There are many things that make a relationship work. If mutual respect and trust for each other as well as being accepting and understanding are part of your relationship, then you are on the right track. However, if you haven't set any boundaries, you could still be facing problems on the path ahead.
There is a reason why you need boundaries in your life. They keep you from becoming the guy everybody can just push around as they please. Also, without them, women in your dating life will not respect you. If you don't take care of this, it could become one of your biggest problems that will ruin your relationships, even if you do everything else right.
You know, before I understood how to set boundaries, I was the guy who let others just walk over him. Even after becoming somewhat competent with women, did I still struggle with this sticking point of mine. And it took me a while to fix it, but once I did, it changed how I view relationships. So, if you want a more in-depth explanation about boundaries and social dynamics, take a look at Rules of the Alpha Male.
But let's get back to the where we left off.
Since we know now why boundaries are important, let's explore why you have to set them in your social and dating life. Also, we should take a closer look how maintaining your boundaries keeps you and your partner happy.
Why Good Guys Set Terrible Boundaries
When I was still growing up, I had this friend – a really nice guy – who had one big flaw: he let most of his buddies mess with him all the time. Since he considered them as friends, his only response to the abuse was to take it and play along. Although, back then I had no concept of social dynamics, I still knew that his "friends" didn't respect him and had he stood up for himself and laid down some boundaries, they would have stopped.
The reason why I'm telling you this story is to emphasize how important it is to set boundaries and expect others to follow them. In fact, it's an absolute must. When you don't do it, there is a chance that you will end up as the one who people like to mess with.
There are two main reasons why you might not want to set boundaries for others: 1) you feel guilty 2) you are afraid of the outcome. In a nutshell, these two reasons can be summarized by you not wanting to seem like a bad person when demanding that others follow your rules (guilt) and fearing that they might not agree with you or abandon you because of it (fear of outcome).
But you have to understand that setting boundaries and letting others know when they are overstepping them is not something you should be afraid of. Having healthy boundaries and expecting people to respect you doesn't make you a terrible person, it makes you an assertive man with a backbone. It is something every self-respecting guy should do!
In addition, failing to set boundaries will have far worse consequences than setting them and facing the outcome. It will leave you powerless and drained. It will have an effect on the other spheres of your life and can negatively affect your self-esteem and success with women. Therefore, learn to give yourself permission to set boundaries!
Setting Boundaries in a Relationship
If you want to set healthy boundaries in your relationship, you first have to know yourself. If you don't know where you stand, how are you supposed to assert your boundaries? It's like the old saying goes: if you stand for nothing, you'll fall for anything. Therefore, you should identify the things you can and can not tolerate in your relationship.
If you are okay with things like not always having your way and sacrificing some of your time and energy for her, it's all good. But you should never stand for things like letting yourself be shamed for who you are, not getting the respect you deserve, being belittled for your aspirations or straight up getting controlled by her.
After you have made up your mind and know where your boundaries lie, you have to state them to your partner. Now, you don't actually have to sit her down and explain "all your rules" if that's not your style. But the very first time she oversteps one of your boundaries, you have to let her know that you won't stand for it.
In that case, it is important to be assertive and calm and explain yourself in a suitable manner. When you do it in a positive and respectful way, you won't even face any resistance. Do not beat around the bush either, the best way to do it is just to state them no matter how uncomfortable that might make you feel. Being direct and open about the things that matter to you will let her know how serious you are about them.
But of course, I also need to give you a warning here: don't make your boundaries too rigid or strict when you set them. If you set your standards too high, you make it impossible for your girlfriend to follow them.
How to Maintain Your Boundaries
Just as important as knowing how to set healthy boundaries in a relationship is knowing how to keep them. Usually guys start out great and know exactly what they want in the beginning, but after a while, they become too lax about their own rules and let things slide. They become too accommodating - something they would never have done with a stranger.
For this exact reason, you shouldn't come up with some wishy-washy boundaries that you think could be important for you. You need to come up with something that you really believe in and hold dear. You also need to start developing a healthy mindset to keeps you strong when needed. This means that should you face resistance, you won't just give up but stand your ground instead. You need to show some backbone.
Another thing that speaks in favor of maintaining strong, healthy boundaries is the fact that if you don't do it, the girl you are dating will lose respect for you. It's not that she likes to be bossed around, but if you can maintain healthy boundaries throughout your relationship, you will also stay the same confident, congruent and assertive guy she fell for – something many men struggle with, once they're in a relationship.
Now, one thing you need to know about sustaining boundaries is this: if she intentionally and repeatedly steps over your boundaries, you have to be ready to walk away. This is the only requirement you always have to uphold. If you don't do it by demonstrating loose boundaries and giving in, your partner will punish you for it. The result will always be the same: you will get dumped!
Boundaries in Your Relationship
Here is basically the TL;DR version of the things I mentioned above. If you want to set boundaries, you have to know what you stand for. Make them clear for yourself and then make them clear for her. Be firm in your boundaries and make them a part of your relationship. And when necessary, stay true to them by walking away from her.
Also, don't expect immediate results. Developing, setting and sustaining healthy boundaries is a process and should be seen as such. Therefore, don't expect to get it right from the get go or worry if you mess up. Healthy boundaries come with a healthy mindset, so work on both of them and eventually you will get to the stage where you can confidently set healthy relationship boundaries.