You may be in the depths of emotional turmoil following a breakup. But understanding boundaries can make or break your transition into singledom.
Boundaries help you maintain a healthy sense of self. Without boundaries, you would experience anger, sadness, resentment, grief and frustration at extraordinary levels because your individual desires, needs and wants wouldn’t be honored, respected or acknowledged. Boundaries are essential for healthy relationships.
If you’re unsure about how to set boundaries after a breakup, then these tips are for you.
There are four important questions you need to ask yourself immediately following a breakup
- How well did the split go? Did you or your ex breakdown or lash out? Were either of you taken by surprise?
- How are you feeling? If you were the one to make the break, then where do you stand? Do you feel guilt, shame or fear? If you were broken up with, do you feel anger, sadness or grief?
- How is the other person feeling? How well did your ex respond? Were they stand-offish while making the break? Or were they balling at your feet while you said you’d like to split? Did they even communicate their feelings in an intelligible manner?
- What do you want for the future? Based on the answers to the above questions, what would feel best for you? Did the breakup go so well that you can see yourself being friends with your ex afterward (which takes time and space)? Or are you on the edge of crying at the thought of the other person?
It can be hard when you’re in the midst of crazy emotions to discern the true answers to these questions. But having a solid understanding of the situation will help you to stay firm on the boundaries you do create. These questions and answers clarify what those boundaries are. You can’t maintain boundaries after a breakup if you don’t know exactly what you want.
For instance, let’s say you were the one to break up with your partner. You know it was for the best and you feel good about it, but you see the other person isn’t handling it well. You can hope for the best, but at this time is seems as though creating a firm “no talking” and “not seeing” each other boundary is necessary for you both to move on.
It can be challenging to figure out what boundaries you’re going to create. But creating boundaries requires a bit more work than knowing what you want. You have to tell the other person your expectations.
If you don’t clearly articulate this for the other person, then they may think it’s okay to ask for one more conversation, one more meeting or one more round of breakup sex. It’s your job to let the other person know your boundaries.
Then you have to maintain those boundaries with your actions. This is where you have to be strong when you’re feeling your weakest. This is where you develop true character and grit. It’s where the rubber meets the road.
Remember that boundaries are less about keeping the other person out. They are all about preserving your healthy sense of self by respecting your own wants, needs and desires. And when you infringe upon your own inner demands, then you cultivate lack of self-trust and love. You damage your relationship with yourself by prioritizing the demands of someone else or ignoring your inner voice.
So how can you maintain those boundaries, even in your weakest moments?
- Phone a friend: Instead of texting your ex, text a friend. Even better, call them. They way you have someone else to talk to immediately instead.
- Unfriend your ex: There’s no need to see your ex’s daily activities on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Save yourself the misery by unfriending them right from the start.
- Spend time with other loved ones: Now is the time to draw on your support network. That’s what they are there for. Hang out with your mom or dad. Go see a movie with your sister. Or tell your best friend you need a weekend getaway to the mountains.
But things can get really tough. You may need to confront your ex to state your boundaries again. If you’re having to restate your boundaries more than a few times, then you need to block the person on your phone.
Don’t be afraid to seek professional help if you’re truly concerned for your safety. Breakups can spark anger in people and initiate inappropriate or even violent behavior. There are many resources available to assist men and women who fear they’re being stalked or aggressively followed by an ex.
Maintaining boundaries after a breakup can be difficult. But know that the sooner you stop talking to or seeing your ex, then the sooner you both can move on with your lives. Boundaries are barriers for self-love and respect for both individuals. The healthiest thing you can do for both parties is to honor those boundaries.