Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Boundaries. . . .aka Borders. . .

You'll Never Be Lonely
 If You Love The Person
 You're Alone With

Posted: 26 Oct 2010 01:20 AM PDT
ASI3500f9624f68009a58d563078b8dbdda0_full Have you ever skipped going to the health club one day because you just absolutely had no motivation to get all sweaty and tired?Or what about gorging on a half-gallon of ice cream to cope with your stress? Ever leave the mall wondering what the heck you were thinking maxing out your credit card? Do you work more hours at your job than need be? These are situations where a boundary violation of the self has occurred and we’ve all been there.

Boundaries are the limits we set around ourselves to keep safe, centered, and accountable. They are usually drawn from our values and they define who we are and what we will and won’t accept in our lives to keep our integrity and well-being intact. The more aligned our behavior is with our defined boundaries, the more balance and harmony we tend to experience in our lives.

When we act outside the confines of our boundaries, our self-esteem can take a hit and we actually can create a whole host of other stressors that will disrupt us and leave us feeling badly and out-of-integrity. It is human nature to stumble outside our boundaries from time to time, but when it becomes a way of life, underlying issues may be at play that will require some attention and intervention to avoid ongoing conflicts in one’s life.

Not only do we have self-imposed boundaries, but boundaries also pertain to our relationships. A healthy relationship is comprised of two men with a solid sense of self and identity. Boundaries help protect the partners of a couple from abuse or outside influences of others. They help create a sense of security in the partnership, allowing safe communication of needs and feelings between the partners that helps to solidify a positive connection and intimacy. Boundaries help cement what is deemed appropriate and inappropriate conduct both within and outside the context of being a couple and help to define who you are and what you stand for as life partners.

Boundaries & Relationship Types - Here’s an illustration as to why boundaries are important to your relationship. Take out a piece of paper. At the top of the page, draw two circles on opposite sides of the page. This represents the type of relationship where the couple identifies themselves as a pair, however they have little connection with each other and live parallel lives with minimal contact, sharing, or interaction that would support an intimate commitment. This relationship exhibits boundaries that are too strong to allow closeness and which there’s too much separateness and division between the two men. Little will grow from this except more of a “roommate feeling” and dissension. This style has too much individual identity.

In the middle of the page, draw two circles with one on top of the other. This relationship type is called enmeshed, where the couple is practically one whole. You are your partner; you live and breathe your partner with very little independence and individuality. You are merged together so completely that you lose your sense of self because you’re so fused and any perceived threat that exists to your relationship is thought of as devastating. The problem with this relationship style is that partners can feel suffocated and overly-dependent on each other; controlling behaviors are not uncommon and you can feel restricted and trapped. This style has too much couple identity.

At the bottom of the page, draw two circles that are mildly intertwined at the sides. This is a healthy relationship where the partners are slightly merged. There is a healthy balance of separateness and togetherness. The couple is flexible, honoring their uniqueness as individuals and their shared connection as partners. Because of this balance, “fresh air” is constantly being breathed into the relationship, revitalizing it and making it exciting, unlike the staleness of the former relationship type where everything is about the other person. This style works because the boundaries aren’t too rigid or loose and they take into account that healthy relationships have both individual and couple identities. This is what you want to shoot for!

(Part Two  - Tomorrow)
Brian Rzepczynski, Certified Personal Life Coach, is The Gay Love Coach: "I work with gay men who are ready to create a roadmap that will lead them to find and build a lasting partnership with Mr. Right." To sign up for the FREE Gay Love Coach Newsletter filled with dating and relationship tips and skills for gay singles and couples, as well as to check out current coaching groups, programs, teleclasses, and the self-help book he co-authored, "A Guide to Getting It: Purpose & Passion," please visit Thank you!

Thanks again, Michael.  These articles from  are much appreciated.


Anonymous said...

Ha, this subject popped up as I was commenting on the last one, doing the "now".

Bundaries, yes, I have trouble with presonal boundries...not the sexual ones, but the ones I have to impose on myself in order to live.

Trouble is we all need boundaries to prevent us suffering from the excesses that doing the "now", as in Justin;s previous subject involve...hee hee!

Life is one big bloody compromise, damn it!

Greg in Adelaide

Gary Kelly said...

Very true, JustinO. But it can apply equally to being alone with yourself.

As you said, you'll never be lonely if you love the person you're alone with.

And if that happens to be yourself, you'll never be alone.

Does that make sense to you?

JustinO'Shea said...

Why YES, Gary it does make sense. . .a lot of sense.

If I live in ongoing turmoil within. . . .if the 'mad wo/man of the house' is allowed to run roughshod all over me. . .that inner voice that goes about berating, harping on all my many shortcomings I will never have any peace. . .

which means. . .if I do not have a degree of love and acceptance of /for myself as I am here and now, and am constantly picking at my weaknesses, failures, not comparing favorably with other guys, in so many words beating mysekf over my head, telling myself I am "just a piece of chit" I will not be able to stand being alone or with others.

I know you agree: basically it's an inside job. If i cannot love myself at least a bit, I will never risk getting close to anyone else. . . .for fear they too will tell me I AM "just a piece of chit".


JCinmeforever said...

yep! ...just as I mentioned in 'sex when?...'

"Accepting (and loving) yourself as you are emotionally, Spiritually, sexually with confidence is an important foundation in working toward being the best you can be in any type of relationship...friends or partners..."