Healthy Boundaries In Relationships & How To Set Them

Gwen Adams

Boundaries in relationships

People have a misconception that when they are in love, there should be no boundaries between them. The truth is, boundaries play a very crucial role in a relationship. When two partners are clear about their limits, it lays the stone to form a strong foundation for a healthy relationship.

Even before you communicate your boundaries to your partner, you must be self-aware of your own horizons and life goals.

What Are Healthy Boundaries in Relationships?

Boundaries help couples build emotional and mental stability in their romantic relationship. It means that they respect and honour each other’s individual preferences and personalities.

Boundaries represent comfort, respect, and love for one another. While setting boundaries, we are expressing our core principles in life. If your partner doesn’t take any interest or frequently oversteps the boundary, then it’s evident that they do not respect you.

Setting up healthy boundaries in a relationship goes a long way. Only if you have the space to evolve as an individual, will you be able to grow in the relationship. Boundaries can be physical or emotional, and it is crucial to recognize the unhealthy boundaries set by your partner. If the boundaries set are restrictive, pull you away from growth or make you feel negative, then it is a sign of poor boundaries.

There are various types of boundaries – physical, emotional, sexual, and financial. Setting up emotional boundaries is just as crucial as we set physical boundaries. For example, asking your partner to be available when you want to talk or validating each other’s feelings.

Physical boundaries consist of things like showing lesser PDA or knocking the poor when walking into a room. Whereas sexual boundaries can include – when you aren’t comfortable becoming intimate in the initial stages of your relationship, or your limitations to exploring sexual position, or even discussions on unprotected sex.

Poor boundaries and neediness are a reflection of codependency and low self-esteem. This can eventually lead to a toxic relationship. It’s not just about setting boundaries but also respectfully communicating with your partner.

Some Healthy Boundaries in Relationships

It is crucial that you are setting realistic boundaries to avoid frictions. Otherwise, it would become very one-sided and unfair towards your partner. To maintain balance and manage relationship stress, setting up healthy boundaries is the key ingredient. Here are some ways that will help to set healthy boundaries in relationships.

Some Healthy Boundaries in Relationships

Saying no to things

We all have certain limitations and it is important that we respect our own limitations first before accepting someone else’s. Many people find it easier to compromise their own needs rather than communicate the problem. It is also because they fear upsetting their romantic partner. If you keep compromising in the long run, you will start to get mentally exhausted and the frustration will get bottled up.

Expecting Respect

A relationship is about love, compassion, and respect. If your partner does not respect you, then it is better to end such a toxic relationship. Every individual deserves love and kindness. If you’re in a relationship with someone who talks or behaves disrespectfully, aggressively, or with selfish motives, then this is your cue to move away from them. There is nothing wrong with expecting respect from your partner.

Finding Your Identity Outside of the Relationship

Do not indulge yourself so much in a relationship that you don’t get the time to focus own needs. It is crucial to have your own person’s developments. Only if you grow individually will you be able to grow as a companion. Do not forget your priorities by always giving more emphasis to your relationship. Focus on your hobbies, career, passions, and self-growth.

Asking for Space

We all reach a point in life where we require some alone time with our overwhelming emotions to deal with them. In such situations, convey how you’re feeling to your partner respectfully. There are possibilities they may feel you are pushing them away from you. Even though that wasn’t your intention.

Spending time with yourself will open you to building a deeper connection with yourself. It is part of self-care. If you refrain from asking for space from the fear of losing your partner, eventually you will get mentally tired and your partner may feel that you are neglecting them. Hence, it is better to be upfront about your needs.

Communicating Discomfort

Communication is the key to every relationship. You might have heard this time and again from people with years of successful romantic courtship together. Whether a comment hurts you or your partner’s actions, let them know how you feel about it. Restate your boundaries and also the repercussions of such repeated behaviours. Make sure you communicate with mutual respect and fairly.

Choosing to be Vulnerable

Expressing one’s vulnerability should be a choice and not a demand. If either of you needs time to understand each other before expressing and sharing their vulnerable side, then respect that space. Do not pressurise them to reveal everything to you.

Every couple goes through different stages of a relationship. During the initial period, not everyone feels comfortable sharing their deepest secrets or life goals. You must feel comfortable and safe to communicate your experiences and vulnerabilities.

The Freedom to Express Sexual Boundaries

Intimacy is a natural part of a romantic relationship. It is always exciting and fun to be with your partner and explore each other’s sexual fantasies. Expressing one’s boundary in sex can be a little intimidating and sometimes awkward for a few people.

Always remember every progress you make in bed, must be with consent. Also, make sure your partner is feeling comfortable when opening up to newer horizons. Never pressurise your partner to indulge in new fantasies without prior discussions.

The Ability to Communicate Physical Needs

Physical boundaries and sexual boundaries are completely different. Physical needs are more about your personal boundaries. For example, knocking on the door before entering your room, sleeping early because you have meetings or appointments the next day, staying indoors when you’re feeling blue, and so on.

Also, it is important to be aware of your partner’s physical needs and respect their boundaries as well. Complaining about not spending time together when they have an early morning the next day is unfair.

Your Right to Your Material Possessions

When setting boundaries in a relationship, make sure you also discuss material possessions because both of you have the right to decide what they want for themselves if they have paid for it. Do not force your partner to keep something they don’t want to keep. Similarly, do not force them to throw away or give away something that is important to them.

Financial boundaries

Many people overlook the need for financial boundaries in romantic relationships. Studies have shown that setting up boundaries involving money is hard and hence it is significant that you determine spending limits.

You and your partner may have separate personal lives beyond the relationship and separate expenses that occur outside the relationship. Having clarity on how much you and your partner will share your monetary inputs to manage your combined expenses is very significant and will also help you in a long way.

How to Set Boundaries in Relationships

How to Set Boundaries in Relationships

Setting boundaries in a relationship can help both partners to set their limits and get you closer to your partner. It helps you get a clear picture of how much you and your partner are willing to give or sacrifice in the relationship. Before setting up the boundaries ask some relationship questions to your partner.

1. Before you set boundaries in a relationship, it is necessary to realize why they are important to you because a personal boundary defines your self-esteem and identity.

2. Avoid being too pushy, assertive, or unreasonable because a relationship is about love, respect, and compassion. Communicate with respect and kindness. Screaming and fighting over a boundary you’ve set is unhealthy.

3. Set boundaries that are healthy and practical. You cannot expect your partner to spend all their time with you. For example, avoid saying things like – “Do not go out alone without me, you know how possessive I feel towards you” or “I cannot tell my friends that I’m dating you, because they’ll feel jealous that I’m spending all my time with you”.How to Set Boundaries in Relationships

4. Always be honest and straightforward about your feelings. Your partner will appreciate and understand your limits. Do not twist your words or make indirect gestures, leaving your partner to figure out your reasons. This will not only create misunderstandings but also frictions between both of you over silly matters.

5. Realize when to draw the line. Do not push yourself or your partner to an extent that both of you start feeling uncomfortable. In the long run, both of you may start feeling emotionally exhausted, which can pile up into a fight.

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Nobody likes unnecessary interference in their lives. We all need some space for personal growth and to achieve our life goals. Only if you are able to flourish individually, can you grow with your partner in the long term. Boundaries minimize conflicts with your partner because it serves as a precedent of expectations. It may be scary or vulnerable in the beginning to express yourself and your emotions.

If your partner truly loves you, they will respect and also value your limitations. If your partner doesn’t, then they’re not the one. This practice will help you scrutinize various people.


Is setting up relationship boundaries necessary?

Setting boundaries is significant to avoid unnecessary conflicts, build trust and understanding in a relationship.

What to do when your partner crosses your boundaries?

Communicate and express your concern to your partner. Restate your boundaries and convey the way you feel.

Do relationship boundaries work?

Setting up a relationship boundary is a sign of a healthy relationship. It not only rings clarity about each other’s preferences and limits but also builds trust.

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