In our MOM ON STRIKE! and 4 Myths About Boundaries newsletter, we saw how Christy put boundaries to the test with her two boys, complete with comic relief and real life, parental bravery. Christy also hit on 4 common myths about boundaries. Boundaries are not rules we place on others, nor are they controlling, punishing, or necessarily unforgiving. Boundaries protect the good, while keeping out the unacceptable. With that said, Christy has graciously allowed us to share the boundary agreement she and her husband, Dan, made in 2008.
September 17, 2008
- We agree to notify each other when using the internet. (This is aside from work-related web usage)
- We agree that our internet usage is monitored by a tracking service sent to a third party. This third party will report any inappropriate activity.
- We agree that our personal ISP will only be installed on work laptops if absolutely necessary, and with each other’s knowledge.
- We agree that the only separate email accounts will be work related, with the exception of a single account to decrease spam in our main shared account. Any separate accounts will be accessible by both of us.
- We agree that activities such as Fantasy Baseball for which web resources are required, sites that do not contain banner ads, etc., will be used, even if a subscription fee is required.
- We agree that firewalls, filters, and a tracking service will be installed on all personal computers, to be administered by Christy.
- We agree that laptops, phones, and hand-held computers will not be used in the bathroom without each other’s knowledge, unless it is an emergency.
- We agree to clear any reading material with each other before bringing it into the bathroom.
- We agree to tell each other about any magazines, videos, etc., purchased, and give each other full access and veto power. We will use discretion and judgment when purchasing these items.
- We agree that using catalogues, web sites, etc. to shop for intimate apparel is not an option for us.
- Business travel is occasionally necessary. We agree to keep it to a minimum, and when possible, invite the other to travel with us. When possible, overnight travel should be avoided. Recognizing this is rarely possible, however, we agree that should overnight stays be necessary, daily contact will be made via phone or web conference, and only network television will be viewed.
- We agree that whether on a business trip or in town, business luncheons or dinners, etc. with a member of the opposite sex are not to take place unless someone else is present or it takes place in a public area or on public property.
- We agree that small social gatherings with a member of the opposite sex will not be attended without each other.
- We agree to confide in each other any time we experience temptation regarding a member of the opposite sex, pornography, triggers, etc.
- We agree to create a safe environment with each other to discuss difficult issues.
- We agree to seek counseling, couples’ retreats, support groups, or any other type of therapy if one or both of us feel it is needed.
- We agree to listen attentively to each other, not interrupting to “fix” things.
- We agree to respond in a loving and appropriate way to each other’s needs, statements, etc., and to ask questions to clarify each other’s statements.
- We agree to allow each other to express our hurt, anger, fear, sadness, frustration, disappointment, and any other emotion without judging or trying to rationalize.
- We agree not to discuss our issues in front of our children or take our feelings out on them in any way. If they pick up on issues, we need to be appropriately honest with them, to reassure them that our issues are not their fault.
- We agree that everything in our home is joint property with the exception of personal journals, recovery work, coaching files, and work-related items. We agree that we may share our journals with each other if we choose to. We agree that if there is reason to believe that Dan is relapsing, Christy may ask Dan to log on to his work laptop and allow her access to it and his briefcase immediately, with no delays.
- We agree that if Dan is showing signs of relapse but is not forthcoming when asked about it, that Christy is allowed to take whatever steps she feels necessary to find out what is going on after doing a “gut check” with her own accountability partner.
- We agree that if Dan slips, he agrees to tell his accountability partner within 24 hours of the first instance of acting out, and Christy within 24 hours of telling his accountability partner. If he does not follow through on this, his accountability partner will tell Christy that Dan has slipped.
- We agree that “relapse” is defined as acting out even a single time with a return to addictive thinking (I deserve this, there’s nothing wrong with it, etc.) with no intent to follow through on reporting the incident to his accountability partner or spouse. We agree that if the time frame for reporting has passed, or if the spouse discovered evidence of the incident prior to Dan confessing, that Dan will leave the home until his recovery is back on track. We agree to attend counseling and any other therapy or support groups to restore the marriage, unless Dan chooses to abandon his recovery and go back into his addictive cycle.
- We agree to keep an open mind at all times. It is understood that Christy has come to associate certain behaviors with Dan’s addiction, many of which can be present without the addiction being active. These actions – such as spending time on the computer, etc., do not necessarily mean Dan is acting out. We agree to discuss these, and any other triggers, openly and honestly with each other, without assuming that the addiction is present.
- We agree to discuss any concerns, insecurities, triggers, and fears with each other openly, calmly, and honestly. This will include if Christy senses a potential problem that could trigger Dan or vice versa.
- We agree to make our marriage relationship a priority by going out on a date a minimum of once a month. In addition, we will take and make opportunities to nurture our relationship.
- We agree that time apart is also important and will help each other get this time when needed.
- We agree to call each other when leaving work, a group, or event attended alone, and if we are running late.
Are you becoming someone you don’t want to be as a result of the relationship you are in? Do you question what your gut is telling you? Do you feel alone and have no one who will listen?
I have 20 years of experience helping people manage and overcome destructive and dysfunctional relationships as a Certified Life Coach. I have worked with women both one on one and in support groups for those impacted by a partner’s sex addiction and compulsive behaviors.
I am currently finishing my Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy online with Northcentral University in California & have started my practicum site work at Soul Work Counseling in Champlin, Minnesota. If you live in the Twin Cities area, I offer Journey to Healing & Joy groups face-to-face out of my clinical practice, and I would love to help you on your healing journey.