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Old 12-15-2009, 04:52 AM
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Originally Posted by crisare View Post
And sometimes what is not an issue for one couple might be a boundary for another couple - and no one realizes it until you're smack in the middle of it and it's too late.

Honestly I would rather go into a relationship where there are rules from the start, than find myself blindsided by "this doesn't work for me" when I'm already emotionally committed.
For me, that issue isn't about not having a boundary, it's about not knowing what may come up. All the more reason to deal with that instead of setting up boundaries around it so that it doesn't need to be dealt with. Sure people may not always know what will come up when emotions develop, but people can certainly know how they handle such feelings when they come up. If I start feeling threatened by the developing feelings my partner has for someone else, I don't see setting up a boundary to not let that happen as actually solving the problem. If my partner is developing feelings that are uncomfortable for me, I'm going to let my partner know. And if he or she is a good partner, we would be able to work through it. If I'm setting up a boundary that sets limits on another budding relationship in order to preserve my sense of security, then I'm probably not secure enough to be letting my partner have other relationships at all.

When my husband and I moved cross country, we lived with a relative and his wife for 6 months until we got stabilized, found jobs, and figured out what part of town we wanted to live in. I had asked about "house rules" up front and was told that there was no need for "house rules" because we were all adults and we were family and we'd deal with things as they came up. Except that as things came up, no one wanted to deal with them for fear of seeming ungrateful (our side) and resentment and feeling taken advantage of (their side). What were really little issues that could have been avoided by having a set of rules in place up front, wound up seriously damaging a family relationship that took many years to be made whole again.
That situation seems to be more of a communication issue than a rule issue. Of course people who live together are going to have rules that enable the smooth running of the house. If those aren't explicitly agreed on or explicitly communicated, things come up. But I don't see that type of reasoning applying to a relationship my partner may be having with someone else. That would be like saying that a person who lives in someone else's house has to abide by the rules of my house even though I'm not there.

IMO, I'd rather people say "these are the rules" to start with - with the understanding that there is a willingness to adapt and adjust as the relationships develop, than to leave things so open ended. IME, open ended = hurt feelings, anger, resentment, and ultimately, damaged relationships in the long run.

I'm much more comfortable knowing where I stand from the get-go.

IME, of course. Everyone is different.

There is certainly a place for rules and I don't deny that. But it is important to examine why those rules exist. If the rule is that I can't go to a particular restaurant with my partner because that restaurant has special meaning to the primary relationship, I'd have serious reservations about how secure that other relationship is, and would probably end up tripping over some unsaid or unspoken or unrealized boundary at some point later. If I end up tripping over some unsaid or newly discovered boundary in a way that creates resentment that poisons the relationship, I would consider that more of an issue of insecurity than an issue of not enough boundaries set in the beginning.
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