The What, Why, And How Of Boundaries In Relationships

Written by Harini Natarajan

Healthy boundaries in relationships are often underappreciated. But they are important to ensure mental well-being and self-esteem. Boundaries in a relationship protect you from getting hurt or taken advantage of. They do not limit your relationship but enable both of you to define your comfort levels and how you would like to be treated. They also boost your self-esteem and ensure emotional stability in the relationship. Let’s understand how you can set healthy boundaries in your relationship. Scroll down.

What Are Relationship Boundaries? Why Are They Important?

What Are Relationship Boundaries Why Are They Important

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Boundaries define what is acceptable and unacceptable to us in our relationships. They protect us by setting limits on what others can do to us or get from us.

Most of us take relationship boundaries for granted. Many people have a vague sense of what constitutes a boundary. And if they are aware, they let others cross their boundaries because they are afraid of conflicts. This causes resentment in relationships.

Here is an example:

Suppose your spouse is a spendthrift, but you never discussed the issue with them or asked them to be responsible with money. They go on with their shopping spree.

You feel resentful and angry but don’t say anything. Why? Because you are afraid of a conflict and argument. However, you feel resentful of their habit.

In such situations, boundaries define what is permissible and what is not. If we let others overstep them, they will continue to do so. Thus, boundaries are essential to maintain our relationships.

Having firm boundaries can help keep both partners from feeling hurt or angry, avoiding potential issues in a relationship. There are many types of boundaries in relationships, and they can often be confusing. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Types Of Boundaries In Relationships

1. Physical Boundaries

Physical Boundaries

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Physical boundaries in a relationship include limitations about touch, personal space, and physical needs. They dictate how or when a person is touched. Physical boundaries may differ for every person. For instance, your partner may prefer snuggling, but you do not like it. Discuss with your partner and set expectations regarding physical boundaries.

2. Sexual Boundaries

Physical intimacy should be consensual, and setting boundaries may ensure both of you are on the same page and there is no discomfort or unhappiness regarding sexual expression. Both partners should know exactly how much room for sexual experimentation lies in their relationship.

3. Time Boundaries

Couples also need to take out time for themselves. They might juggle work, family, kids, and multiple other tasks, but not spending quality time may affect the relationship. Time boundaries help the couples manage time and ensure that they reserve at least a day or a few hours for themselves to unwind outside work and family obligations.

4. Social Media Boundaries

Social Media Boundaries

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Social media can impact a relationship and trigger insecurities. For instance, your partner may prefer to share your relationship details online, while you like to keep private. Or they may still be friends with their ex on social media, which might be uncomfortable for you. Social media habits and activities can be overbearing, so discuss with your partner and set social media boundaries. This will protect your privacy and also prevent trust issues and misunderstandings.

5. Technology Boundaries

It is also important to set boundaries regarding technology. Both partners should understand what works best for the other. Setting technology boundaries includes focusing on spending phone-free or gadget-free quality time. Set a time for such activities (like scrolling through social media or playing online games) or make your bedroom a tech-free zone.

6. Emotional Boundaries

Emotional boundaries are about validating the feelings of both partners. They ensure that people respect others’ abilities to process emotional information. Emotional boundaries give an understanding of:

  • The amount of emotional energy that each partner is capable of handling.
  • Knowing when and what to share.
  • How to limit sharing in the case a partner responds poorly.

Here are some tips for setting healthy relationship boundaries.

Tips To Set Healthy Boundaries In Relationships

1. Be Tolerant

Be Tolerant

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It is crucial for partners to work together. Forcing someone to tolerate something that they are not comfortable with can negatively affect relationships.

To be more tolerant, take a step back and focus on the problem. Understand the feelings and perspective of your partner and processing emotions. This can help one make better decisions in life.

2. Communicate Effectively

Open communication is the best way forward in relationships. To last through difficult times, partners need to communicate what they feel without being hurtful or insulting. Communication is a key factor in setting healthy boundaries, and no one should feel pressured. Whenever facing an issue and dilemma, discuss it with your partner.

3. Proper Financial Management

Proper Financial Management

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It is common in relationships for one partner to control all finances. Thus, partners need to set financial boundaries together so that both of them are aware of where the money goes. Each person should be mindful of spending habits and be honest regarding the inflow and outflow of money.

Address issues like borrowing, debt, loans, mortgages, and other financial issues with the partner. Plan accordingly and set a monthly budget.

4. Conflict Management

It can be difficult for one partner in a relationship to shoulder responsibility when the other partner blames them outright. Hence, partners must acknowledge this pain and deal with it in a healthy manner. Conflict management is all about supporting the partner to overcome the issue and not hurt them. Listen to each other and empathize with their feelings. Acknowledge the issue, discuss it, and try to resolve it amicably.

5. Be Respectful

Be Respectful

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There is a difference between being assertive and being pushy and disrespectful. Be mindful of the tone and word choices while talking to your partner. Let them express themselves freely without being judged. Respect their wishes and privacy and acknowledge their feelings. This will help strengthen the relationship and set healthy boundaries.

To Conclude

In the end, relationships are all about striking the perfect balance while maintaining individuality. And setting boundaries helps maintain balance by minimizing conflict and set expectations. These pointers will help you understand how to approach the issue and set boundaries while respecting each other’s choices.

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As Chief Editor, Harini sets the tone and editorial direction for StyleCraze to deliver engaging, interesting, and authentic content revolving around women's health, wellness, and beauty. She has over 14 years of experience in content writing and editing for online media. She specializes in the areas of Beauty, Lifestyle, and Health & Wellness and is proficient in Medical Sciences (Biology, Human Anatomy and Physiology, and Biochemistry). Her background in Biomedical Engineering helps her decode and interpret the finer nuances of scientific research for her team. Harini is a certified bibliophile and a closet poet. She also loves dancing and traveling to offbeat destinations.