Enough is Enough: Set Boundaries With Your Woman
Recently, the “Got Milk” folks offended women with an ad campaign that has been pulled off the airwaves and the Internet. They poked fun at poor victimized men dealing with gorilla-like “women on the rag.” Regardless of the campaign’s failure, it’s true no one deserves to be treated abusively, and men need to set boundaries just as much as women do. Here are some tips on setting boundaries without burning bridges.
1. Polish up your own self-esteem. You will always be treated the way you encourage others to treat you. If you present yourself as a doormat, guess what your function in a relationship will be?
2. Treat your woman the way you expect to be treated. Be cordial, courteous, respectful, and honest, even when you’re angry. You heard right—even when you’re arguing, you need to maintain a positive attitude. Practice that.
3. Make clear, non-aggressive statements. Try this, “I know you’re angry, and I’d like to resolve this with you, but let’s take a few minutes to bring it down a notch.” Instead of — “I don’t need any crap from you, I’m going out!” Or try “How can I help make it better right now?”
4. Don’t engage in verbal ping-pong. If she hurls insults and unreasonable demands, remain rational, stick to the facts, or disengage and try again later. Your partner will learn that your boundaries don’t include sucking up abuse.
5. Be specific about what you will not tolerate. For example—“I don’t like when you make fun of me when we’re with other people. It isn’t ok for you to call me names or point up my shortcomings.”
6. Define the consequences of your partner continuing to trample your boundary. “If you make fun of me in front of others, I’ll quietly leave the gathering without you.”
7. Establish boundaries that matter to you. Don’t go to battle over every little transgression. We all have to be a bit tolerant because we’re all flawed humans.
8. Be ready to take action if your boundaries are crossed or ignored. Just like neighboring nations do, let your partner know that you’re goal is living in warm friendship. But you’re prepared to take action to protect your boundaries.
It’s a good idea to talk it out with her when you’re both calm and in a good mood. Maybe she doesn’t realize she’s stepping over a line. Once you’re both clear on your true feelings and boundaries, you have to be prepared to do whatever it takes to protect yourself, even if that means leaving the relationship.