My New Take on Boundary Agreements

17 Mar

I will probably get some push back on my opinion tonight, but I would like to tell you what my current thoughts are on boundary agreements.

If you were an original blog reader, you know that I had a boundary agreement with my soon to be ex husband. I understand the point and purpose of one, in theory and in practice. Hell, our boundary agreement even helped me to stand firm in separating from him when I discovered another big lie.

However, at this point I would never, ever accept a relationship with someone I couldn’t trust enough to use his or her own good judgment (or to have good judgement in the first place). Period. I’ve reached a point where I don’t want to be with someone who has to have a piece of paper full of self-explanatory things that they should give the person they’re in a relationship with in order to be a decent partner. Someone who needs that to guide what is right and wrong is not a person I ever want to be attached to.

In fact, if I ever feel the need for a boundary agreement in the future I will RUN in the other direction. On that same note, I would tell anyone considering the need for such a document in their own relationship to get the hell out. NOW!!! Do not pass Go, do not collect $200. Just save yourself the future pain and heartache that is sure to come.

I realize that is probably offensive to some. I apologize. It’s just how I see things now. It’s also why I don’t post as much anymore. I think my input is a little too harsh. At the very least it comes from a much different place than those of you still hoping to reconcile with someone so untrustworthy that they need something in writing that details (very specifically) what is unacceptable to do to someone you supposedly love.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe communication is important. I think when any relationship starts to progress toward something serious there should be an open discussion about values and expectations and the importance of honesty, fidelity, respect, and all of the other critical aspects of a relationship that need to be present in order for it to succeed. However, if you do not trust your partner’s words, actions or morals enough to believe they can and will follow through on the supposed “shared values” you have unless they are written on a checklist somewhere with the accuracy and precision of a legal document, then they are not SHARED values at all. In my humble opinion, that itself dooms the relationship.

Compatibility extends to more than just the bedroom. Relationships that go the distance have one key thing in common – the people in them share things in common. Not necessarily the same religion or the same background or the same politics. No. Although those things don’t hurt, it is really shared VALUES that make the difference. If we both value respect highly and equally then we can choose to respect religious or political differences, for instance. Likewise, if only one of us places a value on respect (or values something else, like religion, more highly) then those differences will likely cause strife.

So what do I think boundary agreements are good for? A long laugh. Okay, that’s not the serious answer, and it’s also not fair. I think boundary agreements can help the injured partner feel heard and feel safer. You notice I said “feel.” That’s because they don’t actually guarantee a damn thing. Except maybe that when you see the person who claimed to love you cross a clearly drawn and agreed to line you can finally see what everyone else already could – what they’re doing to you is wrong.

The truth of the matter is that a spouse who crossed one of those lines knew what they were doing. They knew what was right and what wasn’t. They knew what they did wasn’t acceptable. Maybe they have justifications or rationalizations that made it easier for them to swallow, or maybe they’re narcissistic and delusional. Either way, writing it down on a piece of paper won’t change anything. They will choose to do better, get help, and fix things or they will continue making excuses to themselves and you and others. A boundary agreement won’t change that.

For those of you who have a boundary agreement and believe in them, best of luck. I really hope it works out. It is just another of the many tools available to people going through this difficult journey. Like I said at the beginning of this post, I understand. I just no longer agree. Personally, I would rather make an agreement with myself that I deserve more.

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This is me this weekend, enjoying my agreement with myself that I’m worth it. And sporting my new pink cat eye glasses. 🙂

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56 Responses to “My New Take on Boundary Agreements”

  1. emotionaltornado April 21, 2013 at 11:09 pm #

    I can understand your viewpoint of wanting nothing to do with a person who needs the rules spelled out for them. I also can see the value of fighting it out, trying everything you can to be sure they is nothing worth salvaging from that relationship. It has to make it easier to walk away knowing that you did what you could and save you from regrets or second thoughts.

    • beautifulmess7 April 22, 2013 at 6:21 am #

      Yes, that is true. One of the gifts here is that I know I did everything I could and then some. There are days I feel stupid for that, but in truth it does erase any second thoughts.

  2. Kristen March 22, 2013 at 3:01 am #

    So I’ve been stalking your site for a couple days as I’m finally fed up with the lack of progress/continued break of trust in my own marriage to a sex addict. I both agree and disagree with this post. On the one hand, I totally understand where you’re coming from. Hindsight is 20/20. If I knew what I knew now going into this marriage. Hell, even our friendship before the marriage, I would have RUN LIKE THE WIND in the opposite direction. However, I am in this marriage and I’m not quite ready to give up on it yet. I’m coming to the realization in my own recovery that I HAVEN’T been focusing on my own recovery and have actually been hindering recovery for both of us. That’s no excuse for him not to be making more of an effort, but I am finally able to start owning my own part in it as well. (It’s such an odd paradox.)

    Anyways, I am in thinking/outlining/list making stages of creating my own BA. Whether or not this helps my marriage at all is almost beside the point. Obviously, I hope it helps. I hope it’s the kick in the pants he needs. But when it comes down to it, this isn’t really about him. Yes, he brought me to this point. But, this is for ME. This is me finally standing up for myself and saying enough is enough. This is me recognizing and owning what I need for my own emotional, physical, financial and psychological well being. This is me saying that I won’t put up with any more BS or “slipups.” Whether that means with my current addict husband or someone else down the road it doesn’t matter. I view this as a boundary agreement with myself. I’m a people pleaser. I’ve never been good at setting boundaries. Having something concrete on paper will make it a tad easier to follow through.

    Another reason I think they have potential to help in the case of sex addicts is that I’ve read numerous times in my research (I would cite sources, but I’m way too exhausted to find them at this point) is that a sex addict stops “growing up” once the addiction starts. Many (most?) times this begins in childhood. In my husband’s case, it was age 11 (or 9? I forget). Yes, adults should not need value agreements that are common sense for most people. But I’m not dealing with an adult. You damn well better believe that a 9 or 11 year old is going to need clear boundaries with consequences written out for them. Just another thing to add to the list of “if I had known what I know now….”

    Sorry this became so long. I’m processing so much right now and it helps to write it out. Heh. I also wasn’t trying to argue AGAINST your feelings or opinions. I think every situation is unique and different. Everyone needs something different. I actually really love that you gave a different perspective on the BA. In all the reading I’ve it sometimes feels like they tout them as miracle cures, when I know that’s not accurate at ALL. Thank you for your blog and all the sharing you have done. It looks like you’re doing well at taking care of yourself. I wish you every happiness and success in the future. 🙂

    • beautifulmess7 March 22, 2013 at 6:17 am #

      Thank you for your perspective. They are good for exactly what you just listed.

    • beautifulmess7 March 22, 2013 at 9:54 am #

      I wanted to reply in more depth to your very thoughtful comment. It is something that I touched on slightly in my post, but not enough. The Boundary Agreement *CAN *help you stand more firm in what you deserve. It can feel good to stand up for yourself and own the treatment that you deserve to get. Like I said, it helped me to really keep *myself*accountable not to let him stomp all over my feelings and boundaries. As a fellow people-pleaser, I understand the desire to make excuses for someone else’s behavior that hurts you, putting your own feelings aside. A BA can help you stay true to yourself.

      Too often I think people use them as a tool of control, or as a means to falsely feel safe. They somehow think that because their partner “agreed” to these boundaries he or she will also abide by them. However, this is delusional thinking (at least in my mind) because you ALREADY had an agreement – a binding, legal one at that – marriage. If that meant nothing, then why should some arbitrary list? Because they are afraid to lose you, I suppose. The BA uses fear as a tool. At least many of them do in practice.

      I do understand where you are coming from, though. I think I’m coming from a place now of being more assured in what I deserve and what I do not deserve. I now feel sad for the woman I was who felt the need to list out the things that she deserves from a partner. I wish I could tell that woman that any person she needs to detail step-by-step, item-by-item, what it means to be faithful is not a person who can give her what she needs from a relationship. Maybe that woman needed to do that in order to find her own strength and move on from the toxic place she was in. That’s possible. The BA may have opened my eyes to all of the ways he was trouncing on my feelings, putting me last, and acting like a self-indulgent toddler throwing a temper tantrum when he doesn’t get to have chocolate cake for dinner.

      I also know that you have to get to the point where *YOU *stand up for what you deserve. I wasn’t ready to give up and leave for a while. One reason is because I termed it “giving up,” which has such a negative connotation, instead of standing up for myself. I thought of it as a failure, of a marriage, of my vows to love him no matter what, instead of as great personal growth and keeping a promise to myself that *I* didn’t have to accept HIM breaking his vows to me. It took me a while to understand that he couldn’t be the person I *HOPED *he could be. It took me a while to realize that I most assuredly do *NOT* deserve (or have any desire) to be in a relationship with a child. Physically I wouldn’t want to be with an 11-year-old, and I certainly don’t want to be with someone who is mentally 11, either. I need an equal partner: a responsible adult, someone who treats me with respect, and someone who will give me the love and devotion that I deserve, without needing a detailed list of what remaining faithful means.

      • Kristen March 22, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

        Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply. I totally understand what you’re saying. I also agree with what you’re saying for your situation. I’m just not in the same place right now. In the next few weeks we’ll probably be moving forward with a controlled separation so we can both focus on our own healing more fully. During that time I will also be evaluating whether or not he is willing (or capable?) of even respecting my boundaries. If not, well, that will be that.

        Probably the biggest reason I haven’t just thrown in the towel yet is in the last week I’ve really seen how my own enabling/co-dependency/lack of boundaries has hindered both of us. And not in a “oh, it’s all my fault” sort of way. No. ALL of the acting out/lies/betrayal is most definitely his fault. His choice. But I can definitely see how I’ve contributed to the dysfunction that is rampant in our marriage. And I don’t think this would be limited to just a relationship with a sex addict. If I end this marriage and land in another relationship in the future I’m just going to repeat my patterns unless I learn to change them. So I guess this is my test run. And I’m trying to keep it 100% about me. SO not easy. The things he does affects me. Hence, my boundaries and hopefully trying to stay detached and NOT controlling. I’m taking quite a bit of time with my boundaries and I will be running them through my therapist before sharing them. Because I really want to make sure they are boundaries designed to protect me and make me feel safe and NOT about controlling the addict. And you’re totally right. This is really hard to do. It’s really easy to think that these will “fix” the problems because my husband “agrees” to it. My therapist keeps encouraging me to continue focusing on myself. To not worry about what my husband does. To make the choice to heal whether or not he does. It’s his choice to respect the boundaries or not. I cannot force him with a piece or paper or any words I might say to him. I’m coming to the place where I don’t want to force him anymore. A marriage that requires one person to “force” another to love them in the right way is not a marriage I want to be in.

        So here’s to one more day living in hope. Not necessarily hope that the marriage will be saved. But hope for me. That I can be a whole person.

        • beautifulmess7 March 22, 2013 at 7:22 pm #

          That is such a healthy and wonderful perspective. It’s where I eventually landed, too. Our controlled separation showed me that he was not willing (able?) to be the person I needed. Maybe your husband will be able to. Either way, moving forward with your OWN healing and growth will need to happen regardless. I’m here hoping with you! 🙂

        • myworldshattered March 20, 2016 at 11:37 am #

          I’ve come across this post and read through your exchanges – I was wondering if Kristen you are still around? I would love to hear where you got to over the past three years. I am somewhere you were three years ago and it is so hard to find examples of progress (in any direction). If you are around, I’d love to hear how your story unfolded if you are willing to share. Thank you

  3. phoenixrisingk March 21, 2013 at 8:03 pm #

    I shared this with my WH last night, and it made quite an impact. Although I had mentioned making a boundary agreement, my contention was that WE SHOULDN’T HAVE TO. We are adults and know what will upset each other. Right after I discovered his affair, we discussed that we should pretend that the other was sitting next to us at the computer, and if there was any question, to stop and ask before continuing. Obviously, this didn’t work. My feeling is that if he can’t figure it out on his own, I’m better off without him.

    • beautifulmess7 March 21, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

      I have a tendency to agree. He knew he wasn’t doing the right thing. There’s no way he can claim otherwise.

  4. Elsie March 20, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

    I hope you weren’t thinking you would get any type of negative pushback from me. I completely respect your opinion along with everybody else’s regarding the use of a BA. It’s what works for me in my own recovery and he’s been in his recovery long enough, it’s not something I think about very often. I am so happy to hear you are doing well and you look fantastic!!

  5. scabs March 20, 2013 at 12:57 am #

    this is what has always bothered me about boundaries…We are adults. if there is mutual respect in any relationship why would I need to spell out how I expect to be treated. and in thecase of a marriage…aren’t those boundaries already set? that has always bothered me about setting boundaries. lame

    • scabs March 20, 2013 at 12:57 am #

      ps you look happy! that makes me happy for u and your new life

    • beautifulmess7 March 20, 2013 at 11:20 am #

      Absolutely true. Lame. Haha.

      • shawnthewife March 23, 2013 at 8:19 pm #

        I don’t think I’ve ever disagreed with either of you before.
        You know there’s a BUT coming, right??

        BUT…I gotta disagree about boundaries being lame. I know you didn’t mean to sound flip about it, BUT…we all know you can’t toss a big-ass wide, old blanket over every situation and lots of folks read here that don’t comment, so I’m gonna try and share another perspective for those on my side of the fence.
        I can’t imagine not having set boundaries with my FWH for many reasons. First, writing down what I needed to feel safe gave me back a sense of direction. It was never about controlling my FWH. What a joke that would be, lame even. It was about communication and clarification. I was floundering. I didn’t know what I needed. Putting it down for posterity felt like finding a road map back to happy.
        Second, once I wrote it all down, I was able to communicate so much better with my FWH. He knew exactly what I expected. Sure, most of it was common sense, but since when did we expect common sense to be the equivalent of common knowledge?
        He was free to offer his thoughts on what would be doable. What he thought was reasonable. He signed on for the whole shebang.
        Thank God!
        And last, but not least, the whole agreement wasn’t about threats…do this or else. It wasn’t about any kind of safety net, even though I did feel safer after the wonderful conversation we had about it. It wasn’t about limitations because FWH is a big boy and his gonna make all his own choices regardless of my little piece of paper. A few well chosen rules on our relationship sure won’t guarantee a damn thing. We needed an engine to start US again.
        Our boundary agreement was the tool that finally had us working together, as a team, the way it needs to be to get past all the bullshit that is adultery.
        I get that it isn’t for everybody, but it sure worked for me.
        Just sayin’…..Hugs, Ladies.

        • shawnthewife March 23, 2013 at 8:21 pm #

          AND…I agree…you do look really happy, Mess! You are an inspiration. All the best.

          • beautifulmess7 March 23, 2013 at 8:23 pm #

            Awww… thanks! 🙂 I always appreciate other opinions, and I welcome yours, as always.

  6. Lee Kaplanian March 19, 2013 at 2:28 pm #

    It is a truly new age for women. We no longer are dependent on a husband to support us, we are much freer to go and do what our hearts calls us to. Now I am looking at it from a perspective of a woman married for 44 years – funny how I am finally growing up and taking back my power. For so long I didn’t think I had any power. Maybe it is because I grew up in the era of not many choices of careers for women, the objective of college was to get your MRS degree. Now it’s boundary agreements, pre-nups, post-nups – I’ve definitely been out of circulation. I like your perspective on boundary agreements and knowing what to look for as well as look out for when getting to know someone. Not sure I would marry again if something happened to my husband, not sure I want to housetrain another one. We all have a right to our opinion and in looking at the comments, many agree with you. It’s time we women looked within ourselves for the answers. I’m not sure I have made any sense, but keep writing!

    • beautifulmess7 March 19, 2013 at 2:31 pm #

      Thank you! I think you’ve made plenary of sense. 🙂

  7. FlacaMama March 19, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

    very interesting topic. in my situation my CS is a lawyer and one of the things he did for me was craft a post-nup. much like a pre-nup however filed after marriage it (hopefully) serves to protect me going forward (the house, alimony, child support… pretty much all the $ assets) because i have made a significant investment in HIM (i supported him through in law school and after) and because when his whore told me she was pregnant (it was a lie but hello it was a possibility) there was no fg way that my hard earned money was going to him or his slut for their new ‘family.’

    i know it seems insecure and controlling but when he had his affair he went batshit crazy hiding not just the sex but money in a way that really astounded and hurt me. i never even changed the passwords on our bank account – call me naive – because i maintained that i would not let his behavior change me & i was not going to be a evil as he was to me. i guess with the post-nup i just wanted a tool that countered his own arsenal of deceitful tactics that killed my trust of him and our family’s financial security. i never realized how hurtful the manipulation of resources and assets could be used to hurt a spouse until i went through this.

    anyway, we worked out an agreement that included how much/how long i would get child support, what i would get in alimony (oh hell yeah he’s gonna pay me back for my investment), the house (yep, mine too) and i gotta say its helped me a lot. i would even get a cash settlement to start my cheater free life if it were to happen again!! its really sad that i need such a contract to feel safer but it does. i paid an attorney to review it and file it just to be sure my CS didnt add any tricks but so far so good. i don’t know… i always thought ‘if you need a pre-nup to get married then you shouldn’t get married’ but now on this journey nothing seems perfectly logical or correct anymore. i just do what i can to keep going…

    i too had seen boundary agreements and pretty much thought the same thing. ‘if i have to spell out what is wrong with infidelity (extramarital sex, secret emails, secret meetings) then there is NO hope for our marriage!’ i thought that just means we have bigger problems like that we aren’t even on the same planet much less the same sidewalk. but that being said, i am not married (i dont think) to a sex or drug addict, and perhaps looking at the individual through that lens, perhaps in some marriages they are warranted and very useful.

    big hugs all around… its a rainy day here in Southern California… sorry for venting and blabbering… everyone’s posts are very insightful and helpful.

    • beautifulmess7 March 19, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

      I can see the value in a post-nup for sure. And it is legal and has actual enforceable implications down the road. I would absolutely have one of those in place to protect me if there were kids or substantial assets in play after an infidelity has been discovered if I was considering staying.

      A pre-nup is also another thing worth considering, I think. Especially in a second marriage where we would each be bringing assets and debts into the marriage, I don’t see that as a bad thing at all. Again, it is a legal contingency plan. Smart.

      To me a boundary agreement us fluff. There are no legal implications. It is not as much about if/then (although some include consequences). Instead, it is a list of rules that should be common sense. It tries to control values and actions while having no actual weight. To me, its just a recipe for resentment and a false sense of security because it actually accomplishes nothing. Again, that is just my opinion, though.

      I appreciate you bringing another aspect into this discussion. Very interesting to think about.

  8. Luvlikeuvnvbnhurt March 18, 2013 at 12:59 pm #

    I have always said that my “boundaries” were my vows and common sense. I refused to be Ricks mother and give him a list of things not to do and what would happen if he did, that just sounds crazy to me and it always has. I can’t control him..so a piece of paper won’t either! I however can control myself and have it set in my mind of a plan IF I ever had to deal with it again. I whole heartedly agree with you.

    • beautifulmess7 March 18, 2013 at 1:02 pm #

      Yep. Very well stated. Vows and common sense. That’s all anyone should need.

  9. exercisegrace March 18, 2013 at 11:57 am #

    I tend to agree with a lot of this. Even an extremely long, written agreement would not have protected us from his affair. He chose to do what he did, when he did, and it was areas largely within himself that caused it. So no document written by “us” would have overridden “his” selfishness.

    But one area I think we failed in was communication, and how we each defined certain things. If I ever were to have another relationship, there ARE certain things I would want to discuss. Flirting, friends of the opposite sex, transparency with social media/phones etc, No big list, just a conversation to see if we are “compatible” and on the same page. I have recognized some of my own behavior that needed to be changed post-affair. It has given me a higher awareness that not everyone has unless you have walked the minefield of infidelity. My potential partner would share things ideas or he would likely not be dateable for me!

    • beautifulmess7 March 18, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

      I agree wholeheartedly!!! Those things definitely need to be discussed as soon as things start to become serious (and even sooner if possible). If I find that my values don’t match the person I’m interested in, I’ll be moving on.

      What I will NOT do is write them down in an “agreement” that tries to force us to see things the same way. Like you said, if my potential partner doesn’t share my same values and ideas on the things that are important to me, then they will not be dateable for me. 🙂 I like the way you put that.

  10. Our Journey After His Affair March 18, 2013 at 9:25 am #

    I completely agree…when you and Mrs. Baker were presenting yours, my first reaction was that I thought it was very “controlling” of the situation and the events that may come, which can’t be done. It seemed very motherly.

    If you have to mother your spouse, RUN. As you said, you shouldn’t have to write down for them things that should be common sense: “No flirting.” Well yeah.

    My biggest thing that I have pushed for from Mike was to make sure to tell me when something I do bothers him; to talk more. Communication is one of the biggest areas in a relationship that should never go unattended. If you don’t feel like you can talk to your spouse and be heard and understood, then what the fuck do you have?!?

    Well, the answer would be a financially supportive fuck buddy.

    I shouldn’t have to tell Mike to not flirt or to not be alone with his female co-workers or to put his foot down with them if they ever ask him to do something sexual with them. I did once (the last one) and it made me feel awful because I felt like I was mothering him and it just made me feel icky. And I told him this, too. We’ve had talks about how he felt like I mothered him with my nagging and telling him what to do before and that was one of the things that pushed him away.

    If you don’t have respect and communication in a relationship – if you have to spell it out for them – then you need to walk away. No grown person who wants a happy, healthy life would be without those things.

    • beautifulmess7 March 18, 2013 at 11:34 am #

      I know you did. I could see it a little bit even then. It wasn’t about mothering him so much as it was about hoping to find common values. The thing I now realize is that you can’t FORCE someone to value things that they don’t. You can say what you value, put it out there what is important and vital to you, but if they don’t share those things it won’t work.

      Someone can’t just “agree” to change their values and morals for you. Either they have them, or they don’t. At least that’s what I’m starting to believe. And there is someone out there with matched values for everyone. I know from the blog world that people exist whose values allow for open marriages, swinging, unlimited pornography use, etc. I’m not here to say they’re wrong or make them see things my way. I couldn’t even if I wanted to.

      If nothing else, that’s what this experience has taught me – the value of values. 🙂

      I know that communication, honesty and respect will be at the very top of my list. I won’t compromise those things anymore. And I certainly will never again think that some “agreement” on a piece of paper can make an actual difference in the things that someone holds dear. If they don’t know what’s not OK, then they’re not someone I want to be involved with anyway.

      • Our Journey After His Affair March 18, 2013 at 11:53 am #

        Exactly!! Well said.

        • beautifulmess7 March 18, 2013 at 12:07 pm #

          Thanks!

          I understand addiction now more than I ever wanted to. I also understand that it is not something I want to be part of my life ever again. Addicted people aren’t necessarily bad people, but they are people that can’t respect my personal values and boundaries.

          • Our Journey After His Affair March 18, 2013 at 9:20 pm #

            Well, that isn’t true. If they are “recovered” they can. I’m an addict with 10 years clean and I have very high morals and values. I always have, I just let drugs take control of my life. Nothing mattered except feeling good. I didn’t care who I hurt along the way…it was all about me getting what I needed to escape.

            That was temporary because I chose not to be in that life after a certain point. It may have been because I had morals and values before I started that made me snap the fuck out of it.

            People who are “sick” going into the depths of an addiction have a much harder time bringing themselves out of it. Sometimes they never really care to stop or ever really think their problems are that serious. I think that’s what Mr. Mess was. Lackadaisical. Indifferent.

            • beautifulmess7 March 18, 2013 at 9:39 pm #

              That was a bad choice if words on my part. Active addicts is what I meant. Although I honestly would still be very hesitant to get involved romantically with even a recovering/recovered addict (they do say you’re never really cured, right?). Truthfully, that bothers me a bit. I don’t like to think of myself as judgmental. I hate painting groups of people with a broad stroke based on my experiences.

              With that being said, I have been married to an addict and I have close family members that are addicts. That includes my grandma, who I love very much and has been sober over 10 years. Still, I wouldn’t want to be married to her (you know what I mean, hopefully).

              I do believe my ex has narcissistic/ sociopathic tendencies. However I’m not sure how much of that was his addiction and how much was his true personality. I think active addicts have many of those same traits. They overlap – the selfishness, the disregard for others, the self importance, the lying, the risky behavior, the lack of empathy for those whose lives they are destroying with their actions…

              I wonder if the narcissism made him an addict or the addiction makes him a narcissist. I guess it doesn’t matter. That’s a question for someone else to research (and they probably already have).

              And you are definitely right in your assertions about him. I also think your strong values helped you find the strength to pull out of your addiction, get sober and stay that way. He doesn’t have that.

              • Our Journey After His Affair March 19, 2013 at 9:17 am #

                Right. I agree with you. Being with an addict, even recovered, is tough. But, I think that your radar has been fine-tuned and you can detect when people are going to have negative traits that will lead to serious personality and behavior issues. I think you now have an excellent sense of judgement because of this. Judging isn’t wrong…we all do it. Christians are the ones who get their panties ruffled about it and act like it’s so bad. We need to be able to judge so that we know what we are getting ourselves into, especially if we are making a huge commitment like marriage.

                Honestly, I wouldn’t want to be married to me because I am controlling and nit-picky. And that falls under me being selfish because I want things to go my way because it makes me feel better. I can’t remember being like this prior to using. I think I may have become this way since because I want my life to be orderly so that I am not adding additional problems in my life – which is why I started using in the first place.

                Haha!! It is NOT working! All I do with my nagging is make myself and others miserable. I really have improved on that though.

                But anyways…I think you know what kind of person you want to spend your life with. Weeding out anyone who might be the slightest bit of an issue is a great way of reassuring yourself that you know exactly what you will and will not tolerate. And it lets others know that your standards are up there.

                • beautifulmess7 March 19, 2013 at 11:23 pm #

                  Well, technically I am a judger. Its part of my Myers Briggs type (ISTJ). I know it is not necessarily a bad thing, although it certainly has taken on a negative connotation. I just don’t like to stereotype and fit people into a little box. Maybe a more accurate word for what I want to avoid is over-simplifying or generalizing or type-casting.

                  But I digress… I know what you mean. Thanks for once again challenging my thinking. I truly enjoy it and relish the opportunity to benefit from your nit-picking. 🙂 Hugs!

      • pandaqueen1001 March 18, 2013 at 12:40 pm #

        The value of values… you put it perfectly. Shared values that don’t have to be spelled out or explained. It’s so simple, in the end. (And yes, there is someone for everyone, no judgements. Trying to get to a place where I can practice and appreciate that… though it still might be too soon yet)

  11. Samantha Baker March 18, 2013 at 7:29 am #

    You know…damn this is thought-provoking.

    If I were to ever be single and looking towards a new relationship I would run the other way if there was anything that needed any type of boundary agreement. I fully agree with that.

    But since I’m IN a relationship that has used an agreement…which has been stomped on repeatedly until recently (as in the past couple months)…things that SHOULD be common sense, morals and values…

    Damn…thought provoking for sure.

    • beautifulmess7 March 18, 2013 at 7:31 am #

      Yeah… I thought of you before hitting publish.

      • Samantha Baker March 18, 2013 at 7:34 am #

        Afraid I might be offended? Not at all. I can appreciate differing opinions. Especially when they make me really think.

        • beautifulmess7 March 18, 2013 at 7:39 am #

          No, I just know you really seem to believe in your boundary agreement. I hate to come off as judgmental or like I know best. I just saw on the forum people recommending that someone put a BA in place when she was thinking of just being done… and all I could think was RUN!!! I haven’t felt that strongly about something in a while, so I thought I would write about it.

          • Samantha Baker March 18, 2013 at 7:41 am #

            I think I’ve felt strongly about it because it’s what all the books told me to do, LOL. It’s a widely used tool. I guess I never thought of it in a differing light. And like yousaid, it made me feel safe. Falsly, but safe at the time.

            • beautifulmess7 March 18, 2013 at 7:50 am #

              And that’s how I felt putting it in place. In hindsight, I think it gave me something to “do.” It made me feel like I had some order in a world that wasn’t making sense. Things were so twisted up living with him that it allowed me to see, in black and white, the things I should be getting in a relationship.

              Like I said in my post, it also gave me the resolve to leave. I should have left many, many times over… any healthy person would have. But his lies and excuses and bullshit had really done a number on me. Having that agreement made me feel justified in kicking him out. I would have been without it, though.

              Now I wish I had just been strong enough and secure enough to know that I didn’t deserve someone who would need an exhaustive list of acceptable and unacceptable behavior to make me feel safe.

              • Samantha Baker March 18, 2013 at 8:06 am #

                Yes, I felt the same. It gave me something to do when I felt my life was spiraling out of control. I had nothing to hang on to. Nothing to grasp when the life vest was just out of reach. And I felt like that maybe was helping me get a tiny fraction of control back in my life. But the reality is, it didn’t of course. I’ve got to think about this more.

                • beautifulmess7 March 18, 2013 at 8:21 am #

                  Yeah… control. That’s a word I was trying to avoid, but it is the illusion it creates. I tend to think that’s a dangerous thing.

  12. Stacia March 18, 2013 at 7:02 am #

    Love this post and I’m so glad you no longer have to deal with agreements. When I was involved with a porn addict, who lied and betrayed my trust continuously, and not just with porn, but with emotional “cheating” with others as well….my life would’ve been a frikin’ mess if I would’ve continued to be in that. Him leaving and not coming back was the best thing to happen for ME. I will NEVER get involved with someone like this again. EVER.

    (((hugs))) to you as you move forward with your new start!!!

    • beautifulmess7 March 18, 2013 at 7:35 am #

      I second that motion!!! So glad we’re both out of those situations.

  13. demuzzled March 17, 2013 at 11:48 pm #

    I don’t think your views are harsh at all..they are indeed your thoughts and feelings so express on!!! I wonder sometimes if that communication piece can be developed after years..or is it like a habit..hard to break or form….hmmmm

    • beautifulmess7 March 17, 2013 at 11:53 pm #

      I think it depends on the situation. However I truly believe that the communication bridge needs to be crossed early and crossed often. Once dishonesty and secrets become a habit they are much harder to break than finding a new, honest and open partner is. At least that’s my experience.

  14. Paula March 17, 2013 at 11:24 pm #

    And an agreement like this can stifle the person who didn’t break it from reacting naturally and emotionally to the person who did break it for fear of also being accused of breaking the agreement. This kind of thing is for the birds!!! I agree. It only ends up hurting the trustworthy person in the relationship. Do people really think a piece of paper is going to be a deterant from hurting someone?

    • beautifulmess7 March 17, 2013 at 11:49 pm #

      The short answer is yes. Some people really believe in them. I’m not one of them anymore. If our wedding vows in front of everyone you care about weren’t enough then neither will that just because we write it out and both “agree.”

      • myworldshattered March 20, 2016 at 10:42 am #

        Wow, this is amazing. I just needed to stumble upon this today – you are so right about this. “If our wedding vows in front of everyone you care about weren’t enough then neither will that just because we write it out and both “agree.” ” Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this up. Not harsh at all.

  15. rgonaut March 17, 2013 at 11:03 pm #

    I like this. If the relationship is healthy no boundary agreement is necessary.

    • beautifulmess7 March 17, 2013 at 11:11 pm #

      So, so true. And if it’s unhealthy that piece of paper won’t be enough to fix it.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Learning Not to Steal Other People’s Problems | Spirit Healer - March 18, 2013

    […] My New Take on Boundary Agreements (beingabeautifulmess.wordpress.com) […]

  2. Just Letting Go | Repairing Shattered Pieces - March 18, 2013

    […] then when I read BeautifulMess’ blog this morning, I really got to thinking.  I mean really thinking.  I commented back and forth with […]

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