Being in a relationship means that two individual people are trying to consolidate their habits, opinions, feelings, and way of life in general.
Many times that comes as a shock for one or even both partners. That’s why it’s important to respect each other’s boundaries, right?
If you aren’t sure about your partner’s readiness to respect your boundaries, in this article, I’ll describe the behaviors that show they’ll deeply respect your boundaries.
So, let’s begin!
1) Sharing your private information without consent
I think we can all agree that respecting privacy is a fundamental part of any healthy relationship.
In most, if not all, cases, your partner should ask for your permission before sharing personal or sensitive information about you with others. This builds trust and shows they value your boundaries, especially in a new relationship.
I know it’s a new world where oversharing is the new normal. But now, more than ever, it’s important to keep your stuff private. At least most of it.
You might call me a boomer on this stuff (in fact, I’m an elder Millennial), but you simply never know who’s looking.
2) Making decisions that affect you without consulting you
I don’t feel comfortable making any big decisions without running them by my wife. It would just feel off to present her with the matter after the fact.
Major decisions that affect both of you should be made collaboratively. Your partner should not make unilateral decisions that impact your life without involving you in the decision-making process.
For example, your partner decides to switch jobs, potentially impacting your family income and daily routines, without discussing it with you first.
How would that make you feel? Terrible, right? You’d think they don’t value you and believe you’re not important enough to run this major, major decision by you.
And this brings us to the following.
3) Ignoring your opinions, concerns, and feelings
Your thoughts and feelings are essential in any relationship, and your partner should never dismiss them.
Respecting boundaries means actively listening and considering your perspective in discussions or decisions.
For example, you’re making plans for your next holiday destination. Although you haven’t come to a final conclusion, the next day, they completely ignore your choice and book a trip to a place you don’t enjoy without consulting you.
In this kind of situation, we can’t talk about compromise because there was none. The level of trust you had in them is now probably gone too.
In fact, it’s safe to say that your relationship will never be the same again. All because of them ignoring your opinions and sentiments.
4) Pressuring you into activities you’re uncomfortable with
In a respectful relationship, your partner should (almost) never push you into doing things that make you uncomfortable or go against your values.
That much is clear, right?
Respecting boundaries means acknowledging and accepting your limits, even if they differ from theirs.
I’ve seen far too many examples where one partner can’t understand the other person’s fears and limitations in some things and activities. No matter how rational or irrational these fears are.
I’ll give you a personal example: my wife NEVER wants to get on a call with a repairman, doctor, sales assistant, you name it.
I always have to push her to do it. But if she has to call someone for her work and the company, she has no qualms about it and does it without a second thought. This is so infuriating.
So, yes, in this regard, I constantly pressure her to do it, but it’s just because I know she has no real issues doing it.
Sometimes, a light push outside of the box is beneficial for them.
5) Using guilt or manipulation to get their way
Another thing a partner should never do is use guilt or manipulation to get their way. I mean, they’re not your mother, right?
For instance, your partner might use tactics like making you feel guilty for not doing what they want by saying, “If you loved me, you would do this for me,” or “I thought you cared about my happiness.”
Then there’s the silent treatment, playing the victim, comparing you to others, ultimatums, withholding love and affection, etc.
In other words, your partner should avoid being a mom from the 80s.
6) Disregarding your need for alone time
Everybody needs to be alone from time to time to relax, rest, and even self-reflect. When you’re in a relationship, and you have kids, moments like these are almost impossible to come by.
If you don’t have a partner who respects your boundaries, that is.
Indeed, your partner should respect your need for alone time and not make you feel guilty for wanting time to yourself. They should understand and support you.
My wife and I constantly nudge and push each other to take breaks, have a relaxing bath, go for a walk, hang out with a friend, etc.
Otherwise, we’d go nuts. Nuts, I’m telling you.
7) Invading your social media and messages
And we’re back talking about trust. Could you be with someone you don’t fully trust? I didn’t think so.
The same goes for them. Your partner should trust you and not invade your personal belongings, phone, messages, or social media accounts without a valid reason.
And then, only with your approval.
Respecting boundaries means respecting your autonomy and independence in all spheres of life. Even digital.
8) Trying to control your friendships and connections
We all bring our existing friends and family into the relationship. Like them or don’t, your partner’s social connections are part of yours now, too.
A good partner won’t try to control or isolate you from friends and family. No matter how much he dislikes them. His respect for your boundaries includes supporting and nurturing these relations.
In fact, they’ll go out of their way to accommodate them when they visit you, remember some of their important dates (like birthdays), and talk to them with a smile on their face (regardless of how they feel inside).
That’s unless they’re toxic.
9) Making jokes at your expense that you find hurtful
Where would we be without humor? And while it’s key in relationships, it should never come at the expense of your feelings.
Your partner should be careful making jokes that may hurt or offend you and avoid making them. It’s not rocket science. It’s a sign of empathy and respect.
Maybe I should listen to my own advice here. You see, I love making fun of the fact my wife stems from a small village while I come from a town.
I often make jokes at her expense in this regard. But she knows they come from the heart because my city isn’t exactly New York. It barely has 20k people.
10) Being too critical or judgmental
While constructive criticism is healthy, being too critical or judgmental damages self-esteem and the relationship.
Should you give constructive feedback on something? Of course.
But you should express concerns or criticisms in a kind and respectful way, showing empathy and consideration.
11) Interrupting or talking over you constantly
And lastly, there’s no effective communication without active listening. Your partner should give you the chance to express your thoughts and feelings without constantly interrupting you.
This proves they value your perspective and want to hear what you have to say. We talked about this already. They shouldn’t ignore you and your opinions.
And if they talk over you, they obviously don’t care enough for what you have to say.
Ultimately, respecting someone’s boundaries boils down to the Golden Rule. Don’t do to others what you don’t want done to you.
If you’re with someone who doesn’t understand that, frankly, you have your work cut out for you.
You’ll have to assert your boundaries in a smart way.