A.sk RossAbout Tips For Setting Boundaries & Making Time For Yourself In RelationshipsMarissa A. Ross

A.sk Ross is where I, Marissa A. Ross, answer questions you ask me. Keep in mind I am simply a girl who’s been through a lot & has acquired some wisdom along the way. I own no certificates proclaiming my word is law, so please don’t take it as so. If anything, take my advice with a grain of salt and a pinch of optimism. Have a question? Email me at A.skRossNow@gmail.com.

Dear Marissa,

I’m a 20 year old college girl who works full time and lives with my boyfriend. I love him, or at least I think I do. I’ve never been with anyone else and he’s had other girls one of which we went through an ordeal with because he wanted to be with her and not me but then he saw the light and chose me. Because of things in the past I’m very insecure about our relationship but he is really sweet, does everything for me, and tries his hardest to make me happy. He’s quite clingy and I think that might be why I push him away sometimes. I get so mad and just want him to get away from me sometimes and I don’t understand that. I could not see myself without him, I know that because he’s my best friend, we just have so many differences. We work 6 out of 7 days off the week and when we finally have a day off he likes to drink and hang out with his friends while I like to go out or watch a movie or just relax. I try so hard to be happy but it just does not work. I stopped drinking liquor because I thought it was that making me angry and that solved nothing. I think it might just be me? I’d do anything to be happy and have an amazing relationship but it just doesn’t seem to possible. I think I might be holding a grudge in my mind but I really should let it go because he gets so sad about it and tries so hard to prove he’s sorry and I know he is so why can’t I help getting mad all of the time? I just want to be happy.

Jessica

“I get so mad and just want him to get away from me sometimes and I don’t understand that.” Dude, you live and work full time with your boyfriend, no kidding you get mad and want him to get away from you. Not only do you not spend any time without your boyfriend, but you also work six days a week. No wonder you’re angry all the time! You need you time! Your relationship with your boyfriend seems to be suffering because your relationship with yourself is suffering.

Spending that much time with one person will drive you insane. I know this because I love my boyfriend to death and I spend a lot of time with him, but even I start to get snappy and rude when I haven’t had enough time to myself. Or for example, I love my mom and my sister. I’m super close with them both. But put me in a series of hotel rooms and buses for three weeks with them in China and I almost killed them both by the end of the trip.

The “anything” you should do to be happy, is make some time for yourself and give your boyfriend some boundaries.

First, let’s start with setting boundaries. You have to do this. You probably won’t have any time to spend by yourself without them and also, you are just seriously annoyed with your dude. You guys need to chill out a bit and remember why you enjoyed being around one another. This isn’t going to happen if you continue in the patterns you are in now, so let’s get to this.

Identify the boundaries you need

Anything that makes you whine, complain or flat out want to rip his head off is something that you need to identify as a boundary. These clingy tendencies he has are probably the first thing you should work on. Take what makes you upset and really think about it. Isolate it and find a way to describe how you feel, why you feel that way and what can be done to resolve it.

Communicate

Without anger or agitation, communicate to your significant other that this is how you feel, why you feel this way and what you feel can be done to resolve it. Try to be calm and concise. They may not like what you have to say but this isn’t an argument. This is how you feel and you are trying to find a solution for the good of your relationship.

Stick to the boundaries

Hopefully with the respect you have for one another, you can communicate your feelings and your significant other will respect those feelings. But old habits die hard and it’s really easy to fall back into old routines. Stay strong and know that you are working towards a happier life. He may also try to guilt trip you or make you feel selfish. Just ignore that. Change is hard for some people. You’re doing this to be a healthier person and have a healthier relationship, so have confidence in your decision because it is the right one.

Now that you have made boundaries with your significant other, now it’s time for you to make more time for you.

Write down what you enjoy doing

What are your hobbies? What interests you? What have you been itching to spend a day doing? What have you needed more time for? Write it all down. Set no limit for yourself. Include books you’ve wanted to read, movies you wanted to watch, sights you’ve wanted to see.

Write down what you actually do

What is your schedule regularly like? Do one for your work day and your day off. You’ll probably see most of your life isn’t spent doing what you enjoy. This is a bummer and I won’t stand for it. Everyone needs to be productive and make money and all that, but spending time doing things you love is just as important as doing things you have to do.

Cut what you don’t need to do

Do you need to drink with your boyfriend and his buddies on your day off? No, you don’t actually. That’s a choice you’re making. Another example, a smaller one, is that my boyfriend is watching South Park right now. Do I love chilling out on the couch watching South Park? Hell yes. But is it as rewarding as writing? Nope. You know what you enjoy doing, you wrote it all down, so don’t be afraid to get cut some things that aren’t as important to make time for things that are.

Replace it with what you want to do

Remember how you like relaxing and going to the movies? Yep. Do that instead of being your boyfriend’s drinking buddy. Also take the hobbies you listed in the first step and try to make room in your schedule for at least one of them regularly. Get into some crafts, hone your skills, meditate, whatever! Just make sure it’s a productive hobby that makes you feel good about yourself. I would also recommend you journal and just keep track of what’s making you feel good, what’s still annoying you in your life and what you are grateful for.

The bottom line is the things you love doing are the things that make you you! Make time for those things because if you don’t, no one else will.

Obviously, I’m being very one track-minded here with these tips. Your relationship probably needs more work and maybe some real analyzing from you. I would try to implement your boundaries and spend more time with yourself, then reevaluate how you feel about your relationship. Here’s a good thing to remember: healthy relationships are easy. If you are forcing and fighting to keep this thing alive, it’s probably not worth it.

After spending more time apart, I hope things get better between you guys. If they do, try to work on making time you spend together more special. Right now you two are forced to be together all the time and it has become more of a chore than it is fun. Plan date nights, go on a weekend trip, start a hobby together. You want your time with your significant other to enhance the relationship, not hurt it.

Also, don’t worry. You’re 20. No matter what you’re going to learn from this and I hope that lesson is that you need to spend time loving yourself in a relationship too. Not tending to yourself is such a disservice. This is your life so please give yourself the time to flourish.

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  1. I loved reading this. Sometimes, no matter how happy we are in relationships, it is important to get back to basics and remember these things – most important not to forget about our likes and interests.

    PS – I often print your advice and posts! It is really motivational and positive, especially for young women!