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We’ve all heard the story of the three little pigs — the first, who built a house out of straw; the second, who used sticks and twigs as material; and then finally, the third, who used bricks, and saved his siblings from certain death by a hungry wolf. Most believe this is a story about how hard work pays off, and while this is partially true, I’ve always seen it as a story about the importance of boundaries.
Permeable, straw-like boundaries may be flexible as hell, but they can easily be torn (or blown) down. They’re not exactly protective, even if they provide the illusion of structure for a time. A foundation made from sticks may take longer to gather and require more fortitude to put together, but strong enough wind can still knock it over. But brick? While brick-laying takes some time and skill, the space you outline with such materials will likely remain immovable through any storm.
One crucial point to remember: When you’re making a house with brick, you can still put windows and doors in the blueprints. There are ways to allow the outside world in, even if the space you create for yourself stands firm.
It’s the same with healthy boundaries. As dynamics change, so too must your boundaries. But they shouldn’t be so malleable that you’re knocked over by every little thing that comes your way.
Starting with the right materials is crucial. That’s why this month at Allure, we’re talking about the importance of creating healthy boundaries in all kinds of relationships. Check back next week for the first piece in this series.
Boundaries With Toxic Family Members
For many of us, our family dynamics often set the tone for how we approach relationships throughout the rest of our lives. In this piece, writer and editor Sara Radin explores how to set boundaries with toxic family members, as well as what to do when you’ve decided you need to cut communication off with a member of your family.
Digital Boundaries: Creating Space for Yourself On the Internet
For better or worse, we live a large portion of our lives online these days, and it can be hard to fully log off. Writer Mary Retta looks into how to safely set boundaries online with others we interact with, as well as how to set boundaries with ourselves when it comes to how much time we spend on the Internet.
Casual Sex, Trauma, and Boundaries
Talking about our needs when it comes to sex can be difficult enough — amplify that times 10 if you have any sort of sexual trauma in your past. In this piece, writer Erin Taylor discusses how to discuss triggers in intimate situations with partners.
Now, read some of Allure‘s past content related to boundaries and relationships:
Have you heard of a “yes/no/maybe” list? It’s one of the best ways to talk about what you may (or may not) be into in the bedroom. Read all about it in this piece from sex educator Corinne Kai.
Creating healthy boundaries with your therapist can be difficult, but sometimes, it’s necessary. Writer Rachel Charlene Lewis discusses how she taught her therapist how to be affirming and helpful for her as a queer Black woman in this piece.
Sometimes, there are parts of yourself you want to share online, but not on your main account. That’s when you make an alt, for only some of your friends to see. On Instagram, this is known as a finsta, and writer Ellie Abraham writes about why creating this digital boundary can feel so safe yet so liberating.
Read more about relationships:
Now, watch 100 years of goth, punk, and vamp beauty: