Monthly Archives: August 2010

Honor the Boundaries You Set

Dear Dr. Jackie:

After 5 years together, my girlfriend and I broke-up. The thing is, I don’t hate her, but I just didn’t feel passion for her and that’s important for me. My ex-girlfriend calls me every now and then to hear my voice and asks to see me about once a week, just so she can rest her head on my shoulder and cry over the breakup. Last week, though, she tried sleeping with me, and having had a few drinks, I caved. I’m pretty sure this gave her false hopes about us and I want to ensure that there’s no confusion.  Should I just cut all ties at this point? I’m not sure that this won’t happen again.


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How Do You Set Boundaries?

Let me say first, setting boundaries is not disrespectful, bad or wrong. In fact, emotionally healthy people set personal boundaries.


Educate people in your life about your boundaries. Calmly and respectfully inform them about how they can and cannot behave around you. Let people know what you want and don’t want, what you like and don’t like.


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How Do Boundaries Work?


We learn to set boundaries to protect two different parts of Self:

  • Boundaries for our Outside Self, which protect our body and control distance and touch
  • Boundaries for our Inside Self, which act as filters or blocks to protect our thinking, feeling and behavior

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Why Are Boundaries Important?

If your life is filled with discord and you don’t feel that others respect you, it’s time to set your boundaries.

Each of us experiences our reality in four ways:

  1. Body – what we look like
  2. Thinking – how we give meaning to incoming data
  3. Feelings – our emotional response
  4. Behavior – what we do or don’t do

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What Are Boundaries?

If your life is filled with more of what you don’t want and not enough of what you do want, it’s time to set your boundaries.


Boundaries define a person’s sense of self (i.e., who he or she is as an individual). Setting boundaries makes others feel safe around you and allows you to feel safe in your environment. It is a way to exhibit self-respect, thereby increasing the respect shown to you by others.




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Dr Jackie Black Newsletter

Hello. I am Dr. Jackie Black, your Couples in Trouble Expert. Since 1999, I have guided many formerly frustrated and desperately unhappy Couples in Trouble to happiness, closeness and having more fun together than they ever imagined. My years of experience combined with your commitment to your personal growth will enable you to welcome the results you have always wanted and never believed were possible in your marriage.

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