Expert advisors share tips to deal with a relationship riddled with strict rules and boundaries.
Recently, Twitter riled up when a profile on Karen Pence, wife to Vice President Mike Pence surfaced revealing their strict marriage rules. Rules such as this: Mike will not eat alone with any woman who is not his wife, he will not go to any event serving alcohol without his wife. Enraged in true twitterati style, they questioned the stringent marital rules. While the presence of having healthy boundaries in a relationship will ease the sailing of the boat, forceful, harsh rules can do more damage than good, suggest relationship counsellors.
If a partner has a history of infidelity or a past where they got themselves involved in a situation where they were caught cheating, having certain boundaries makes sense, says relationship counsellor Dr Nisha Khanna. “It is possible that the previous cheating or infidelity experience has impacted the partner’s mind so much that they have developed trust issues psychologically,” she adds. Relationship advisor and marriage counsellor Dr Rajan Bhonsle concurs, “If the lover has been jilted once, then there are definite chances of them being cautious of their partner and saving themselves the torture of another broken relationship.”
To be aware of each others’ boundaries is a healthier option than setting limits for each other. “It is also important to understand what is the status of your relationship; do you trust your partner enough? If not, first build the trust and develop the relationship. Then, setting boundaries won’t be necessary at all,” Rajan says.
Setting strict rules might not always work in the favour of the relationship warns Nisha. “The sense of withholding yourself from cheating is something that comes from within and if rules are imposed, there are times when people get all the more lured to break them because they tend to feel suffocated and want to break free,” she says.
When the partner is suspicious or possessive in nature, these things tend to get out of control and seeking help from a person who can give an unbiased manner helps. “It is pretty abnormal to expect partners to work according to your whims and fancies. If you get too possessive, clingy or paranoid and want your partner to do everything only with you, then there is serious intervention required,” Nisha says.
A strong foundation can only be built by communication. “It is important to tell your partner clearly that while you love them a lot, it’s important for them to allow you to breath and let you spend some time with friends, colleagues or just alone,” Rajan says.