Every relationship has its ups and downs. That doesn't necessarily mean that it is unhealthy. Times can get tough, and communication doesn't always work out the way you want. Sometimes, all a relationship needs are some solid boundaries.
What Are Boundaries in a Relationship?
Boundaries are lines you draw to benefit and protect yourself in a relationship. Setting a boundary doesn't mean you are pushing your partner away. It simply means you are standing up for yourself and aiming for a healthier relationship. Everyone deserves to be in a relationship where they are happy, safe, and treated as equals.
Common Healthy Boundaries in a Relationship
Here are some of the boundaries you may want to consider setting in your relationship:
At some point, you will both want some alone time. Whether you want to scroll through social media or listen to some music, you need to keep some amount of independence in a relationship. In order to prevent co-dependence, you should designate moments in solitude so that your whole world doesn't revolve around your partner. It is easy to fall into that pattern.
Your family and friends are yours, so you get to decide how the interactions go. If you aren't ready for your partner to meet your mom, they will not meet her. That is up to you to decide, and your partner should respect those decisions. Go at the pace you are comfortable with and don't allow someone to push you to a place you aren't ready to go.
When in a serious relationship, anything you add to the situation should be decided on by both of you. Whether you want to welcome a dog into your home, or you're considering having a child, it is the type of decision that you both need to 100 percent agree on. Big future life decisions are a team effort, especially if you want that person to be a part of your future as well.
Everyone is entitled to their own privacy. If you are genuine and committed, you deserve to be able to keep some things to yourself. Some people don't want to open up at all times or don't want to talk about their day right away. That doesn't mean they are hiding things from anyone, and it just means they need some patience and privacy. You are allowed to be your own person, and a little smudge of independence won't hurt anyone.
What you share
Financially, what you share is a big concern. If you aren't ready to go all-in financially, you need to communicate with your partner and set boundaries on which you can both agree. You still need to stand your ground and focus on what is important to you no matter what.
Some people jump right into a relationship without discussing what the relationship means to them. You need to set boundaries with your partner on your levels of commitment. It is important to discuss what you consider cheating, how open the relationship is, and if you both plan on going for long-term. If their boundaries and answers disappoint you, it may be time to move on.
Intimacy is crucial for any relationship and should be utilized in a way that makes both of you happy. What you are comfortable with within the bedroom, in public, and around your family/friends should be discussed. If you don't want to get involved with PDA, set that boundary ahead of time. What keeps you comfortable and enables you to feel safe, especially physically and emotionally, is important.
How do you work things out when you get into a big fight? If you don't talk about this ahead of time, you could fall into a toxic pit of constant arguments. Setting boundaries for how you'd like to deal with disagreements is essential for a healthy relationship. It may keep you from saying things you don't mean. Whether you both agree on a half-hour of cool-off time or hugging it out, it will help you both get over yourselves.
How to Set Relationship Boundaries
Learning to set boundaries is important since you may need to do it on more than one occasion. If you set boundaries and don't feel like they are being respected, you may need to repeat this process. It may take more than one talk to show your partner the importance of your personal boundaries.
1. Be prepared.
Know your boundaries ahead of time. Take the days before to think about what you want in a relationship, and have those boundaries ready and prepared. It will be beneficial for you to do this to stay strong and be assertive with what you need.
2. Make time for the initial conversation.
This won't be the type of conversation you can have in passing in a quick five minutes. You need to set aside time and privacy to talk about boundary setting. You'll want the both of you to be able to speak in private so that it is just about your relationship and no one else.
3. Speak your feelings.
Tell them how you feel, and explain why these boundaries are important to you. A good partner will value what you have to say and listen to and respect your words. Be genuine and honest, and try to open up and be vulnerable.
4. Be loving and kind.
To ensure a healthy conversation on your part, be gentle with what you are saying. There is no need to get aggressive or call them out for things. Trying to stay on a positive note will lead to a more beneficial conversation for both of you.
5. Be open to compromise.
In order to respect your partner, you may want to consider a compromise on some boundaries. Finding common ground is a great place to start. Of course, if it is a boundary you cannot budge on, then do not falter.
6. Stand your ground.
If you find yourself considering compromise, but the final boundary doesn't seem to be very evenly split in the decision, stand your ground. How you feel is important, and some people will get defensive or try to manipulate you into feeling guilty. Do not feel bad for sticking to what makes you feel safe and happy.
7. Return the favor.
While setting your own boundaries, allow your partner to discuss and set some of their own. A healthy relationship exhibits boundaries on both sides, and both partners have mutual respect for each other. Try to give your partner the same listening ears they gave you and value how they feel as well.
Why Are Boundaries Important?
There are plenty of reasons why boundaries are essential for any relationship. Here are a few:
You want to be able to feel safe and comfortable with your partner.
Protecting your feelings and your heart is completely normal and natural for anyone.
In order to prevent toxic codependency, boundaries are a great way to give yourself a little room for independence.
You won't be able to be truly happy if there are things in your relationship that don't make you feel good or comfortable. Your relationship should be able to be your happy place.
5. Healthy relationship.
To provide a long-lasting healthy relationship, you need to be able to have mutual respect for each other and listen to the boundaries that you both set.
When Is the Right Time to Set Boundaries?
There may not be a specific time that is perfect for this conversation. But you should try to set the boundaries as early on into the relationship as possible. Choose a moment where things are peaceful, and you are both calm. It may not be a great idea to bring up the initial conversation after a big fight. But the fight could be a learning lesson for what kind of boundaries you want to set, so just try a little bit of patience.
At some point, you will have to speak up about what is important to you to ensure that you are getting the most out of the relationship that you are in. It is always better to bring this up sooner rather than later.
The task of setting boundaries in your relationship can be difficult or scary, but it is so important for any relationship. You deserve a relationship that feels good for you and one where you can be your best self.
Stand up for yourself and your beliefs. If your partner refuses to work with you, it may be time to move on. There are plenty of people who will cherish the idea of boundaries because they want a long-lasting relationship with you. In the end, it is all about how much you value each other and what you truly want from the relationship itself.