In any form of relationship being clear on your boundaries is vital to the quality and success of a fulfilling relationship. But what if the other person doesn’t agree or has difficulties with your boundary? Negotiating your boundaries is an option to consider.
Firstly, though you need to know if your boundary is negotiable or not. And to do that you must know what your non-negotiables are. What you are not willing to negotiate or compromise. Meaning if the boundary is violated, it is a show stopper. For example, a violated non-negotiable boundary in a relationship would signify the end of the relationship.
A good way to determine your relationship non-negotiables is to ask yourself the question
“What would, without doubt, cause me without any hesitation to know that I can no longer stay in a relationship?” Your answers to this question are your non-negotiables!
But go a step further and imagine the situation in various scenarios. Be truly honest with yourself. If the non-negotiable is violated, no matter the circumstances, are you fully committed to follow through? This is especially important when setting boundaries in a relationship.
For example, you tell a romantic partner that infidelity will result in the end of your relationship and you then didn’t end the relationship if your partner had an affair. You would only be letting yourself down. You become untrustworthy to yourself. Which ultimately affects your self-esteem.
So, once you have your non-negotiable boundaries determined, all other boundaries are in principle negotiable!
When you want to set and communicate reasonable boundaries, most people will accept, understand and agree to your boundary. However, there can be times if you are in the process of establishing new or up levelling boundaries in your relationship, where you may receive reactions in the form of a push backs. They sound something like “you didn’t use to do that”, “why are you changing things?”, you were ok before with this, why now the change?”. Or you may even experience a complete objection to your boundary because he or she feels the boundary will create a problem.
It is at times like this when you can decide to negotiate your boundary. A word of warning, be aware of manipulative or guilt-tripping behavior. You should never be left feeling guilty, or that you’re doing something wrong for wanting to set the boundary or that it results in you not following through at all on setting the boundary.
Know that boundary setting in the beginning can bring imbalance into your relationship.
If you decide you are open to adjust the boundary, it’s a good idea to bring your partner into the boundary development process. Your goal is to create a win-win situation in which both of you benefit. Be respectful and come with open and honest attitudes to the discussion as much as possible.
Boundaries are about getting your needs met. So, things you can ask each other are:
- What do I/you need/want? (Be specific.)
- Why do I/you need it?
- How do I/you need it?
- When do I/you need it?
- What can we offer the other person to encourage him or her to accept the boundary?
- Can we do what we have agreed to do? Is it realistic? Is it beneficial?
Negotiations usually result in a compromise. However, it is important to remember that the final desired outcome should not get changed during the negotiations. It’s how the outcome is reached that it up for negotiation!
Time to reach out?
Are you experiencing difficulties with setting boundaries for yourself? Have you recently come out of a relationship and want to empower yourself to set, maintain and enforce boundaries before getting into a new relationship? Why not apply for my coaching package; Empowering boundaries for women or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for a free no obligation 30 min consultation call.
Rachel Goss is a Life Coach at Thought Performance Coaching. Rachel is a compassionate, caring and insightful Life Thought Coach. She is passionate about supporting people to step out of suffering and limitation and step into fulfillment. With her support and guidance, you connect to your inner wisdom, unleash your true potential and optimize your emotional well-being. Experience inner freedom and see your life through a different lens. Read about her Creating Healthy Boundaries coaching program.