We all know that boundaries are really important when it comes to healthy relationships. It feels good to know that the person you're dating cares about you enough to acknowledge and respect your boundaries. They're the lines you cross in the sand — the ones that indicate how far you're willing to go, emotionally, physically, and anything in between. If you recognize the following signs your partner respects your boundaries in your bae, they're a keeper.
But, if you feel like your partner isn't respecting your boundaries, the most essential thing you can do is understand your own needs, and then sit your partner down and talk about what you think is missing. "It's important to be self-aware. Take some time to consider what needs you have and why these matter to you," Blush Life Coach and licensed therapist, Joanna Townsend, tells Elite Daily. "It's vital that you engage in self-understanding and recognize that you, too, are responsible and have to take ownership for yourself and how you're showing up for the relationship. Then, work on communicating your boundaries to your partner. Remember that your partner cannot read your mind or always know what you need." (Oh god, how I wish my boyfriend could read my mind sometimes.)
I spoke to a couple of experts to understand some of the signs your partner respects your boundaries. Here's what they had to say.
1. They listen to you.
"That’s why it’s really important when you do have certain boundaries, that when you’re explaining them to your partner, you are very explicit about what they are," Benjamin Ritter, MBA, MPH, EdD, founder of the Breakup Supplement and consultant for Live for Yourself Consulting, tells Elite Daily.
But, communicating how you feel to your partner is only half the battle. The other half is how your partner responds to your boundaries. "To find that your partner respects [your boundaries], would be basically them listening and responding when you basically identify them," Ritter explains. "You go to your partner and you tell them that you need something from them," and they respond well to it.
2. They alter their actions.
Once you and your partner have set your boundaries, and you genuinely feel like they heard you out, the next step is figuring out how they can make the actual changes that come with respecting your boundaries.
"Respect is basically that 'I understand,' and 'how can I alter my actions to better serve your boundaries or needs?'" Ritter says. Any effort to make those changes shows that your partner respects what you had to say, and is going to work on it moving forward.
3. They try to understand where you're coming from.
"Trying to understand why you have [those boundaries]," is a clear sign that your partner respects them, Ritter says. Giving your partner the benefit of the doubt might also be helpful, because it's possible they're just trying to wrap their head around what you need, not purposely trying to disrespect you.
"Sometimes it takes a while for someone to truly understand what your boundaries are," he says. What's important is that they're trying. If they're not, sit them down and talk about why you feel they aren't making an effort to incorporate the boundaries into your relationship. But remember, like Ritter says, it can take time for your partner to fully understand what you need, so that doesn't necessarily mean they don't respect your boundaries.
People like to feel appreciated, so if your partner is respecting your boundaries, consider thanking them for being understanding. "When someone does respect your boundaries, positive reinforcement is so important," Ritter says. It shows that you appreciate them going the extra mile to accommodate your wants and needs.
While you may feel appreciation at random times, Townsend says, "The best time to acknowledge how you feel respected is in the moment or immediately after. It can be as simple as thanking your partner for how they showed an awareness of and acted according [to] your boundary. Being specific and sharing how it made you feel goes a long way."
If you haven't noticed these signs, don't stress. It's very possible your partner shows their respect for your boundaries in their own way. But, if you have noticed your partner doing any of these things, give them a big thanks. Even though respect should be a given in any relationship, it's still nice to hear, "Thank you for being so understanding." And remember: Your boundaries are yours. A good partner will respect them, no matter what.
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