Did you ever hear the English proverb Birds of a feather flock together? Well, not when we are talking about intimate relationships. 

According to Vrangalova et al. (2013), permissive people are more likely to be unfaithful and poach someone else’s mate. For this reason, homophily (Birds of a feather flock together), as known as the preference to establish a connection with individuals who share the same attributes and similar behavior might be dangerous for intimate relationships. 

Permissiveness. Permissiveness is, perhaps, one of the most hardcore deal-breakers and turnoffs in relationships. And in this era where everything seems to be technological, everything is to be shared, the implicit permission to overstep what is socially appropriate must receive our deepest concerns. 

Every single day relationships are failing, and people remain for different reasons in unhappy dynamics till someone new comes along and reignite the spark. However, permissiveness is when you or your partner permit other people to step into the relationship, allowing them to give unsolicited pieces of advice or manipulate the possible outcome of your partnership. 

Here are some examples of permissiveness and crossing boundaries: 

– Sending or receiving unsolicited conversation screenshots because it seems someone is interested in you (knowing that you are in a relationship), accepting them as something normal, and not calling the behavior out. 

– Allowing family members and others to have an opinion about your relationship, till the moment, that you don’t see your partner anymore as he/she is, but how these people perceive. 

– Uncompromising with your partner but extremely passive and “go with the flow” with others. 

– Oversharing deepest concerns and fears with others while robbing the opportunity of connection from your partner. 

– Lack of acknowledgment of your partner’s feelings, but very disturbed of what others think and acting out to please them. 

Permissiveness is the antidote to desire, emotional attraction, and intimate connection. As Gottman points out, in a committed relationship, we should maintain boundaries in our other relationships as a way to maintain not only the privacy of our commitment but also protect our partners. 

Sadly, commitment is not about buying a house or having kids together. Commitment requires no safety net to escape when things go wrong, requires all eggs in the same basket, and finally erasing the mindset of “I can do better vs someone better is waiting for me!”. It is cherishing what we already have even when it seems boring. And making who we adore a priority. 

How to create boundaries: 

1. Stay open-minded to your partner. 

2. Stand next to them when disagreements arise with others. 

3. Be conscious that everyone possesses an individual blueprint of what intimacy, couplehood, and commitment mean. Negotiate it. 

4. Do not let others step into your relationship. And express it using your voice and body language in respectful ways. 

5. Do not allow any behavior from others that will disrespect your partner’s core beliefs. 

6. Give yourself and your partner permission to be present for you and act as a team. 

To understand more about boundaries, check this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SS7VinJF8pc

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if everyone is doing the same, and permission is the new skill to prosper in the “modern” world. Real relationships are made by boundaries and by respect for our partner’s needs and core values. 

Wishing you well,



Vrangalova, Z., Bukberg, E. R., Rieger, G. (2014). Birds of a feather? Not when it comes to sexual permissiveness. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 31(1), pp. 94-113.


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