Originally Posted by redpepper
The thing with negotiating boundaries is that you need to compromise until you find the edge of the boundary; the place where if it goes one step further you will be pushed over the edge. When that compromising feeling is gone, you have found your boundary.
^ this is an excellent way of putting it.
My wife and I negotiated boundaries - me trying to deal with the realization that I needed a return to poly and she struggling to manage that return for us. Poly was pre-marriage, pre-kids for us and she viewed it more as youthful experimentation, not a way to make a life (even thought we were both in our 30's lol).
My wife didn't realize this immediately. We tried to negotiate to that boundary. But, she hit that edge - as RP puts it - and hit it hard. Her language was that she felt like she was losing who she was - giving too much of herself. Which I understood completely.
It was hard because she (we) desparately wanted to stay in the marriage. After three years of trying to figure out the right configuration, right boundaries, and ways to maintain respect, safety, and meet eachother's needs, we were both at our edge. Ultimately, you can't destroy yourself in order to save a marriage. Doesn't work. When you're at your edge, it certainly feels like something dear is at risk.
Sometimes are edges are incompatible. It's not unethical or selfish to discover and act upon that. Selfishness and unethical behavior can result if we deal poorly with that discovery (something that I, unfortunately, have experience with as well). But, those are two different things.