Giving all of yourself to a person sounds romantic, huh? That might work in a sappy Nicholas Sparks movie, but that kind of all-access pass could be hurting you in the long run. Having boundaries is a good thing. Things like your right to privacy or asking permission before physical touch can help you feel even more secure in your relationship. But what if your partner is always challenging your boundaries? This may be a sign they’re not respecting your needs. And, if they do these nine things, they probably never will.
1. You constantly have to remind them. So you’ve set a clear boundary. Great! Maybe you asked them to avoid texting you at work unless it’s an emergency. If you have to keep reminding them because they keep crossing the boundary, it shows a lack of respect for your wishes. A truly appreciative and loving partner/friend/family member doesn’t need to be reminded more than once or twice.
2. They consider it your responsibility if they cross your boundaries. Do you hear these things every time you remind them of your boundaries or get upset when they’re disrespected? “Well, you should have said something.” “You should have reminded me.” Relationships are a partnership they should be meeting you halfway. Plus, if you have to keep reminding them of the boundary, it defeats the whole purpose.
3. They question and second guess every boundary. You shouldn’t have to keep explaining why it’s important to you to have healthy boundaries. Having a debate every time you try to enforce a boundary is exhausting. They’re looking for loopholes, not ways to make you feel safer or more comfortable.
4. They think there are exceptions. The best boundaries are simple and firm. Yet your partner is always finding ways to break them. And when you call them on it, they come up with reasons why this time should be okay. “Because I missed you.” “Well, I didn’t think you meant it every time.” These are just clever ways to disrespect your boundaries disguised as misunderstandings.
5. They test your boundaries as a “joke.” If they disrespect your boundaries and you call them on it, they say they were just joking and you should “lighten up.” If a joke doesn’t make both parties laugh, it’s not a joke at all.
6. They joke about your boundaries with their friends. When you hang out in group settings, your partner will bring up your boundaries and laugh about how silly they think they are. Honestly, making fun of your relationship to their friends is a huge red flag no matter what it’s about.
7. They brag about not having any boundaries for themselves. When you bring up your boundaries, they make a big show of not having any. They might talk about how they’re an open book, making it sound like it’s a bad thing to have boundaries. Making you feel guilty for having reasonable and healthy boundaries is not a good sign.
8. They don’t seem to care that this is making or breaking your relationship. It can be agonizing to have your boundaries repeatedly disrespected. And yet, even with how upset you feel, they’re not changing. A caring partner or friend would care that you’re experiencing this turmoil.
9. They don’t believe there will be consequences. Why follow your boundaries if nothing bad will come of it if they don’t? Show them that’s not the case. It sounds like it might be time to let go of this toxic relationship.