Understanding The Difference Between Boundaries vs. Wants And How To Communicate Them Effectively


When a woman first comes to me and she’s unhappy with the state of her relationship because she’s not getting what she wants, my first question for her is:

What is it that you need to have in your relationship and what is that you want to have in your relationship?

They often quickly say: Well I want him to call me more. I want him to be more romantic and for once do something special for Valentine’s day. And I want him to compliment me…

And my respond is: That’s wonderful, you know what you like to have more of, so those are your wants, and your needs are? 

The reply that I get 90% of the times after this question is: Well that’s it, the things that I just said. 

And that’s when I know she doesn’t know the difference between her wants (requests) vs. boundaries (her needs).

First I’d like to simply tell you the difference between the two.

Boundaries (aka your requirements): are your deal-breakers. The non-negotiables. It means if he doesn’t meet them, you will LEAVE him.

Wants (aka your requests): are what makes you happier and more fulfilled in your relationship, but you’re not going to pack your bags and leave him if he doesn’t buy you a dozen roses for Valentine’s Day!

Here is an example of my boundaries to give you a better understanding: 

Fidelity: This is outmost important to me. I will not stay 5 more minutes with a man who has cheated on me.

Violence: Under no circumstances will I ever stay in a relationship where there is any sign of violence and abuse.

Drugs: The man I am with and the father of my children cannot protect me and my family if he uses drugs, and I will walk away from him immediately.

And here are some of my wants: 

Attention: I love to feel special by receiving attention from my man. Whether it’s him sending me a cute video in Instagram, or him grabbing and embracing me, it makes me feel adored.

Surprises: I feel amazing when he makes an effort to do something special for my birthday.

Acts of Service: When I come home and coffee is ready because he knows how much I enjoy having a cup of coffee with him, it makes me feel very cared for.

I hope this helps when it comes to understanding the difference between the two – and now it’s time to learn how to communicate your boundaries and your wants to your man in an effective way.

Communicating Your Boundaries: 

This is the conversation you need to have before making a permanent commitment. I know it can be very difficult, but it is much better to have this conversation before getting your boundaries crossed and having to work your way back to make him respect it.

Let your man know that you’ve given this list a lot of thought (and do give it a lot of thought), and these are the boundaries that cannot be crossed, and if they are, you have no choice but to walk away. And here’s the key: YOU HAVE TO MEAN IT. Deep down inside, you cannot say that lying is a deal-breaker for me, and yet watch him lie left and right, while you stay and repeat the same meaningless words over and over: If you lie to me one more time, I will leave you! Not only he will continue to cross your boundaries, but your words will mean nothing to him anymore.

Having solid boundaries will make you feel protected and strong on the inside, so you don’t have to make walls around you on the outside. When you don’t have strong boundaries and you tolerate behavior that is unacceptable to you over and over, you form a protection on the outside (by being aggressive, needy, attacking, insecure …etc) which of course never ever works. But if you have strong boundaries, and deep down you know as soon as he crosses them you’re willing to walk away from him, you will have no need to create that distance between the two of you.

Having boundaries is what makes you more valuable and charitable in his eyes!

Communicating Your Wants

Learning to communicate your wants in a way that he can hear you is an art, which will inspire him to want to do them because any masculine man feels GREAT when he can make his woman happy. But here is an important factor that you need to understand that he also has a choice to not ALWAYS want to do what you’re asking for.

He’s a human being – he has his good and bad days – and he isn’t meant to tend to all your demands all the time.

Which brings me to my next point: Don’t demand – Express! 

Do you want more phone calls from him? Do NOT say: “Why don’t you call me anymore? It’s like you don’t even care if you don’t talk to me for days!”

Do you want to go on romantic dinners? Do NOT say: “You’ve changed, you used to take me to all these beautiful places when we first met, and now? Nothing!”

If you want your wants to be met (the ones that you’re not going to leave him because he is not doing enough of it) don’t ever state it in a negative way, and instead express to him how good it feels when he DOES do them for you.

Here are some examples:

It feels so lovely when I hear your voice before bedtime; it makes me have the sweetest dreams

“I feel so loved and cherished when you take the time to plan great dates for us, I feel lucky to have such a loving man”

“Consistent contact makes me feel so secure in my relationship, thank you for doing your best to make me happy.”

Encourage him! Don’t scold him! And if he doesn’t do as you please, don’t throw a tantrum  just because you want something your way, doesn’t mean that he has to obey or else.

And I promise you, once you adapt this mindset, when you express without attachment and wanting to force him to do something, then he will GLADLY do more of it because you’re expressing in a feminine way which he finds very attractive!



Shahrzad Shukra