Boundaries’ Companion: Fulfillment Points

Boundaries’ Companion: Fulfillment Points

This past weekend, I got to do something I haven’t done in a LONG TIME.

I got to teach. Live. In-person. Locally.

I hadn’t really realized how much I’d missed that. Being in front of a room of people, sharing and engaging, and knowing that what I was doing was directly affecting my local community.

It’s fulfilling to me.

And during that talk about ethical nonmongamy (I’ve done this online as well, and have a replay in the Dating Kinky Library), I (of course) also discussed boundaries.

Because EVERY relationship is better with good personal boundaries, and MANY relationships are MUCH better with good personal boundaries.

But there is something more that I don’t talk about as much.

And during that talk, it started tickling the back of my brain.

Because I said, “Comparison is the thief of joy,” which you’ve probably heard, and I went on to talk about what we need in a relationship. Also noting that jealousy is fear that something is being taken away, and that the best way to combat that is to know what is missing or diminishing, and to talk about it.

And this morning, while I was sitting in front of my blank writing page, it came to me.

It’s important to know not only what you won’t tolerate in a relationship, but also what fills you up, makes you happy, and what you want and need.

Sounds simple, right?

Yes, it is.

Could this be like love languages?

Yeah, sorta.

But I’m not talking things that just make you feel loved. Because there is SO MUCH MORE to life than just love.

Which is why I’m calling them fulfillment points.

I wrote a few years back, “Touch Is Not My Love Language, But It Is My Core” (, and I noted that although touch does not make me feel more loved, specifically, it is a critical part of my life. A bare minimum.

Like food.

Eating food does not make me feel loved, but without it, I starve,

I need to be touched to feel fulfilled.

I also need to be appreciated.
I need to be desired.
I need alone time.
I need adventure.
I need romance and silliness and twitterpation.

And so on.

These things don’t make me feel more loved.

They fulfill me. They fill up my humanity. They give me a sense of value in the huge world around me. They define me to me and separate me from others (as boundaries do).

They are extrinsic to me, just as boundaries are intrinsic.

And in nonmonogamy, these things are critical, because when our personal fulfillment points are not being met, that is when insecurities and fears and jealousy grow, which can eat at and ruin a relationship ‘quicker than shit through a bird’s ass in berry season,’ as my ex-partner used to say.

And fulfillment points are the answer to comparison.

Instead of “They get this, and I don’t,” fulfillment points give us the framework we need to say, “I’d like to find a way to share more adventures together, like we used to,” or “I’d love to set time aside for us to focus on each other, and be romantic.”

Versus, “You took them out dancing and romancing, and we haven’t had a date in four months.”

Of course, it’s NOT just for nonmonogamy.

Monogamy is made better with good boundaries and an understanding of our fulfillment points as well. And most relationships of all types miss out on these things, which is why we so often flounder.

Of course, the challenge is that we often don’t know what our fulfillment points are until we are in crisis and missing them/craving them.

But that’s OK.

Once we identify them, we can start focusing on being proactive and finding ways to fulfill ourselves through our relationships (family, friends, lovers, partners). And as we get more in tune with those parts of ourselves, more come to light.

What are your thoughts?

What are your fulfillment points? What fills you up in your life that is necessary to who you are, but is not necessarily what makes you feel loved?

Have you had an experience of realizing one of those needs in the middle of a crisis of jealousy or conflict?

Do you have a list of your fulfillment points (whatever you call them) that you focus on at least as much as you do your boundaries?

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