an effort not to keep your feelings to yourself now that you’re in a good relationship. If you haven’t gone already, I highly recommend counseling to help deal with the aftermath of that bad relationship. You’ve no doubt learned some very unhealthy coping strategies and ways of engaging with a partner that are hard to shake off. Therapy helped me get through a lot of that when my marriage was ending.