How to Set Healthy Boundaries in a Relationship? (With Examples)

Boundaries in relationships are the margin lines that differentiate you from your partner. They tell you your limitations from where you can start and what your ending point is.

A classical American poet Robert Frost once said,

“Good fences make good neighbors and healthy boundaries avoid disputes in relationships.”

Setting healthy boundaries in relationships defines what you are and what you are not.

It helps to understand where you are going to end and from where your significant other will start. These boundaries define your limitations in the relationship and do not harm the individuality of the partners.

Even being in a relationship, they are allowed to have their privacies alive without any fear of glare.

Types of Boundaries in a Relationship.

There are five examples of boundaries in a relationship.

1) Emotional Boundaries

Emotional boundaries help partners to maintain their privacy. If one is emotionally upset by some sudden shock, the other should not put their head to fix it then and there. Even among partners, some emotions are hard to describe. In such circumstances, one should be allowed to have their privacy and not be disturbed unless they ask for help.

2) Physical Boundaries

Physical boundaries define, being partners, what you want from each other, and what not. They help to understand partners how far and near they feel comfy with each other physically. 

For example, if one partner feels uncomfortable being kissed in a public place, the other should understand their point of view and should not carry on so.

3) Mental Boundaries.

A healthy boundary in a relationship allows thinking freely. Both the partners have some goals to achieve in their lives. They need a specific time and their own room to think freely. 1

For this free thinking and planning for the future, one should be allowed to say “No” when they are not available.

4) Sexual Boundaries.

Partners, especially husband and wife, are considered one flesh, and they are allowed to enjoy physical intimacy. But marital life is not just about physical relations. 2

Sexual boundaries help partners to respect each other’s interests regarding sexual interests. If one is uncomfortable with a specific touch, position, or time of intimacy, they should tell their partner about their concerns and these concerns should be alleviated.

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5) Economic Boundaries

Economic or money boundaries help to manage finance between partners. It saves from the extravaganza mindsets and further assists in improving the quality of life. 

If one is earning with plod and the other is spending extravagantly, it will bring chaos to the relationship. Setting money boundaries is to make a budget for each of the partners. 

Economic Boundaries in a relationship - spending money GIF

Basic necessities should be materialized but one should have the courage to say “no” when they notice that other is spending lavishly.

Why Healthy Boundaries are Important in a Relationship?

Healthy boundaries are important in relationships as they denote what are your limitations, what are your responsibilities, where you can start, and which are your margin lines

These boundaries give you a sense of ownership and freedom and further define for which areas in the relationship you are responsible and which are not yours to deal with. You own your own life and you have your own choices and options to consider freely.

Why is it Important to Set Boundaries in a Relationship?

Setting healthy boundaries in a relationship gives you space for self-care and develops your self-esteem. You are in a better position to communicate your desires and needs with your partner. You get enough time for optimistic and favorable interactions. 

By creating healthy boundaries in their relationship, both the partners empower themselves and it helps to eradicate the ” Shame, blame” culture. Both the partners are in a better position to protect their self-respect and enjoy their healthy relationship.

How to Set Healthy Boundaries in a Relationship - by RelationCounseling.Org

How to Set Healthy Boundaries in a Relationship?

You can set healthy boundaries in your relationship by adopting one rule. And it is, “I shall not do the things to my partner that I don’t want them to do with me. The behavior and treatment that I don’t want for myself I shall not enforce on my partner.”

Make Rules and Enforce them.

A life without rules brings chaos. Rules are important in civic as well as in relationship life. They make it convenient to make decisions without being stressed. Making the rules and enforcing them gives the partners a sense of predictability even during tough times in the relationship.

For healthy relationship boundaries, make rules and never violate them. Rules will promote emotional and physical safety.

From the kitchen to the car and the living room to the study room, make rules, understand them, enforce them, and stay away from daily, “You did, I did not do, who did? You should, I should not.”

Rules are important to set healthy boundaries in a relationship
Rules are important to set healthy boundaries in a relationship

For your convenience, some of these rules can be understood as:

✍ Be a master in adjustment and stay faithful to your partner.
✍ Accept your partner wholeheartedly with their merits and demerits.
Communication is key to a healthy relationship. Feed your relationship with it from time to time.
✍ Relationship will give you what you put into it. Put your heart and enjoy an oasis of love.
✍ “I love you” should not only be said and heard. It should be felt and seen in the actions.
Respect him, respect her. Mix it and have a respectable relationship.
✍ Don’t judge or speculate about your partner, rather understand them.
✍ Don’t be a quiet bird in a relationship. Be energetic to ensure your healthy presence.
✍ Give importance to feelings and your partner over materialistic things.
✍ Learn, that humans are different. The same is the case with you people. Respect each other’s differences.
When they are silent it doesn’t mean they are angry. Hold on and let them be with themselves for some time.
✍ Don’t give more prestige to money and never compare your relationship with others.
✍ If you get angry with them, hold on for some seconds to respond. It will help you in being polite even in hard times.
✍ Appreciate them for their loving and caring gestures as it is an appreciation that encourages them to do more.
Never tell a lie. Never be suspicious. If you have concerns, talk straightforwardly. Have trust and be trusted.
✍ Sweetness of the tongue will save you from the bitterness of the relationship. Always have it under your tongue while speaking with them.

Divide the Responsibilities.

Being a man does not mean they are a beast of burden. Being a woman does not mean they are all delicate convolutions. Both are humans. Both are capable to perform the daily functioning of life to meet their necessities.

Men can do everything. Women can do even the things that men can’t do in their “everything.” Both are powerful and have their individuality. Both should share responsibilities in life as it makes the relationship life easy and valuable.

Divide the Responsibilities is another way to set healthy boundaries in your relationship - respnsibilities GIF

One of the healthy boundaries in relationships is the division of responsibilities. Both the partners can divide their household affairs. If both are working outside to meet their needs, then it becomes more important to divide the responsibilities so that both of them can be at ease.

Dividing the responsibilities saves from many disputes. Everybody knows about their assigned affairs and they do it without being recalled.

Respect Their Privacy.

A room of one’s own is their privacy. When they are in their room, they should not be disrupted at any cost. The room does not mean just room, room means a world of their own in which they are allowed to live and think on their own by maintaining their individuality. 3

In setting healthy relationship boundaries, respecting the partner’s privacy is prime. “Don’t disturb” sign board is not to be put on the walls of the room. Partners should put it in their minds that privacy is a boundary and it should be obeyed.

Things that they don’t want to reveal to you, don’t be suspicious about them. And even don’t try to peep through them illegally. It will damage the relationship.

Say Absolutely “Not” Definitely “Yes”

Healthy boundaries in relationships allow partners to say “absolutely not” and “definitely yes” without fear of glare. What they want to do and can do, they are available for that. What they don’t like and are not able to perform, their “not” is also welcomed without being frowned upon.

It develops mutual understanding and makes the partners bolder about their decisions.

Don’t Develop Enmeshment.

Enmeshment is the over-engagement of one partner with the other. If one is having some serious problems, the other can’t help sitting with ease. It sounds appreciable. 4

Apparently, there is nothing offensive in it, but it creates a hindrance in the way of nourishment of one’s own. When the partners are enmeshed, their individualities are spoiled. One should know how to deal with their problems. 

what is healthy boundaries in a relationship

If the other shows over-affection, the first can’t grow itself without facing and handling the difficulties of life. There is no doubt that too much distance can harm the relationship, the same is the case with too much closeness. 

It leads to boredom and partners get fed up with each other after a considerable time. Enmeshment, by itself, seems to create heavenly love, but actually, it’s not. Be clear with your partner that they should deal with their personal affairs on their own and should consult you when they have tried everything but the results were not in their favor.

The healthy boundary is not to be enmeshed with your partner, as it will blend both of you and your individuality will be submerged.

healthy boundaries in a relationship - Infographic by relationcounseling.org
all points in one image.

In Short.

Healthy relationships are yielded by healthy boundaries. Maintaining healthy boundaries demands dedication and attention from both partners. In today’s world, it may sound strange to talk about setting the boundaries between spouses who are considered one flesh, but there will be a day when everyone will acknowledge their importance.

Healthy boundaries define our relationships positively. They help in maintaining better mental and physical health. If mental and physical health has already deteriorated, setting these boundaries will bring recovery and adjustment.

Blending each other in one flesh fades away the personal identity. Setting healthy boundaries makes the relationship shine and strengthens it.

Your opinion is our union! 💕


References:
  1. Barbuto, J E; Plummer, B A. Mental Boundaries as a New Dimension of Personality. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality; Corte Madera, CA Vol. 13, Iss. 3, (Jan 1, 1998): 421. []
  2. Winslett AH, Gross AM. Sexual Boundaries: An Examination of the Importance of Talking Before TouchingViolence Against Women. 2008;14(5):542-562. []
  3. Lynne Web, Kristen Norwood, Linda R. Ennis, Demeter Press. Tending the privacy boundary between the married couple and the husband’s mother: Its impact on marital satisfaction and relationship solidarity. (pp.183-205). Chapter: 9. []
  4. Barber, B. K., & Buehler, C. (1996). Family Cohesion and Enmeshment: Different Constructs, Different Effects. Journal of Marriage and Family, 58(2), 433–441. []
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Psychology is my passion and keenly observing relationships fascinates me. Sigmund Freud to Albert Bandura and William James to Jean Piaget has been my priorities since I am there at university. read more

 

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