Healthy boundaries in a relationship are vital for anyone wanting to maintain a healthy relationship.
While most people understand physical boundaries, far fewer understand on a conscious level about mental, emotional and spiritual boundaries. Yet these things can have a far deeper impact on romantic relationships.
Everyone has behavior that they do, and likewise do not, find acceptable, in terms of themselves and what a partner may do.
Few couples ever actually communicate such things though, and as a result end up in situations where partners run over boundaries, causing discomfort, even hurt and pain on an emotional level, without realizing what they have done.
This is why setting boundaries and then maintaining them, is so important. Especially when you are intent on having a true love relationship.
Boundary Setting Helps Maintain And Build Respect In Healthy Relationships So True Love Can Flourish
Boundary Issues In Relationships
Everyone has boundaries, things they do, and do not, find acceptable.
Across every type of relationship, there are variations in what behavior we find acceptable. With friends and co-workers people are generally more lenient, and forgiving of bad behavior.
With family members, people are often a little stricter, holding them to higher standards and values.
For romantic partners those standards are often the highest.
There also tend to be more boundaries with successive levels of intimate relationships.
Understanding Boundaries In Relationships
For many there are various stages in relationships, and boundaries evolve with each levelling up of that relationship.
While in the dating phase, things are generally more easy going, partners are working out various things about each other, plus generally they feel less committed.
As partners progressively become more intimately involved, with their emotional connection deepening, expected standards of behavior tend to become stricter. Which can lead to a challenge in many relationships. Chiefly, that changing of standards.
Most people like to know where they stand, and unless something has been clearly communicated, will assume they’ve stayed in the right. Pair this with the fact that people see things from different perspectives, and challenges can arise all too easily.
Many people have boundaries in relationships regarding other relationships, specifically what they view as infidelity, working hours, involvement of other family members in their relationship, use of money, standards of living and much more.
Unless these things are clearly communicated, and standards agreed voluntarily between partners, then maintaining healthy boundaries becomes almost impossible.
Hence why, even though it may lack fun or seem tedious, boundary setting is vital for healthy relationships. It can be wise to review things from time to time too, just to keep on track.
Not Respecting Boundaries In Relationships
There are very distinct effects when people ignore, or fail to respect boundaries.
One reason for having healthy boundaries, is the maintenance of good mental health.
When boundaries are not respected, and run over, there are various mental health effects that arise. Starting with becoming unhappy, progressing into despair and depression, and on into even less pleasant things as the toxicity level increases.
Setting Boundaries Relationship Importance
When you each know where you stand, keeping each other happy, and keeping yourself happy, is easy. Most people want their partner to be happy.
When true love is involved, you are placing each other as top in each other’s lives.
When one partner is valuing other people, family members or friends, more highly than their life partner, issues are going to arise. Potentially painfully, either for one or both of them.
When it really is true love, relationship boundaries can be easily communicated, and will be happily maintained by both partners. When it is something other than true love, a scope of issues can arise, leading to situations such as a toxic relationship at worst.
Setting boundaries in relationships is important as it gives clear markers as to how you behave towards each other. Having been clearly communicated, you have obvious feedback as to how well your partner respects you. If there is zero respect, or very little, and the relationship becomes toxic, then leaving and moving on would be wise. Not least for your psychological well being.
Continual infringement of relationship boundaries, whether malicious or simply uncaring, results in a toxic relationship.
When you have communicated about boundaries, and your partner continues with the same type of behavior. Or, if your partner refuses to discuss boundaries, and continually exhibits behavior that results in your declining mental health. Or any other situation, wherein you are being reasonable, and your partner is repeatedly doing things they know bring you harm. Then you best move forward is to leave.
While forgiveness and compassion are very important elements of relationships, there are limits.
- First infringement – Gently educate them about it
- Second infringement – Shame on them, give them a reminder
- Third infringement – Shame on you, likely time to leave and move on
Toxic relationships are never good, for anyone. When you feel stuck in one, it is worth getting help from either a good coach or mental health professional to process and move on from an ex, plus to best prepare for a loving relationship. Never stay in a toxic relationship, it will only bring you pain and unhappiness. There will be someone better for you, especially once you have learned to love yourself, and gained healthy esteem.
Healthy Boundaries And Self Esteem How They Interact
Healthy boundaries help to keep the self love and esteem of both partners at healthy levels. Toxicity in relationships will drag at least one partner, if not both, down and destroy their esteem.
In that your level of self love and esteem effects everything in your life, including work, relationships with friends and family, and various other things due to how it relates to success, having healthy esteem is vital for a happy, fulfilling life.
It is worth learning how to practice self love and achieve healthy self esteem as a result.
Another important note on self love and esteem, is that when people have healthy levels of these things, they generally have fewer issues with boundaries in relationships, largely as they attract more respectful, and respectable, partners.
When you value yourself in a healthy manner, other people tend to do so too.
How To Set Boundaries In Relationship
When you are going to set healthy boundaries in relationships, it needs to be done with care.
This is something which can be very emotive for some people. Issues of trust can come up. When a person has a fixed or negative mindset, then can at times feel criticized or even under attack, even if the intent is to create harmony and happiness. Hence again why setting boundaries can be so important, it removes ambiguity from situations.
How To Establish Boundaries In Relationships
Firstly, before even talking with your partner, you will need to work out what is important, and acceptable behavior, to you. Only when you know what you expect, on a conscious level, can you communicate clearly with someone else about what you want and expect. Knowing what you want and expect, will enable you to easily communicate and seek agreement with your partner.
Communicating Boundaries In Relationships
Good communication skills are vital at this point.
Depending on your relationship, and training, then looking into how neuro linguistic programming can improve relationships, by improving communication skills, can be wise.
Partners need to be very attentive, highly focused, during these discussions. Sometimes there is more being said through tone of voice, or physiology, body language, than there is through the exact words themselves.
Equally well, words can at times have multiple interpretations, along with both implied and inferred meanings.
Simplifying communication, maintaining calm and smooth flow, is incredibly important.
When people feel stressed their communication can change, often with their perception of what is being said. As such, stress can lead to misunderstandings and conflict, things which are best removed from any conversations where setting boundaries is involved.
Keep calm, talk in a steady even way, keeping the language as simple as possible dependent on how you and your partner communicate best. Obviously, having a partner feel like you are talking to them like a child would be unproductive and potentially harmful to your relationship. Judge the situation carefully, and communicate appropriately, with compassion and forgiveness.
Location When Setting Healthy Boundaries In Relationships
Setting healthy boundaries in relationships is more important than most people realize, and getting it done effectively requires great care.
Having boundaries that are respected helps ensure neither partner will feel uncomfortable due to the other’s behavior.
So taking care when setting those boundaries is wise. Think carefully about the physical space that you will use when talking about them. Going to a public space, even if it’s a relaxing cafe, may be productive or counter productive based on each person’s state of mind.
It can be best to spend time at home, in a quite, calm space when setting boundaries together. For a new relationship, walking through a park, neutral territory, can be good.
The space needs to be calming, quiet, where neither person feels under threat of judgement from anyone. Both partners need to feel at ease in expressing themselves, and communicating without restriction. So pick your location for discussion wisely, and ideally jointly.
Setting Healthy Boundaries In A Relationship How To Do It Successfully
Setting healthy boundaries is much like a negotiation, the best results come through calm agreement, when there is an absence of threat.
In contrast to negotiations though, your ideal situation is one where both of you are in full agreement, needing only to check on nuances of meaning and intent.
When you have differences in values, differences in acceptable behavior, and lack of agreement, or negotiation that has you feel uncomfortable, then evaluating why you’re in that relationship could be wise.
In the case of true love, the mindset, values and beliefs of both partners are extremely well aligned, will practically zero disagreement. Especially when it comes to boundaries.
Healthy Boundaries To Set In A Relationship
Within relationships there are both healthy and unhealthy boundaries, knowing what they are, and how they differ, will help you get the best from your relationship, plus ensure it is a loving and nurturing one.
When you get these right together, it is much easier for true love to flow between you.
For healthy relationships, both partners should always feel respected.
You may dislike someone’s politics or point of view, you can still show them respect though.
Partner’s should never talk down to, or belittle, each other. Either in private or in public.
Always be respectful of each other.
Emotional boundaries are one thing that many can understand, personal boundaries in terms of space and physical boundaries are often important to some people.
While some want to hold and touch their partner at every opportunity, some partners are uncomfortable with public displays of affection. Caressing, touching a partner’s leg while in a restaurant can be too much, even if they are OK with it in private at home.
Understand what your partner’s boundaries are in terms of personal space, and whether they vary with location. You can talk with them about it, if you love them, you should always respect them though.
Physical Well Being
People have different standards for health and hygiene. This can include things to do with sleep, room temperature, nutrition, drinking, smoking and many other things.
For many people, drinking and smoking have become largely unacceptable. Largely due to their desire for good health, longevity, and at the core, quality of life. For many, issues around fertility and the ability to raise a family intersect with beliefs about health, especially with drinking and smoking.
We are all distinct individuals, with our own values and beliefs. If you’re intent on going to the gym six days a week, and you partner wishes to avoid exercise and just watch TV, that is their choice. When values mismatch, finding a better aligned partner would be wise. Never feel your partner should change for you. If they wish to change of their own free will, so be it, never force them though.
It is wise to set healthy boundaries around intellect and thinking. You may disagree with each others beliefs, everyone has a right to their own way of thinking though.
Chiefly, when partners disagree, they should never, ever, belittle each other. Whether in private or in public, belittling partners, or anyone else, is hugely disrespectful, and never necessary.
Gaslighting is also completely unacceptable.
In every truly loving relationship, partners support each other. They have mutual respect of each other, show compassion, nurture love and well being together. As such, any behavior to the contrary should be taken as an obvious signal that it is time for reinforcing boundaries, with ongoing overrun meaning it is time to break up.
Be with a partner who understands, accepts, and supports your beliefs and intellectual boundaries, and do the same for them.
Emotional boundaries can be challenging to define for a lot of people. They are however important to understand on the part of both people. While logic and intellectual boundaries can be understood relatively easily, knowing how someone will react on an emotional level to different stimuli is far more challenging.
As an example, in neuro linguistic programming the drop down through technique helps people release negativity, and negative connotations, from words. Words themselves are just things, yet for some people words such as mother or father, can hold so much emotional charge that a negative spiral ensues, regardless of the intent of communication.
Emotions are under the control of the person having them, never the person communicating.
There may be an intent to upset, or an intent to please, in all cases it is the choice of the person receiving in how to react. Hence why those who meditate often stay calm in challenging situations, they have learned to master their emotions and thoughts properly.
Never let your emotions control you, they are your emotions, and you have control over them.
That being the case, partners have an implicit duty to care for and be respectful of each other. With true love especially, there is an implicit focus of making your partner happier, and feeling loved. So even though you and your partner control your own feelings, you have a duty of care to each other.
In countries such as Japan, timeliness is valued highly. Japanese people, both Japanese ladies and men, consider being somewhere 15 minutes prior to an appointment, or date for that matter, as being on time. Being there are the stated time is often considered late, and highly disrespectful. In other countries and cultures, different views are held on time, with some places viewing 15 minutes after an agreed time as still being on time.
The point being that partners need to understand how they each value time, and then work to accommodate each other accordingly.
Once common point of contention being work, especially overtime.
When one partner is consistently late due to overtime, or or work issues, the person waiting can grow very uncomfortable, especially when they have communicated about it, and had agreement about the reduction of work time and being ‘home on time’ from the partner in question.
This again comes back to being respectful. True love only flows when partners feel supported by each other. If one is constantly late, it generally leads to negative emotions forming due to feelings of neglect. Even if the partner working late feels guilty, that is of little help.
Work can be challenging for many in a relationship. The cost of living must be met, though it also has to be balanced with time together. When the balance disappears, a situation of loss will arise, either financial or love. Partners will tolerate neglect for only so long before leaving. Set healthy boundaries, and then maintain them.
Unless you have complete domain over your own finances, and your partner has control over theirs, with neither of you needing to support the other, then agreements must be made.
This can be easy when dating, it gets more involved after marriage and moving in together.
Finance can cause a lot of stress, especially if each partner has different lifestyle aspirations.
The dating phase is a good time to gain understanding and agreement on what each of you want from life. Once you have agreements, stick to them. Granted, things change in life, jobs can be lost, new employment gained, pay increases achieved, even windfalls from investments, inheritance or the lottery. When there are changes to financial circumstances, talk with your partner about them, reach agreements.
Almost everyone has physical needs, though partners should never feel pressured or feel obligated into doing something they’re uncomfortable with.
Physical touch, and physical boundaries, can be incredibly emotive, and everyone has personal limits to their level of comfort. While sometimes a little growth and expansion can be good, so that partners can come into a point of harmony together, neither should ever feel overwhelmed, or unhappy about anything. Within any true love relationship, partners care for each other, and do things free from pressure, and from a point of self motivation, to make each other happy.
Never pressure your partner, ever.
Setting boundaries around sexual behavior is important, knowing what you each desire, what you are and are not happy with, and being clear about boundaries in so far as having other sexual partners, is very important. Most people, especially those seeking marriage or a committed relationship, wish to be their partner’s only partner.
If you want vastly different things, or have irreconcilable differences, perhaps finding a different partner would be wise.
Unhealthy Boundaries For Relationships
Unhealthy boundaries come as a result of controlling behavior, and are symptomatic of relationship abuse.
While there are necessary boundaries, there are also unnecessary, or abusive, ones. These things often come where a narcissistic partner is involved. Resulting in rules being laid out about who a person can socialize with, how much free time they have, and how their time must be spent.
Note, wanting someone home on time when they have agreed to be there in time for dinner, is different from saying they have to be home by 5:30p.m. every day.
Unhealthy boundaries stem from one partner controlling everything and directing it so they get what they want, without any real care for what the other person desires.
Boundaries And Relationships
Poor boundaries will always lead to issues, arguments and low self esteem for one or both partners, and edge them into what would essentially be an abusive or toxic relationship.
When you choose a life partner wisely many of the issues with boundaries disappear. You naturally view things in the same way, and have agreement on things due to shared values.
When there are differences of opinion, set boundaries as a matter of priority, for both of your happiness. Potentially going for relationship coaching together could be wise too.
Respecting Boundaries In Relationships
Whether it’s a boundary regarding physical intimacy, an emotional boundary, or something else, you should always have clear boundaries.
Taking advantage of blurred boundaries only serves to undermine any sense of love between partners.
Ensure you and your romantic partner are truly respectful of each other, remember that at times people fail, be compassionate within reason, never push them to feel guilty for a silly mistake which they regret. On an equally important level, even when you have set expectations, practice self care and look after your own thoughts and emotions.
Talk with your partner about things before talking with a friend or family member. Your partner is the one involved, and the first you should discuss anything with, only after than, and even then in a respectful way, should you talk with anyone else.
If things become too challenging, regular or repeated infringements of relationship boundaries, consider finding a loving partner who will be respectful and truly loving.
When you maintain boundaries, in all their different forms, it is far easier to maintain a truly loving and healthy relationship.
Establishing Boundaries In A Relationship
Talk, discuss things openly, free from judgement. Ensure that every boundary is a healthy boundary.
Only when you have free agreement, without pressure of any kind, should anything be considered as agreed in terms of boundary setting.
Keep a close check on both healthy and unhealthy boundaries while discussing them, and ensure that each of your personal boundaries are properly acknowledged, respectfully, as you flow through the process.
Once you have set boundaries, healthy boundaries that is, stick to them. Be compassionate in your treatment of each other, and maintain boundaries when they are being overrun. Allow for discussion free from recrimination, so that harmony and balance can return.
For anyone finding it challenging to set boundaries with their partner, carefully consider why you’re with that partner, and whether they really are your true love. Setting healthy boundaries should be easy.