The love is there, the chemistry clicks, and the passion thrives, but what about creating a healthy structure, essential for a successful relationship? The attraction and the pleasure that draws two people together, combined with the hidden fear of falling into dangerous “boundryless” behaviours that lurk beneath the surface can create a superficial excitement between two people that can lead them down the dangerous path of conflict and splitting up.

What are boundaryless behaviours? Some of the most obvious are:

  1. Addictions: substance abuse, compulsive spending, playing around outside the relationship.

  2. Falling into boundaryless spaces such as endless arguing and conflict, hysterical overreactions, and violence.

  3. Dysfunctional (family of origin) roles such as the rescuer, the victim, the blamer, the perpetrator.

Anyone who grew up in a dysfunctional family will struggle with setting healthy boundaries. Inasmuch as boundaryless behaviours are often cunning, baffling and powerful, they are hard to see and understand and need a therapeutic process for resolution. To be successful, a courageous commitment to get to the origins of the behaviours, seeing clearly how they operate in your lives, working out the fears and taking a lot of little baby steps towards changing how you relate to each other particularly in the area of communications: choice of words, use of phrases, listening to the other carefully and watching your own reactions to see what pushes your hot buttons. Above all by setting healthy boundaries for oneself by learning to say enough here, stop there, wait and listen and be patient. Dysfunctional families and relationships operate at the extremes of human behaviour where black and white thinking and all or nothing behaviour prevail. The purpose of the therapeutic process is to reduce and limit those extremes and to learn how to live in the healthy gray areas of life. A couple can learn how to create a functional and creative structure around those gray areas and avoid falling into the extremes of the boundaryless pit. In bringing the behaviour and thinking into the middle ground, a safe and secure environment will be created so that love and intimacy can thrive and deepen.