If you go to see a rom-com, you might notice the idea of having “no boundaries” is portrayed as exciting, fun, intimate, and sexy. In these movies, a lack of boundaries signifies a committed relationship, an exciting sex life, or some sort of standard.
As usual, the movies lie.
Boundaries are definitely still needed in romantic relationships, even if partners can finish each other’s sentences. In reality, a lack of boundaries actually looks like:
- Having no privacy.
- A partner looking through the other’s phone, email, etc.
- Feeling the need to tell a partner everything.
- Feeling guilty for not telling a partner everything.
- “Walking on eggshells” around a partner.
- Feeling the need to hide things from a partner to avoid making them upset.
- Feeling unable to express when something is upsetting or uncomfortable.
- Isolation from friends and family.
- Feeling hurt and violated after doing something sexually that was uncomfortable or unwanted.
- Feeling responsible for a partner’s emotions or actions.
A partner may act like a parent, while the other one acts like a child. One partner may expect the other to automatically know what they are thinking/feeling – even if they haven’t communicated either of those things. In more extreme cases, a partner may also feel unable to express their needs, wants, thoughts, feelings, or opinions.
Yeah…not very fun, exciting, or sexy.
Regardless of how close or how similar people are, they are still two different people. It is not realistic to expect another person to read minds, to ignore the equally important events happening around them to tend to a particular individual, or to share things that they may not be ready to. To expect any of these things ignores a person’s own worth and individuality.
Not only are these expectations unreasonable, but they are unsustainable. Rather than building up a relationship, they are more likely to contribute to a toxic one that cannot last. No one likes to feel guilty, anxious, or violated all of the time – which is likely to happen when there are no boundaries in place to enforce good, reasonable expectations.