Boundaries · musings · Personal



I never thought much about boundaries until my husband observed I had none. He was referring to personal boundaries, and I had no idea what he was talking about.

His boundaries were well-defined and guarded carefully. He didn’t allow infringement into what he considered his private space, and he failed to understand how I functioned with what he believed was open borders with no restraints.

Following this revelation into my psyche, I have given the topic more thought, wondering if gender makes a difference in the flexibility of our fences. I’ve known both men and women with well-defined limits, but it seems women’s boundaries are far more porous, and often non-existent.

It is common for a male to have a ‘man cave’ and have unrestricted access to areas often prohibited to females. Private clubs, organizations, boards, businesses, careers, and events open to ‘men only’, have been prevalent in most societies for centuries. Men were afforded the luxury of privacy, while women had few if any spaces of their own.

Homes were shared, open to all members of the family. There was not a corner set aside for her alone. She shared the bathroom, the bedroom, the kitchen, the living room, and if she suggested privacy it was considered an insult, unloving, disgraceful.

Just a few years ago a female friend wanted to add a studio to her home for her writing, something similar to what they had added for her husband’s workshop. The home association denied the request, not understanding her desire for her own ‘woman cave’ was no different from the workshop. Female privacy wasn’t important or recognized.

Women have begun not just to request but to insist on space equality, their own hunting lodges, and the same access to privacy enjoyed by men for eons.

We are learning to set boundaries, knowing in doing so it may cause upheavals in personal and family relationships. But we remind ourselves rejection is not the goal, defining ourselves is.

13 thoughts on “Boundaries

  1. Throughout history women have had to fight for every inch they’ve gained. I am an HGTV fan, and as I watch couples looking for homes and the men demanding their man caves, I ask that question – just what does the woman get as a space of her own? I resent the implication that we are less than deserving – less than. . .


  2. My late husband had a study and a fully fitted out workshop. When I took up my part time university place after I returned to work (post children) I asked for a small desk to be set up in a corner of the dining room. He did so but not without a few complaints, he couldn’t understand my need to study and a corner all to myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Sue, it is strange the way many men look at their ‘entitled’ right to control all the space that surrounds them. It is ‘his’ domain, and the women and children are ornaments to be shifted, moved, hidden or displayed at his pleasure. This topic is expanding my view about how we (men and women) relate to one another and how women step aside thinking it really is a man’s world…we are just visitors even in ‘our’ own home.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree with you. I cannot remember him ever refusing anything I asked for, he was a very generous man. Fortunately for him I was never the demanding type. I once suggested I use his study seeing as he hardly ever did but that didn’t go down well either! His growl was worse than his bite.


  3. How I yearn for a space I do not have to share in our tiny house…My little corner is on the main open concept floor and even though the charger station for all the electronics is directly next to my desk with ample space for all their devices, they still manage to dump their phones on MY tiny desk. Just because they see white, empty space is not an invitation for them to clutter it up, but they don’t understand and think I make a big deal about nothing.

    I want a she-shed. Wired with electricity, heat and a fan in summer for air flow. I don’t think that’s too much to ask. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I could not agree more. I never realized how important a ‘she shed’ is until after my husband died, and I began living alone. I love it. It is interesting how it is accepted for men to have privacy but not women. Thanks for commening.l

      Liked by 1 person

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