Relationship boundaries are crucial for many reasons: To maintain who you are outside the relationship, respect each other’s personal space, and most importantly, to allow your relationship to grow naturally.
The second you go all type-A on your relationship is the second it will crumble. If you find yourself crossing one (or all) of the relationship boundaries below, it’s time to pull back the reigns and reclaim your sense of individuality.
1. Idealizing your mate: A recent study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships discovered that putting your partner on too much of a pedestal can negatively impact the level of intimacy in your relationship. The study found that idealized mates pull away both physically and emotionally, worried they won’t be able to live up to their partner’s expectations (especially when it comes to their abilities). While it’s good to pay homage to your sig-o’s strengths, make sure you’re being realistic with your praise, and aren’t coming off too much like a Belieber.
2. You initiate everything: If you’re always the one initiating contact and confirming plans, simmer down. “Sit on your hands and don’t be the one to initiate contact every time, or even every other time,” says relationship expert April Masini. “You’ll have a much better sense of how he really feels about you if you observe how often he contacts you. It’s a way of telling how into you he is.” This isn’t an easy habit to break, but it’ll feel liberating when you do.
3. You’ve adopted all of his interests: So much so, maintaining your own interests has taken a severe nosedive. He wants to date you, not the female version of himself. Level the playing field by taking him to do things you’re interested in too, and above all else don’t sacrifice the personal routine you’ve taken years to cultivate for the sake of spending more time with him. He’ll respect you for it, and so will you.
4. You include him in all of your plans: Can you remember the last time you visited your family or hung out with friends sans boyfriend on your arm? If you never see his friends but he always sees yours, it’s a clear indicator you’re pushing to move the relationship forward more than he is. “You’re smothering it, rather than letting it unfold naturally,” says Masini. “Give yourself the opportunity face the real status of your relationship instead of the inorganic one.”
5. More of your belongings are at his place than your own: The only time this is okay is if he’s invited you to do so. “You may think you’re being stealth, but it will backfire because you’re smothering the relationship with your encroachment,” says Masini. By doing this, you’re going to miss out on that special moment of him actually being ready to take the relationship to the next level – you know, because there’ll be a boyfriend-shaped hole in the door.
6. You feel less confident: At one time you were fierce and independent, but suddenly you find yourself becoming co-dependent and wishy-washy. Nothing will chip away at your self-esteem more than looking in the mirror and not recognizing yourself. Reconnect with all of the things that make you… well, you, and guaranteed your relationship will improve too.
7. Your bf wants you to re-connect with family and friends: If your boyfriend subtly hints and encourages you to make plans “with the girls,” this is a clear indicator that it’s time to start spreading your wings outside the relationship – otherwise, it might not last. “It’s not uncommon for the partner in a ‘smothered relationship’ to express feeling some pressure to fulfill every emotional want and need, which can be extremely stressful and take its toll on your relationship,” says psychotherapist and relationship expert Rhonda Richards-Smith, LCSW.
8. You text/IM him every 35 seconds: The occasional funny/cute message equals thoughtful and fun. An hourly update on your entire day equals bunny boiler.
Have you crossed these relationship boundaries before? How did you stop yourself?
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Image: Allen Skyy