1. Evaluate your limits and feelings. Everyone has personal limits. There may be behaviors and actions that make you feel uncomfortable, disrespected, or otherwise negative. Before trying to establish healthy boundaries, identify where your limits are. What are you willing to do for your boyfriend and what is too much?
Think about times you've felt taken advantage of by your boyfriend. What behaviors led to these feelings? For example, maybe your boyfriend borrows money from you a lot and this makes you feel uncomfortable.
Remember, your feelings are valid. Everyone has limits, so do not feel bad for yours. For example, maybe you do make more money than your boyfriend and can afford to lend him money; however, this does not mean this is required of you, especially if you don't like the tension money creates in a relationship.
2. Recognize your right to healthy boundaries. Just because you are able to do something does not mean you have to do it. Before setting boundaries, recognize you are entitled to them. Everyone has a right to set up personal boundaries in a relationship to feel safe and respected. Remind yourself of this before talking over boundaries with your boyfriend. Do not go into the conversation feeling guilty for requesting boundaries.
3. Be direct during the conversation. It's important your boyfriend or guyfriend understand your boundaries on no uncertain terms. Boundaries are an important personal right, so make yourself as clear and direct as possible when discussing your own personal boundaries.
For example, do not say, "I guess I just get a little uncomfortable lending you money a lot. Sorry, but I just worry it could create tension, so maybe you could borrow from someone else sometimes?"
Instead, state yourself clearly. Set concrete limits that your boyfriend can clearly understand. For example, "I don't want to lend you money anymore. I feel money can create tension in a relationship and I worry about resentment building if this becomes a habit. Please do not ask me for money anymore.
4. Be assertive. Sometimes, people will not understand your boundaries right away. Your boyfriend may violate your boundaries in the future, even after you've made yourself clear. In this case, be assertive and restate your boundaries again.
Let your boyfriend or guyfriend know when they've crossed a line. Remind them you have already told them about your boundaries and they need to respect them.
For example, your boyfriend asks to borrow money for groceries after you've explained that you're not lending him money anymore. Calmly say something like, "We talked about this, remember? I don't feel comfortable lending you money all the time. I can't help you.
5. Reflect on your past and present. Once you've stated boundaries, some personal reflection can be helpful. You want to make sure your relationships are healthy and reciprocal. Some people have a history of letting others violate their boundaries, so think about your own personal history to make sure you know how to prioritize yourself.
Think about the types of relationships you've had in the past. Are you prone to friendships and romantic relationships that feel one-sided? If so, you may need to work no prioritizing your feelings a little more.
Consider your role in your family growing up. Were you frequently in caregiver roles? If so, you may sometime forget to practice self care.
If you continue to struggle to prioritize yourself, it may be helpful to work with a therapist or counselor.
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