How Taking ‘No’ for an Answer Can Build Intimacy

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 10.23.09 AMThe Good Men Project just published my article on how to navigate personal boundaries – read it here, “How Taking No for an Answer Can Build Intimacy

“There’s a difference between a ‘No’ that pushes away and a ‘No’ that shows you who someone is.”


For each type of relationship—those with friends, neighbors, family, co-workers, and romantic partners—there are a variety of boundary types to consider. We usually think of physical boundaries, like sex, when we think about boundaries, but that’s only a start: Professional boundaries, spiritual boundaries, intellectual boundaries, financial boundaries, social boundaries, physical boundaries, sexual boundaries, etc.

You might be impinging on someone’s personal boundaries if you are:

  • Insistent – pushing gifts or favors onto others
  • Performing – having sex as a show rather than for intimacy and pleasure
  • Falling fast – latching onto the love that comes rather than the love you want
  • Dictating – telling someone who they are or what they need
  • Needy – wanting someone to fill your needs automatically
  • Impatient – demanding an answer because you want it now

If you’re in a relationship that’s on the spectrum of codependency or dysfunction, you’ve probably already waded into the territory of pushing and violating one another’s boundaries. Maybe your partner has given into you because he or she is afraid you will leave if they don’t — or because they’re avoiding confronting reasons to leave the relationship.

Resentment is the hallmark feeling that results when we’re asked to do something that we feel isn’t right, preceded or accompanied by feeling disregarded:

  • We feel disrespected
  • We feel like we don’t counting, we’re considered ‘less than’
  • We feel voiceless, invisible
  • We fear that we’re insufficient, not enough for you as we are
  • These are feelings you probably don’t want a person you care about to feel. And these are feelings that you don’t especially want to feel. Resentment festers like bacteria and erodes the grace and goodwill that loving relationships require.

Read the full full article.  


Amy Eden is the author of The Kind Self-Healing Book: Raise Yourself Up with Curiosity and Compassion



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