We cannot disregard the impact of parents in our lives and often times; we carry it on into our relationship without setting healthy boundaries. A lot of relationships where the husband or the wife has refused to set boundaries with their parents, have experienced turmoil and strife, and ultimately divorce. Some people cannot be blamed; if they grew up in a home where everyone in the family takes joint and are involved in decisions, they might find it hard to exclude their parents from their private affairs. If their significant other is not comfortable with this idea, there will inevitably be problems.
A major reason why people do not set boundaries is guilt. For instance, "I cannot tell my mother to leave because I don't want her to feel bad and live on her own." In some other cases, the fear of their parents has made it hard for some people to tell them what they would want their parents to do. Without boundaries, you will be defeating the purpose of making a commitment to someone for life in the first place. If a person cannot do things on their own without anybody interfering, then they aren't indeed in a partnership with their significant other. So, there has to be a healthy boundary if you want to enjoy some privacy and intimacy, which are part of the commitment you make in a healthy relationship. What are some of those healthy boundaries?
Once you have made a decision to be in a committed relationship, you should not allow your parents into your finances. It may go well at the start but it most times never ends well. If you and your spouse have a major financial decision to make and have both agreed to it, allowing your parents to wade in or offer their own opinion is unnecessary especially if they have a contrasting opinion. If either of your parents' views will be sought after, you and your partner have to be on board with that and agree to it. You have to draw the line.
Once you are committed to someone, you need to stop feeling like your parents' baby who runs to them every time you have a problem. Your significant other should be your confidant and your biggest source of emotional support. Seek your partner’s advice first before anything else. It helps build strong intimacy between the both of you. If you are facing a work problem, talk to your partner instead of your parents. If you landed a big contract, your significant other should know first. You need to understand that you have completed the phase with your parents and your new phase of life is with your husband or wife, regardless of how closely-knitted you are/were with your parents.
Physical boundaries could mean your parents coming over to your house uninvited or even when invited, staying beyond the time they are supposed to. If this happens a lot, then you need to set boundaries on how your parents invade your personal space. Although, sometimes, you may need to accommodate your parents if they are old and probably need attention, however, your partner has to be supportive and understanding.
Heather Oller is a licensed Orlando therapist at Orlando Thrive Therapy, Coaching & Counseling who specializes in counseling Orlando couples, individuals, and families who are seeking changes in their lives. She has been a mental health professional for over 17 years and is a practicing Orlando counselor that specializes in conflict resolution for couples. You can contact her for an appointment or call 407-592-8997 for more information.