When it comes to boundaries, not all relationships are created equal. Actions that one couple find perfectly acceptable, can be well beyond tolerable limits for another couple. Despite the risks that uncertainty causes, many couples avoid discussing acceptable behaviours. Preferring instead to let perceived values and best assumptions take care of the relationship.
Despite it seeming like a daunting discussion. The best definition of cheating is the one that both spouses agree on. Even though this can be discussed quite easily, I often wonder why many people neglect this discussion. Sadly, until infidelity hits, couples like to believe that they share a common set of values. And while couples are generally quite clear what will happen if someone cheats, they are usually much vaguer on what constitutes cheating.
Take for example an emotional affair, in most cases the wayward spouse will claim that there is no affair, because affairs involve sex. Conversely, spouses involved in a sexual affair dismiss their sexual antics as purely physical with no relevance whatsoever. While neither of these explanations offer any consolation, they do highlight the need for clear boundaries.
Here’s the good news, relationships change and grow. By taking the time to agree on boundaries, you will be better prepared for the subtle challenges you might previously have overlooked. So, if you currently describe your boundaries as 50 shades of grey, you may want to start figuring out which shades you are comfortable with.
Make more time to discuss your relationship
The risks to your marriage are constantly changing. Therefore, it is vital that you constantly adjust your boundaries to meet the challenges. Boundaries that work best are the ones that you both find clear and specific. If you are uncomfortable with a grey zone in the boundary, take another look and adjust it. This is not about settling on black or white. It’s about a list of commitments that you both understand and commit too.
When you discuss boundaries with openness and understanding, you raise the level of protection for your marriage. By giving time to discuss your relationship, you will get to know each other better. Remember that the frequency of discussion is far more important than the duration.
By the way, talking about your relationship is a great way to boost intimacy.
Do you know how to communicate your needs?
With almost 50% of people saying they feel insecure in their relationships its plain to see that people are unable to express their needs. Either because they don’t feel safe saying what they want, or they are not given the opportunity. Regardless of the reasons, the best way of having needs met is by finding the best ways of sharing them.
Communication between spouses works best when you look for the positive in what they are saying. For example, when a spouse reaches out to understand the boundaries of the relationship. It can often be a simple call for help. And when you treat it as such you are better placed to support them.
While your role is not to satisfy all your spouse’s needs. You do need to listen to them. That way you get to understand what is really going on, and how you can help.
Do you know the boundaries of friendship?
The movies often depict affairs as moments of intense physical attraction. And sadly, that’s what many betrayed spouses imagine. The truth is that because it is boring and drawn out, the movies generally ignore the slow slide into an affair.
Countless affairs happen between 2 people who consider themselves just friends. It is not uncommon for people who have known each other for years with no sexual attraction suddenly find themselves in a compromising position with a friend.
It can be difficult to see the slide into an affair with a friend. Besides raising your self-awareness, the best protection comes from asking for your spouse’s opinion. If you feel unsure to ask, you might already be at risk.
Protecting a relationship takes effort. By taking the time to agree and check on boundaries, you move your marriage away from the risk of an affair. Remember that it is your responsibility to be self-aware in your interactions with friends. In addition, you owe it to yourself to tell you spouse what you need or when something is missing.
If you truly want a stronger relationship. Keep giving each other the space and time to talk, and always listen carefully so that you understand a little better than yesterday.