Every couple goes through struggles at one point or another. For some, this struggle comes in the form of codependency. In the first part of this discussion, we reviewed common symptoms of codependency. Now we will take a look at the importance of boundaries in relationships and how to establish healthy boundaries.
Why Boundaries Are Important in Relationships
Before we explain how to create boundaries in a relationship, we need to explain why this is important. What’s wrong with immersing yourself in your partner’s life? Isn’t that what commitment is all about?
The issue with codependency is that it inhibits individuality. Each person becomes dependent on the other, to the point that they may not be able to make decisions or feel confident on their own. You should still feel like an individual, even when you’re in a relationship. You have interests, and your partner has interests. Those may not always align. Having healthy boundaries ensures that each person in the relationship remains confident, satisfied, and in control of their own life.
Embrace Your Individual Interests (Or Find New Ones)
The best way to create boundaries in codependency is to find separate interests – something you love to do and your partner does not. If you do not have individual interests at this time, this is an opportunity to explore new ones. Join a local club. Take an art class. Start reading a book series on your own. Find ways to spend time apart so you can re-learn who you are as individuals.
Think before You Respond “Yes or No”
Your yes or no answers may be programmed in your brain at this point. You don’t even realize how you’re responding. Your mind is on auto-pilot. Take time to conscientiously respond to every question you’re asked, no matter how small it is. If your spouse asks if you want pizza for dinner, don’t automatically say yes because he wants pizza for dinner. Instead, think about what you truly want. This is key in forming your own identity again.
Consider Individual and Couples Counseling
You may benefit from couples counseling, individual counseling, or a combination of the two. Your therapist can recommend solutions catered to your relationship. You will not be judged for your codependency or any other element of your relationship. Therapy is a positive space to overcome struggles, both in your personal life and in your family life.
Heron Ridge Associates has several therapists on staff who specialize in codependency. If you would like to get matched with a therapist near you, contact one of our counseling centers.