Boundaries are a necessity for a healthy, loving relationship.
Cheating happens when there are a lack of boundaries with the opposite gender. Affairs exist because people aren’t committed to keeping those boundaries.
Most affairs and acts of infidelity occur over time, when boundaries are absent or when both people in the relationship fail to commit to keeping them.
Here are some boundaries that you and your S.O. need to create and commit to pursuing daily, no matter how long you’ve been together.
#1. Having a best friend of the opposite gender.
There’s nothing wrong with having a close guy or a gal friend. It’s what you choose to share with them about your relationship that may lead you into more dangerous waters.
My boyfriend and I agreed to not hang out with a guy or a gal friend one-on-one. If we absolutely wanted or needed to, we’d disclose who they are and what we’d be doing.
It may seem like controlling behavior but it’s not. It’s accountability and protecting the relationship you have with your S.O. There are certain things you need to reserve to only share with them and no one else.
Though it’s especially important to do in marriage, if you’re in a long-term relationship with thoughts of pursuing marriage down the line, establishing and practicing this now will only help when the two of you get married.
#2. The amount of time you spend together in-person.
Unhealthy codependency stems from being in constant communication and being in each other’s presence on a daily basis. Space and individual time is important and can only help the relationship.
Since my boyfriend and I are long-distance, we have those boundaries already set for us and it’s strengthened our relationship and kept us from meshing into one too soon before marriage.
Many people think it’s a good thing for a couple to always be together, doing everything together, 24/7. It’s not. Interdependent relationships consist of two independent people who know how to rely on each other.
Are you and your S.O. in the same city and spend everyday or more than a few times a week together in person? Then it’s time to cut back. Decrease it to the weekend or only certain days of the week.
#3. Being respectful and considerate.
Respect is a huge part of any relationship and without it, there’s no relationship at all. Create boundaries relating to feelings, respect and love, in order to prevent abuse or being taken for granted.
During an argument we had in the early days of our dating relationship, my boyfriend said, “I care about your feelings.” I knew then that he really did respect me as a person, because he could have easily attacked me, but he chose to act out of love, not anger.
This doesn’t only apply to times of conflict, but also when it comes to accepting your S.O.’s decisions when it comes to intimacy, emotions, words and actions.
When they say no to sex or to spending time with you, respect means being okay with that and not getting bitter about it or by manipulating them to think or do otherwise.
#4. Keeping conflict and any struggles internal.
It’s important to not disclose your relationship struggles or any kind of conflict to your friends and family, even those who are of the same gender.
Why? Because you should be communicating with your S.O. instead of venting to others. Your loved ones will not be able to be objective because they will always favor you.
It may also have a negative effect on your relationship because when you speak badly of them, your friends and family are only hearing the bad. They may even allow you to talk badly about them. If that happens, get new friends.
#5. Making sure you’re not too busy for your S.O.
Maybe you and your S.O. are doing a great job protecting the relationship but it may not be an external factor, but our busy schedules that keep a relationship from flourishing.
Skipping out on date night or postponing a long-awaited trip with your S.O. should not be blamed on your busy schedule. Everyone is busy. Relationships require time and commitment.
My boyfriend and I always make sure we have time to talk to each other, no matter how busy we may be. Even if it’s not a long conversation, we check in on each other and it still does wonders for our relationship.
Stop cramming in filler activities just to keep your schedule full. Take care of yourself not just for you but for the relationship. It’s okay to call it a day if you’re bed-ridden tired and sick but don’t let it become a habit.
If you and your S.O. want to get married, know that if either or both of you aren’t practicing these boundaries daily, it will not change once there’s a ring on your finger.