passive aggression in your relationshipsWhen your partner is passive-aggressive, it can feel like passive-aggression is the third party in your relationship. Passive-aggressiveness not only hurts your bond with your partner, but it also hurts your relationship with yourself.

It’s understandable if you think you must end a relationship with a partner you otherwise love because they behave passive-aggressively, but I promise you there’s hope.

Healthy boundaries can help you overcome that damaging behavior and preserve your relationship.

For those in healthy relationships, boundaries are often so well established that you don’t think of them as rules; they’re just “the way I am” and “the way we are.” But when passive-aggression is the third party in your relationship, it is vital to set healthy boundaries with your partner, especially when your partner may find even the concept of boundaries strange and uncomfortable. Your partner must know exactly what it is that’s likely to make you angry or hurt, otherwise your partner can’t meet your needs. More important, perhaps, you need to know your boundaries, because it’s easy to lose sight of them in this kind of relationship.

Here are three important qualities of healthy boundaries:

1. Clarity — It’s clear in your mind where you end and your partner begins, and your partner is equally clear.

2. Protection — With healthy boundaries that are respected, you feel safe and you’re in control of how close others get to you, and they know what lines they should not cross.

3. Flexibility — You have the confidence and freedom to change your boundaries and limits when you feel the situation calls for it, not when someone pushes you.