Here’s How Boundaries Make Your Relationship Stronger

social boundaries

Psychology thought experiment: What’s stronger? An empty egg carton, or an empty cereal box? Which holds up better to pressure, like stacking weight?

If you answered “egg carton,” you’re correct! But what do kitchen recyclables have to do with relationships, and why would a psychologist in Littleton ask such a weird question? Keep reading to find out how boundaries make your relationships stronger!

Strong Relationships During Calm

If you lay the empty boxes next to each other, they’ll look about the same height. Without any pressure, the cereal box will hold its shape, and nobody looking from the outside will know any difference. However, you know that the egg carton is stronger because it has all those little egg-shaped compartments inside—with strong, sturdy boundaries in between each one. If the wind blows or the another box is placed on top, the egg carton will still hold it shape, but the cereal box will start to flop. This is a great way to think about your boundaries with others, because it works the same way! A relationship with strong, sturdy boundaries prevents enmeshment and resentment, problems that couple’s therapists in Littleton tackle regularly. Putting a little distance between the two “sides” of your relationship helps it to maintain its integrity without letting the sides get too close.

Build Your Relationship Stronger During Stress

As more weight gets put on the cereal box and the egg carton, the winner is clear—the cereal box has no chance! Similarly, if you let your relationships grow bigger and bigger without building strong boundaries in between, those relationships are far more likely to crumble under pressure. This is especially true for setting boundaries during the holidays! So how can you reinforce those boundaries? First, you need to define the shape of your egg—or, your own needs. Like an egg, your emotional needs, support requirements, and needs for alone time and time to recharge are completely unique and can be a little fragile. Is your “egg” shaped like the need for alone time after work? Does it “fit” perfectly into a “no discussing politics with the in-laws” rule? Once you have carefully considered your needs or worked through them with your trusted psychologist in Highlands Ranch, build a structure that supports this, just like the carton supports the egg. It can’t be too rigid—there’s a reason we don’t store eggs in glass containers—but it must be strong enough to withstand pressure.



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