How many of us wasted our early years on unhealthy dating relationships or are currently dealing with an adult child or parent who needs to learn to make it on their own? Even marriages and parent/child relationships need to have some boundaries.

Whether you are in your early twenties or mid forties, establishing healthy relationships in dating can prevent heartache and headache. Are you ready to take on ex-spouses and children? Does the other person have legal, medical, financial, addiction or psychological areas they are currently dealing with? These are areas worth learning about as you get to know the other person.

Once the nest is empty, parents look forward to enjoying their free time to pursue interests. This can be frustrating when dealing with an adult child who is taking longer to become independent. While you are still committed to assisting them, value your leisure time and take part in the recreational activities you enjoy. Young adults need to learn basic life skills so they can take care of themselves.

Although setting boundaries before marriage is best, it’s never too late if you want to maintain your sanity. If there are problems, you can either choose to live with them or address the issues and take action. There are resources available and people who can assist.

Self-improvement is always a first step. As you begin to feel better about yourself, you are less likely to tolerate unacceptable destructive behavior by someone close to you. If you are being mistreated, having a good job where you are appreciated helps you to see the difference. Be careful of turning to another person’s arms for comfort, thinking it will solve the problem. You need to deal with it in an appropriate manner.

Let your children make their own mistakes and learn from them. Show your own parents that you are a confident adult, capable of making your own decisions. Work on developing healthy boundaries when dating so that when marriage comes along, you don’t struggle with it later.

You’ll know what a healthy relationship looks like when you find it. Your days will be filled with more joy than drama. You’ll wonder what you were thinking before. You’ll have more to offer, without feeling drained. You’ll receive, rather than always being the one giving. The present is always a good time to start. It’s never too late to begin healthy habits.

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