When you meet someone, it’s easy to get caught up in the newness of a relationship and want to spend every waking moment with your significant other. This usually isn’t the best course of action. Michael Gurian, an author of Lessons of Lifelong Intimacy: Building a Stronger Marriage Without Losing Yourself, suggests that “[establishing] ‘separateness’ is a crucial part of any lasting relationship…. It shows that you trust each other, which is great for your bond” (Brennan, 2016). Instead, try dedicating some time to yourself and establishing these five boundaries.
Be your own person
Take the time to recognize your own feelings and live in the moment while allowing your partner to do the same. When you’re in love, you may be more inclined to focus only on what your partner is thinking and feeling. While empathy is an important part of any relationship, it is essential to be able to address your own concerns to create a healthy balance. You and your partner don’t have to be interested in the same things. You’ll find that your relationship will develop depth as you allow each other the ability to do the things that make you both unique. So, plan a girls’ trip, get out your paintbrushes or spend a day at the spa – without your beau.
Keep the door closed (the bathroom door, that is)
When you spend enough time with someone, chances are they will see you the good, bad and ugly. That level of familiarity has its own merits, and while there’s nothing inherently wrong with popping your zits in front of each other, keeping your personal hygiene to yourself can help prolong the allure and mystery in a relationship. Taking small steps like closing the bathroom door or not farting under the blankets can help keep the romance alive and show your partner that you don’t take him or her for granted.
While most would agree that pulling out your phone in the middle of a date constitutes a social faux-pas, it may be a different story for a committed relationship. You generally see the other person so often that it’s illogical to never have your phone when you’re around each other. Yet, a study published by Baylor University explores how “phubbing” (a portmanteau of phone and snub) can affect relationship satisfaction. “The basic human needs for control and attachment are at risk when an individual senses that his or her partner is not present… [and] time spent on media, such as cell phones, may displace (or reduce) meaningful interactions with one’s spouse” (Roberts & David, 2016). It’s important to set boundaries for how much time you spend on technology to ensure that neither of you feels left out or disconnected from each other.
Aretha Franklin knew what she was talking about. Respect can show itself in various forms. Whether through words of affirmation, acts of kindness, conflict resolution or open communication – respect goes a long way in a healthy relationship. There was a study done to identify healthy relationships among Native Americans. In it, researchers analyzed interviews and behaviors of different communities and found that “[participants] linked mutual respect to shared power between women and men both within the context of a relationship as well as within the larger tribal community” (Rink, Ricker, FourStar, & Hallum-Montes, 2016). This can translate into your own life by recognizing that decision-making is a shared responsibility. Respect each other by demonstrating trust as you take turns “being in charge.”
Bockman, M. (2018, February 01). 5 Healthy Relationship Boundaries That Actually Draw Men Closer to You. Retrieved February 2018, from yourtango.com: https://www.yourtango.com/experts/mitzi-bockmann/healthy-boundaries-relationships-romance-alive
Brennan, F. (2016, January 01). That Single Life. Women’s Health, pp. 111-115.
Rink, E., Ricker, A., FourStar, K., & Hallum-Montes, R. (2016, November 29). “A Balance That We Walk”: Characteristics, Attributes, and Behaviors That Promote Healthy American Indian Heterosexual Couple Relationships. Journal of Family Issues, 39(3), 817-840.
Roberts, J. A., & David, M. E. (2016, January). My life has become a major distraction from my cell phone: Partner phubbing and relationship satisfaction among romantic partners. Computers in Human Behavior, 54, 134-141.
Twardowski, J. (2014, December 01). 6 Steps to Setting Boundaries in Relationships. Retrieved February 2018, from huffingtonpost.com: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/jennifer-twardowski/6-steps-to-setting-boundaries-in-relationships_b_6142248.html