In this episode, MaryAnn talks with relationship coach, Andelin Price, about how boundaries can actually improve and increase intimacy.
Boundaries are often thought of as being about the other person they are fundamentally about self-protection and creating a sense of safety. Feeling safe is crucial for intimacy and trust in any relationship, and boundaries play a key role in achieving this safety.
Andelin highlights that setting boundaries is essential for ensuring that you "have your own back." It's about deciding what you will do if something happens, and it contributes to a sense of security, allowing you to get closer to others. Pulling away from relationships often occurs when one feels unsafe, underscoring the importance of safety in fostering intimacy and trust.
Some have the misconception that boundaries are about controlling the other person. Andelin clarifies that boundaries are about defining what is acceptable and safe for you. It's not about trying to control someone else's behavior.
Boundaries are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, they are an evolving, intuitive process. Recognizing the need for boundaries, understanding their role in relationships, and learning to set them in a way that benefits both parties is an essential skill for building healthy connections.
Get your FREE Increasing Connection Through Healthy Boundaries guidebook here!
The Four Agreements
Women's bodies, Women's Wisdom
Want to connect with MaryAnn? Click here!
Want to grab Andelin's free date ideas? Click here!
Well, hello and welcome back. So I would like to welcome Andalyn Price to the show. Hello, Andalyn. Hi. Thanks so much for having me. Oh, I'm excited to have you. So Andalyn is a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mom, musician, relationship coach, and she's the co host of the Marriage Bites podcast. Podcast. I'm super excited to see since you work with relationships, how this is going to play out today. Cause today we're going to talk about boundaries more about Adeline here. All right. So when her first child was born, followed by five more, then she dedicated her time to caring for her children. And as time went on, she knew that life had an additional calling for her as a coach. Her focus is on helping couples to create more honest and intimate relationships by teaching them how to communicate effectively. Work together as equal partners and deepen their love and connection through her volunteer work for a nonprofit organization, she's become passionate about educating others about the importance of mental health and wellness in her spare time. She enjoys hanging out with family and friends and movie nights at home, and she will never say no to a good book. So welcome to the show. I'm so excited to have you here. Thank you so much. It's my pleasure. So today we're going to be talking about boundaries. And with you being a relationship coach, I'm just really curious. Everyone has a slightly different take. So how do you personally define a boundary? Well, a boundary is something that you set up that protects yourself. We think that boundaries is about the other person, but it's actually about yourself. Deciding what you will do if something else happens. And so it really is creating safety for yourself. And the more safety you feel, the closer you can get to other people. The reason we pull away is because we feel unsafe. And as we all know, safety is so important for intimacy. You have to feel safe with your partner in order to open up to them, even emotionally or in any way in order to trust them, you need to feel safe. So boundaries are really key to relationships so that you can. Know that you have your own back basically and so that you know that you will be safe no matter what happens Oh, I love that. So boundaries are about having your own back Mm hmm about what you were going to do to keep yourself safe I've seen that my practice as well where some people misunderstand boundaries and they think no it's a boundary is Controlling the other person if I can just control the other person then I'll be so I said that yeah that we only have control over ourselves And I'm super curious with you being a relationship coach, like, cause you've mentioned a little bit about how that deepens our level of intimacy. In my practice, many people avoid setting boundaries because of the fear of abandonment. So what have you seen in your practice about how it actually can deepen those relationships? Well, like I said, when I can take care of myself, I can actually open up more to my husband or to whoever it is I'm with, because this applies to all relationships, not just the marriage relationship. So, something that my husband and I have been doing lately is, we'll stop and we'll say, I want to tell you something right now that might be hard for you to hear. And if I say that, Or if he says that to me and I say, no, I'm not ready to hear something right now. We'll stop. And that builds trust between us. So if I say, can I give you some feedback? Yes. Just yesterday, he was saying something to one of our kids and I said, can I give you some feedback on that? And he said, yes. And so then I proceeded, I told him, you know, this is the way you said it. And if you had said it differently, Your experience of that would be different. And so he said, okay. Whereas before, if we hadn't had that set up, like where I am allowing him to say no, or I'm allowing myself to say, no, I'm not ready for that. If he had said, no, I'm not open to feedback, I would have actually stopped and not, and it goes both ways. Where before I would have been like, you know, if you had just said that differently. Like this, this could have been different for you and he would have probably been more defensive at that point and then it would have been conflict rather than an open conversation where I was sharing something, but allowing him to, take what I said and agree with it or disagree with it to do the thing differently or not, where it really allowed me to, Say what I felt like I wanted to say and then let go of the outcome. I love that. Yeah. And I love the idea of eventually getting to that point in relationship where you can know ahead of time, like, Hey, I want to talk about something. Are you open to it? And creating that self reflection for, am I ready for it? Cause I know so often, you know, for me, if I'm feeling too dysregulated I'm going to have a really hard time receiving that, but it's not necessarily the other person's fault, right? It's just the timing issue. So I love that about setting a boundary around the timing in order to help you to be more receptive to what they have to say, and also make it a safer place for that communication rather than a defensive place. So what tips do you have for those of us that haven't quite got to the place to be self aware enough to say, Hey, I have something I want to share, but are just blurting things out. What do you do when you recognize that? Oh my gosh, like somebody is offering me feedback and I wasn't ready. And apparently. I didn't have a boundary in place. Like, how can, how do you raise your awareness around that? Well, I think just noticing it sometimes we have a conflict or we have something happen and we think about it in retrospect, we're like, okay, I could see, I could have done that differently, you know, and that's really where it starts is saying, oh, like. That didn't go well, and it was because of this reason, and spoiler alert, it's not the other person. It's always yourself. Like, every relationship dynamic, every conflict, every interaction is co created. And so, No matter what happens, you played a part in it, even if it was, you know, speaking when you should have been silent or being silent when you should have spoken. the tone of voice you use, everything, it's always a co creation. And at any point, if you realized, you know, I probably could have said, can we talk about this later? Even it's just simply as. It's just even something as simple as, can we just talk about this another time? Or I'm really busy right now. Sometimes with my kids, they want to tell me all the things. And so sometimes I'll say, I really do want to have this conversation with you, but right now I need to do this other thing. Let's talk about this a little bit later, because I really do want to hear what you have to say. Because I do, even when it's like, my son is into sports cars, tell me all the things about all the cars. It's not really a passion of mine, so I'm not like all in it with him, but I really do care about what he cares about, but sometimes I have something more pressing right now, like the three year old needing something or an appointment coming up or something like that, or like, you know, I do want to talk about this with you, but right now I need to do something else so that he doesn't feel like I just blew him off, but so that I don't feel like I have to give up what I. What's going to do or whatever I had going on the point, the commitments that I have in order to make him feel a certain way, which I can't make him feel a certain way. But, the influence that I have on him, the way that I. show him that I love him does absolutely have an influence on the way that he feels. So, first you recognize it, sometimes after the fact, and then you'll catch yourself in the middle. You'll be like, Oh, I remember last time I said it this way and it wasn't great. And maybe I'll try something else this time and see if that works better. And then there's just the more reflection you have and the more practice, sometimes we just have to make a mess of it first. In order to figure out like what actually works for us. And it's more of an intuitive process. I can't really say we'll do this step and this step and this step, but just, figuring out how to show up in the relationship in the way that you feel is true to yourself. Yeah. Oh, I love that. Yeah. Cause I think so often once we learn like how to set a boundary, we kind of beat ourselves up, right? Where it's like, Oh, I should have known better. So I love that you said no. Like first you recognize it oftentimes in hindsight, it's like, okay, I, now I recognize the way that I wish I would have showed up and then maybe you progress into catching yourself in the moment and course correcting like, Oh, I said that, but I meant to do this. Eventually we can get to the point of. Being able to set our boundaries and have those conversations like you and your husband right out of the gate, like, Hey, I would like to talk about something that might be hard for you to hear. How do you feel about that? But that it is an evolution. And like you said, it's very intuitive. It's not like a one and done. You just learn it. And you know, or you follow these seven steps and you're there, but feeling into, that self recognition is too. Oh, what is going on for me? Like I am feeling triggered and I am feeling trapped. Like, what is the information here? And I also found it interesting what you said, where you said every interaction is co created. That is so powerful because for me, then that says, okay, I am, I do have some ownership here. Right. So often, emotionally immature self likes to say you did this to me. You created this, you did this, you created this emotion in me, but when we're able to step back a little bit and say, okay, how did I help to co create this, where did I not speak up, where did I maybe speak up when it wasn't quite the right time, like, how did I help to co create this, can help you to step more into that self empowerment. It is so empowering to say, oh, I actually did play a part. And I love this phrase that anything created can be uncreated or that's not exactly, if I am created, I can uncreate it. So I don't remember that phrase, but hopefully you get the idea that like, if I made something happen, I can always change it. I have power to, make it things better, even if the other person doesn't see it. If even if the other person is like, I don't know what you're talking about. Everything's fine. Yeah. I love that. Anything created can be uncreated. Like you can always, always course correct. And then it comes through that self realization and that self awareness. And I'm curious too, when you talked about your experience with your child and, you know, wanting to talk about cars and all the things, are boundaries different? Like, do you approach boundaries differently if it's a friendship or romantic relationship or with your children? Like, what are the differences there? One thing is that with kids, with my children, because I feel like I have a different, like, because I have stewardship for my children, and so it's my responsibility to make sure certain things happen or don't happen, and so it is a little bit different, with kids, because they aren't adults, they aren't fully developed, they don't necessarily know the consequences of their actions, have a wider view that I can see, and so I can, set boundaries in a way that's like, no, you don't have the power to stay out after 11 or you don't have the power to, you know, hit your brother or whatever. but you have to be really careful with that power, not to like overuse it. But with other adults, I think a lot of times where you set your boundaries is different based on who they are to you. Obviously, I'm not going to walk up to the somebody in the grocery store and give them a kiss on the lips. That's not what I do. But my husband can walk up to me and give me a kiss on the lips pretty much whenever he wants to. So my boundaries with him obviously are different than it would be with a friend or a neighbor or somebody else. So where you place your boundaries is different. what kind of boundaries you need will be different based on, for example, if there's a friend. Well, okay. Something that I've heard a lot of is like mothers saying, my daughter asks me to watch her kids all the time and I love the kids. I want to be with them, but I don't want to watch them all the time. She just asks me too much. And so that would be, maybe a, a boundary that she would have to set with that person, but not necessarily another person. And then there's boundaries that are like. For everything things that you wouldn't let anybody do to you, you wouldn't let anybody, you know, abuse you in some kind of way. And so does that answer your question? Yeah. Yeah. And I'm really curious too, because with the example you just gave about watching your own grandchildren, I work a lot with the people pleasers. And so what challenges have you seen with people pleasing and boundaries and how, how can you integrate those two things? Well, I feel like people pleasing is sort of the opposite of boundary setting. And in some cases, it's a trauma response. And I don't think people recognize that as much as they probably need to because people pleasing is about making other people happy with you or trying to make people happy with you. And. If you really want to do the thing, if you really want to watch the grandkids and it works for your schedule and you love spending time with them, then that is not people pleasing, that is serving, helping, that is spending time with your grandkids, whatever. But it's when you are asked to do something that goes against what you feel is best for yourself, giving too much, giving from the empty cup, you know? And because it's hard to say no to people when you are accustomed to saying yes, or when you know that they expect you to say yes, and you want to say no, and you really do have to balance what are the needs of the other person and what are the needs of myself, and where do those meet, and that's where your boundary is. So like, Oh yes, I can watch your kids on Tuesday and Thursday, but not on Saturday night, or, you know what I mean, like setting like what is best for me and what is best for the other person, and a boundary really should contribute to the best good for both people. So if, uh, family member or somebody is being indulgent, is taking advantage of you, setting a boundary is better for yourself because you're not being taken advantage of. And it's also better for the other person because you're pressuring their growth in a positive way. So to say, okay, you can't take advantage of me any longer, the kid who won't move out of the house, the parents sometimes have to set a boundary and say, Now you need to, move on with your life. You need to start growing in a new way to take care of yourself. It's really, really hard to set that boundary. And, so I, I have a lot of, empathy for this too. But it's good for the child to, to take the responsibility for themselves that the parents are asking them to do. And so that's what a healthy boundary is to me, something that is best for both parties. I love that. I love that so much. Cause I think often we think that boundaries are a selfish thing, but when you think of the boundaries as no, this is something that is mutually beneficial, it really helps to shift it. And I love what you said too, that a boundary is where the wants of both parties meet, you know, like, yes. Okay. You want the childcare, just go with that example. And I can help you with it on this day or this day. And then you can fulfill the need for both without creating the imbalance in a relationship, because then that just leads to resentment. So I love that about finding out where the needs and the wants can overlap and finding out what is best for both people. I love that. I also loved how you said that it was not about making other people happy, that people pleasing, I loved how you wrote it. It's not necessarily about making the other people happy, but it's about making them happy with you, which is a completely different motive, isn't it? Yes. Yeah. Keeping people happy with you is the root of so many problems for people because it's trying to control the emotions of another person. And you can't please everybody. And if you want to do something kind for somebody, then there's no problem with that, but it's when you are giving away too much of yourself, when you're not being authentic and kind and loving to yourself through your service to other people, when you're giving too much, then you have less to give. I mean, I'm a recovering people pleaser for sure. And I used to be so like. Drained all the time. I was always tired. I was grumpy. I was not happy. Because I was trying to make everybody else happy. Once I shifted to, I'm going to take care of myself first. What I discovered is that when my cup is full, it overflows. And then I can share from the overflow and still keep myself filled up. And still have plenty left to share. And I love this because then when people say, Oh, could you such and such? Could you take a meal to somebody on this day or something? I'm like. If I can, then I, it's a full, total yes. And if I can't, then I'm like, you know, that's not going to work for me that day. You ask me another day or something like, and I don't feel guilty for saying no, when I really don't feel like that's going to fit in my schedule. And so I feel better and they. The opportunity to serve is given to somebody else who is more able at that time. And then when it is my turn, when it is something that I feel like I can do, I do it joyfully rather than like, now I have to do this thing. Yeah. I love that feeling into, if you can give it a wholehearted, yes. With that people pleasing. Yeah. And what's interesting is you were talking to, I almost was picturing like this pendulum swing, right? Where here's the people pleasers on one side that are super passive in their boundaries and they're not happy because they feel very taken advantage of and used and abused and resentful. And then on the other side, the other extreme I think is kind of misconstruing control boundary. So we speak a little bit to that other side too about control versus a boundary. How can you tell when you've slid into control versus setting a healthy boundary? I would say when you are feeling upset because other people aren't doing it the way you thought they should. So we say If I did something for you and you're mad at me still, then I would say you're supposed to be happy with me because I did all the things that you asked of me. And, and so you, it's sometimes anger, sometimes frustration, sometimes, anxiety, or there's lots of different negative emotions resentment that it can feel like. And when I'm feeling those feelings toward another person, that's a sign that I might be trying to control them right now. I love that. So if you're thinking you should be doing this, you're supposed to be responding this way and maybe check yourself that, okay, maybe I didn't actually set a boundary, maybe instead I'm trying to exert control. Yeah, that is very helpful. Yeah. And so tell us a little bit too, about setting a boundary versus making a request. So I'm going to go back a little bit and say there are four levels. Of boundary setting. So it's kind of like there's four layers, the top layer, and it kind of goes in order from like, Least amount of effort to most amount of effort. So the top layer would be having an expectation. So expectations largely come from cultural norms, family norms, you know, basically the conditioning, the way you grew up, the way you think it's supposed to be, the way you think, you know, people are supposed to pick up their socks, whatever. And usually you don't say those out loud. Sometimes you talk about them. You're like, Oh yeah, people are supposed to whatever, but basically expectations are how you believe people are supposed to live. Expectation becomes a request when you ask the person. To do the thing that you expect them to do. So will you please pick up your socks off the floor? Will you please not leave your socks on the floor? Whatever, you know, and they either do it or they don't. But if they do great, then a request was all you needed. If they don't. You get to decide, do I need a consequence? Like, is there a consequence here that I want to enact in this, in this situation? Sometimes like for me, my husband doesn't really leave his socks around, but if he, I don't know, leave something out or sometimes I'll just do it because I realized. I want the socks in the basket. I don't care. It's not worth it to me to make a fight about it or to like make a big deal over it. So sometimes a request is, will you please do this? And if they don't, then I do it because I want it done. And it's not a big deal to me. The next level is, an agreement so in this is really important in marriages to say well we both agree to meet in the middle of whatever like I'll agree I'll cook on Mondays. I'll cook on weekdays and you cook on weekends or something and it's something that you've both agreed this is my part that I'm going to do. And this is your part that you're going to do. And then if you both meet your ends of the agreement, then great. Then it works. If the agreements aren't met, that's when a boundary is needed. So if you don't cook on Saturday, I will order pizza instead. Cause I decided I'm not going to cook on Saturday. And if you said you would, and you didn't, then I need to decide what I'm going to do. So if it were a request, then I would be like, okay, fine. I'll just cook instead. I'll just do it for you. But a boundary might be something like, then we're going to go get takeout. Because you said you would and you didn't and this is what I'm choosing to do or if you leave your socks out on the floor, I'm just going to leave them there until you have no more clean socks. Too bad for you. You didn't have clean socks because you didn't keep up your end of the agreement. Um, and so, a boundary is where basically you've made a request, you've created agreements, and if the spouse or the other person still is not meeting those, then you say, this is what I'm going to do to keep myself safe, to keep myself taken care of. Yeah. I love that. So first setting expectations, making a request, seeing if you can find a mutual agreement and then setting the boundary. And I loved your example of the pizza, because I think so often when people find themselves in a situation like that, then it's like they make themselves the victim. Right. So it's like you didn't fix dinner. Now we're just going to starve. Instead of boundary is fulfilling your own needs. So it's like, okay, I guess I'm going to get takeout. And making that your boundary I love that example. Yeah. Awesome. It puts you in that role of being proactive rather than reactive or, or being your own hero versus being the victim. Yeah. Yeah. And then you aren't putting your own happiness on another person either. You're taking care of your own well being, happiness, the kids, whatever else is going on. Mm hmm. Then it's not a conflict. It's just this happened and then it didn't and I decided what I was going to do it empowers you to take care of yourself. Yeah. Yeah, I love that. All right. Well, I have a few rapid fire questions for you. Are you ready? I'm ready. All right. Well, first I see a harp in the background. and you said you enjoy music. So what other instruments do you play? Like what, what's your passion? Well, harp is my number one love when it comes to music. I also play the piano a little bit. Um, I played flute in high school. Yeah. And middle school. Um, I know a few chords on the guitar, but I wouldn't necessarily call myself a guitar player. Um, I sort of, you know, pick up I can pick things up pretty quickly, whatever it is, I don't know, I've tried a few other instruments too, but music is something that's been a part of my life since the day I was born, and it will be a part of my life till the day I die. That's awesome, I love that. And you also said in your bio that you enjoy a good book, so what is your current favorite book? Oh my gosh, this is not a fair question. I know, right? I wouldn't be able to like the book, The Four Agreements. It just really opened my eyes to like, oh, I get to decide for myself. I get to be the person that I think is best for me. Yeah, I don't know. I really liked that one. Um, Oh, you know, the one that really broke it open for me was Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom by Christian Northrup. Yeah. Opened my eyes to so many things. I read that in, I think, 2016, basically set me on this path that I'm on right now. Really? Oh, fascinating. I haven't read that one. I've read the four agreements, but yeah, I'm going to have to put a link to both of those. It's huge. Yeah. It's a big book. I mean, you don't have to read it cover to cover, but I just, it just helped me understand at first I started reading it and I thought, Oh, she's, I was worried she's going to be bashing men in it because I've sort of like, Oh, I don't know if I'm comfortable with that, but as I kept reading, she's not bashing men, but she is helping women stand up for themselves and, listen more to your intuition rather than being the people pleaser to the men in your life, which in my upbringing, that was a big thing for me to, you know, listen to the men, you know, they say, sort of, and so maybe that's why he spoke to me because that was so much a part of my growing up. But it really helped me to get a much healthier relationship with my husband and. Just with myself, even yeah, I love that. Thank you for sharing. I'm going to post a link to each of those book recommendations in the show notes. And I'm excited because I just got another audible credit this morning and I was thinking what I get. So now I think I know he has a few other books too that are really good. Nice. I'll have to check them out. And then my last question is, what would you like everybody's main takeaway to be from this conversation? I think it would be that boundaries make your relationships more intimate, not less boundaries allow you to be closer to those you love, not further away as beautiful. I love that. Thank you. And where can people find you? Well, I do hang out on Instagram quite a bit. My handle is Andalyn Price Coaching. I do have a website. If you go to my website, you can get 24 fun ideas of things you can do with your spouse, like at home dates. They're mostly free and they're free and easy. They, you can do most of them in like 20 minutes. So the purpose of it is to take out the barriers of date night and help you to Just laugh and connect and have fun together in any little pocket of time that you might have throughout the day. Oh, I love that because I said, that's my main hang up with date night is trying to figure out what are we going to do? So I love that you did the work for us. That was kind of the idea. Yeah. So if you go to my website, andalineprice. com, you can snag that. Awesome. And I will post all of her contact information in the show notes. You can go and get that freebie and check out her stuff. And I love that. Yeah. This week, really focus on using those boundaries to increase your connection and your level of intimacy with others. I love that. Yeah. Well, thank you so much for being here, Andalit. It has been really nice to get better acquainted with you and I'm excited to see what you do next. Oh, thank you so much. I really enjoyed our conversation. All right. Well, have a great week, everybody. Bye now.