I have been learning to really set boundaries in my life and the one I struggle with the most is when my significant other is struggling. I find when he is in a bad mood three thoughts go through my mind… Is it my fault? What can I do to help fix it? If I can’t fix it, what can I do to make him just feel better? This is probably the natural reaction when you love someone, but I had a realization that maybe I take that responsibility a little too far. When I start considering things that are outside my comfort zone, like using my day off to cover at the restaurant when he is perfectly capable of doing it, is not really necessary. Making sacrifices for those we love is good at times but consistently doing so at the cost of our own needs is really not healthy and ultimately damaging to the relationship over time.
If I worked at the restaurant and he took that time to go relax, knowing that it could be me relaxing on my day off, I would probably become resentful over time. It isn’t like he can come in to my job and cover for me when I am struggling! So what is it in some of us that makes us feel responsible or guilty if we don’t jump in to save the day at every opportunity? Well, I think it may be different for all of us and depend on the situation but at the root of it we simply feel the happiness of the ones we love is something we are partly responsible for, but the truth is, we are not….not in any way.
I have always believed that the attitude we have each day is a choice and we can choose to make struggles ruin our mood or try our best to focus on the positive. Some days the ability to stay focused on the positive is easier than others. Some situations are just hard no matter how you spin it and we just have to be understanding that our loved ones are human and we all have bad days. Offer to listen or help if you can but don’t take on their problems fully, keep a boundary and know, ultimately, this is something they have to deal with. In turn understanding when you are the one dealing with a bad day that it is up to you to make a choice on how to respond to what comes your way and how to work through it, it is not up to others to fix it or make you happy. When two individuals in a relationship take full responsibility for their own thoughts, feelings and actions then you can really see the fruits of a strong relationship developing.
Offer to listen, offer to help in some ways but not at the cost of your own happiness and just give them space. Sometimes the best support is to just remove yourself from the situation completely. If someone is in a bad mood they are more likely to lash out and snap at those around them, especially those they love the most. Seeing the warning signs and removing yourself from the opportunity to argue can be the best thing to do. Bad moods can be contagious and if you hang around they can suck you in. Choosing to rise above it and keep your positive vibes can be hard when your loved one is being difficult. Knowing it is just a mood and not taking it personal can help to not engage and respond in kind. Love, acceptance and boundaries are the key to a long and lasting relationship with anyone and setting healthy boundaries in a romantic relationship can be the hardest. We are often taught that when we enter a relationship we become one with the other person and I really dislike that description. A healthy relationship requires understanding you are two completely different individuals working together as a team, not as one.
With love, happiness and heathy boundaries,