Poor Boundaries in Fifty Shades of Grey

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So, like many other women, (and probably men too!) I read Fifty Shades of Grey. I can absolutely see why it might seem sexy and romantic. Who doesn’t want a hot billionaire? But, I was reading it from the point of view of someone who wants to build boundaries for successful, equal relationships, so I found Anastasia Steele’s poor boundaries very frustrating! For those who aren’t familiar, Ana and Christian are the female and male leads. She’s a naive virgin, (well, that is she *was* a virgin,) and he’s a sexy, controlling billionaire. She wants a relationship with him, but he wants to dominate her entire life and practice BDSM without a standard relationship. A lot of people think the situation is abusive–not because of the BDSM, but because of many other issues which include his stalking her, getting jealous of her male friends and invading her space when she tries to take a break to think things over.

What struck me is that throughout this entire book Ana wants Christian to be a different man for her, but because he cannot and will not change, she accepts a lot of things she doesn’t like just to be with him in hopes that he will become the romantic man she really wants and give her a real relationship. How many of us have done that? Stuck with someone that can’t give us what we want because they are so attractive or sexy that we hope they will come around to our points of view? Frankly, that’s a waste of time. It isn’t fair to try to change someone and it’s not fair to ourselves to give up what we want and need for all the wrong reasons. You just can’t love someone enough to turn them into a different person!

Over and over, Ana thinks to herself that Christian is arrogant, controlling, crazy, freaky, abusive, psycho and more. She says he scares her, that she should run from him, and she admits that he is not good for her…but then says she is going to go along with his demands anyway because she’s in love with him. Argghhhh!!! Ladies, if you have been this woman…don’t! Don’t do a bunch of things you don’t want to do with someone you think is crazy just because there’s sexual chemistry. And honestly, that’s about all they have in common in the book. That’s just not enough for a relationship. And who wants a confusing relationship where you are always on the verge of leaving anyway? If you are spending most of your time worrying that your “boyfriend” is a weirdo who doesn’t even want to be your boyfriend, it might be time to find a real boyfriend!

Several times in the book, Ana feels sorry for Christian and feels angry that he was introduced to sex and BDSM as a teenager with an older woman. Ana sees him as a sad, broken victim. Yet another red flag. Relationships shouldn’t be about pitying the other person, trying to fix them or trying to love their inner demons away. That’s more like codependency.

I’ve hung on to people who didn’t want the same things I wanted or who made me miserable with hopes that I could change them or get them to see the light. It doesn’t happen. It’s just wasting your time when you could move along to find the person who does want what you want. (And doesn’t stalk you or sell your car against your wishes!)

All through the book, (even the steamy sex scenes,) I kept wanting to yell “Ana, go find a guy who isn’t broken and wants what you want instead of giving up your emotional needs to fix someone!” Helping people is fine, but relationships should not be fixer-upper situations.

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