“Stewart and Shannon were dealing with one of the most pervasive problems of intimate partnership, the drawing of personal boundaries. Boundaries exist on two levels: behavioral and emotional. Behavioral boundaries refer to the preferred amount of togetherness in a relationship. The second, emotional, level has to do with distinguishing which thoughts and feelings and wishes are within the self and which are within the partner.

According to Murray Bowen, there are two major human needs: the need to be a separate self and the need to be connected to others. Although it’s possible to satisfy both needs, there is a tension between them, and most people lean either in the direction of being connected or of being independent. This inner tension between autonomy and intimacy is related to the outer pattern of togetherness and separateness that Salvador Minuchin referred to as enmeshment and disengagement.” (Inside Family Therapy: A Case Study in Family Healing by Michael P. Nichols, pp. 44)