Establishing Boundaries in Your Relationship

Our lives are consumed with the kids, work, that board meeting, that school function, laundry, bills, our calendars, twitter and facebook accounts and oh yeah…lovin those we care about. Whew!


How do we get it all done? What task do we attack first and for how long? Ramifications? Benefits?

As we all work towards the eradication of our “To-Do” lists it becomes increasingly obvious that what we need are appropriate boundaries.


The irony is that the workplace, once famous for clockin-in and out, has become void of cubes, time sheets, and manners (oops its 10 p.m. and I just got another email). Our homes on the other hand are becoming flooded with boundaries due to this scope-creep by corporate America.


Suddenly an email from Suzy becomes that much more important then reading to my kids or snuggling with my spouse. I mean grandpa always said the early bird gets the worm…right? Well I am not sure about you, but I am of the belief that the $#$$%&^ worm is MANIC!


It just doesn’t stop and the ones who suffer are those most dear to us. This point has been driven home for the last month on the NBC drama “Parenthood.” One of the female leads is a successful attorney that just can’t put the phone down or squeeze enough time to play or even think of relating with her husband. It makes me feel bad for females and moms in general. Used to they couldn’t get a break because they were only the homemaker…now they can’t get a break because they are too successful in the corporate world.

Hey You! Put Down the Cell Phone

And, what happens to men and women when they are subjected to this environment? Well…it becomes increasingly difficult to establish healthy and respectful boundaries at home. How do I share that I don’t want to be intimate right now? How do I tell my child that when I get home from work I need 30 minutes to unwind and then we can play/talk? Moms and dads…husbands and wives…begin to plan on the fly.

We become very reactionary looking like a society of ADHD droids who verge on mania. This may delight the pharmaceutical companies and advertising agencies, but it does nothing for long-term individual and family health.

This is precisely why the American Couple and Family have to work together to solve the riddle. The following thoughts can be used as a guide post for daily inclusion…remember thinking outside of yourself can both model and heal those around you and primarily yourself…


The following pertain to YOU and your daily practices that either hinder or help those you love:

  • What rules do you have for social media usage after work?
  • Have you communicated to your colleagues your cut-off point for email/phone responses?
  • Have you communicated to your family when you can/cannot be reached during work hours?
  • Have you taken it upon yourself to know the goings-on of your spouse daily? (have you taken the time to know whether or not they have an important meeting etc.?)
  • Do you make a conscious effort to touch-in during the day with your spouse/children when appropriate?
  • Do you provide your spouse with enough information about your work and needs so to give them a chance to respond/assist appropriately?
  • When was the last time you made a public proclamation that you were in a “no work zone” and that your family/spouse were the focus at that moment?
  • Do you often find that you assume you know the boundaries of others and they of you? Kids included…


For the rest of Establishing Boundaries in Your Relationship


Dr. Rod

Rod Berger, PsyD

The Normal Male

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