Setting healthy boundaries is essential for a healthy relationship. Relationship boundaries are those dos and don’ts binding a relationship. They are those behaviours you will, and will not accommodate in your relationship. For instance: “You can kiss or romance me at home but not in the public” and “I will tolerate any negative behaviour except physical or emotional abuse.” “If you ever cheat on me, I quit the relationship.” etc.
Setting boundaries in a relationship shouldn’t be only when you feel neglected, anxious or unhappy in your relationship. It should be communicated right there, at the beginning of the relationship.
Lack of boundaries in a relationship can negatively affect your self-esteem, and can equally cause depression, as you feel inferior or unimportant to your partner.
Importance of setting healthy boundaries in a Relationship
1. It helps you to evaluate your relationship
Strong boundaries help you to measure whether your relationship is still healthy or not. Crossing those boundaries will be a red flag, pointing out the dangers ahead. It is left to you to consider them deal-breakers or not.
So, it is important to set boundaries in a relationship to know whether your partner will respect and value your opinions and rights.
2. It brings respect and value
Clearly stating some limits in your relationship attracts value and respect from your significant other, especially, if they’ve been taking you for granted.
It shows you know what is good for you, and are likely to make a good decision and stand by it. Your inability to communicate those feelings to your partner may cause them to control, manipulate or take you for granted. That is why you need to set some guidelines for yourself and your significant other.
3. It enhances the understanding between both of you
You don’t expect your partner to know every in and out of you without telling them.
Setting boundaries will help your significant other to have a better understanding of who you are, and your expectations in the relationship. For those needs to be met, it is necessary to say them out and set some limitations for both of you.
So, it helps your partner to understand how you want to be treated. It also ensures that your relationship is built on mutual respect and love.
Tips for setting healthy boundaries in a relationship
Here are a few tips that will help you to establish and enforce boundaries with your partner in a relationship.
1. Know what you want first
What are your expectations in the relationship?
Are there things your partner is not doing that you are expecting from them?
Before you proceed to communicate your feelings or thoughts with your partner, it is necessary to know your core values, first.
It will not only help you to express yourself in the right manner but will also help your partner to understand your feelings.
For instance, figure out every habit in your partner that infuriates or turns you off.
Whether the way they spend money, or how they make you feel most times.
2. Communicate your feelings to your partner
Be honest with your communication. Tell them how you feel when they exhibit some characters, and why they should stop it.
It is also important to tell your partner what they are likely to see when they cross the boundary. But you should address them with meekness, not as if you are having some issues already.
3. Stand by your decision
It is necessary to stand firm on the guidelines you’ve presented before your partner. Do not quickly adjust to show how caring you are.
Consider your partner while establishing boundaries in your relationship. But stand by your decision and execute the rules and regulations.
If you fail to act on your decision, they will find some excuses to continue with their actions.
But do not be afraid to confront them if they cross those boundaries.
4. Know when it’s time to quit
If your partner is not giving you the respect you deserve, then breaking up with him/her can be the best option.
Everyone in a relationship has their values and dislikes. It is important to respect those values and avoid those things that hurt their emotion.
But if your partner insists, you can move on instead of being in an unhealthy relationship.
Healthy boundaries to establish in your relationship
Below are some relationship boundaries to consider to keep your relationship healthy and stronger.
1. Physical boundaries
Physical boundaries include your privacy, your body and personal time alone.
You should set some limits on how your partner should handle your privacy. For instance, accessing your social media account without your permission.
If your partner abuses you, it is also important to set boundaries on that too. Tell them what you are likely to do next time they abuse you.
Also, space is an important factor that helps relationships to work. If your partner always wants to be around you, without even giving you a little space to engage in activities you enjoy, it is also necessary to set this boundary.
You need some time alone to take care of yourself. Every now and then shouldn’t be a time to communicate with your partner.
2. Family boundaries
Most people do not allow their partner to visit their family or friends. If you find yourself in this state, you should set a boundary.
Or that your partner always brings in a third party to resolve some relationship problems you have, even when you can handle them alone. You should equally establish this type of boundary if such action continues.
It is also important to tell them what you may likely do if they cross the boundary.
3. Emotional boundaries
This includes sacrificing your needs to please your significant other, blaming you for everything they have done wrong, and unwillingness to apologize to you.
If you find it irritating, then you should discuss your feelings with your partner and set boundaries around it.
Emotional boundaries can also be seen as the rules and regulations guiding how your partner treats you. For instance, gaslighting you.
4. Sexual boundaries
Sexual boundaries are your expectations around physical intimacy. It includes what is okay and isn’t okay for you sexually.
Are there certain positions or times you don’t like having sex? Places you don’t like being touched? Or the frequency of your sex with your partner?
You should also discuss your expectations around others involved in your self-life. For instance, cheating on you. Discuss them with your partner.
Establishing sexual boundaries can keep your sex life healthy and happy.
5. Financial boundaries
Is your partner extravagant? Then you should consider establishing this type of boundary.
Financial boundaries are all about money. It includes how and when you want your money to be spent.
If you are having a monetary problem with your partner, consider opening a joint account and set some boundaries on how the money will be spent.
You may have different views about money, or different goals. Discussing your financial expectations will help you pursue those aspirations without having some financial issues with your partner.
What to do when those boundaries are crossed in your relationship
Here are 2 things to do when your relationship boundaries are not respected by your partner.
Good communication is the key to resolving every relationship problem.
If your partner isn’t respecting your boundaries, call their attention. Discuss the issue with them again and let them know how it is affecting you emotionally.
It is also important to know that your partner isn’t perfect. They are likely to make mistakes. So, if they acknowledge their mistakes and apologize to you, go ahead and forgive them.
2. If it is getting out of hand, move on
If after discussing with your partner, they still continue with their action, then it is time to let go.
You shouldn’t be tied down with a partner who doesn’t respect your wishes, let alone of adding value to your life.