Setting Boundaries For Healthy Relationships
Every relationship needs boundaries in order to be healthy and happy together! It’s a way to better understand your partner’s needs. Setting boundaries can help prevent future issues and keep the relationship healthy and long-lasting! Examples of relationship boundaries to discuss- is it okay to talk to an ex? Or is it okay to plan a trip to Mexico without discussing it first? Or should you share social media passwords? And who’s in charge of the remote (kidding… kind of).
Setting boundaries in your relationship can help keep both of you happy. Establishing these early on can help you better understand how your partner feels and their needs and wants within the relationship and in life. It’s not about not trusting your partner. It’s about keeping the lines of communication open. It’s also good way to get to know one another.
Think of boundaries as a set of guidelines for a relationship. Each couple has to find a way to accommodate the preferences of both parties. This isn’t always easy, but it’s necessary for a relationship to thrive.
Sometimes these boundaries mean making compromises, just be sure not to compromise your own happiness for your partner.
Create boundaries that enhance your relationship:
Finances. Financial issues can strain any relationship. It’s important to discuss your preferences. Would you loan money to your neighbor? Friend? Sister? Romantic partner? Who pays for dates? Do you prefer separate bank accounts? How much can one of you spend without consulting the other?
Financial issues are a regular cause for divorce. Create acceptable financial boundaries and hold each other to them. Prevent any financial disagreements before they happen.
Goals. Don’t forget about your own goals and interests in your relationship. You both need to be able to openly and freely work on yourselves and be mindful of the other’s goals.
The past. You’ve both dated others. Are the details of those past relationships off-limits, or do you both want to examine the other’s past? What do you consider worthy of conversation, and what do you think should be left in the past? Each couple has a different opinion on this matter. Is it okay to have your ex on social media? Is it okay to still have contact with your ex? Should you take down old photos of your ex on your social media?
Privacy. Does your serious boyfriend have a right to know where you were Saturday night? Should a woman have access to her husband’s email passwords? Can your husband read your journal? Should you share social media passwords? How much privacy is acceptable? Some people want to know every detail, while others prefer more privacy.
Anything else that matters to either of you. You can develop boundaries around sex, communication do’s and don’ts, or pet names you call each other in public. It’s up to each couple to decide.
Friends. Friends are an important part of life. Both of you need to respect each other’s friendships. Set fair boundaries early in the relationship and stick to them, making sure to allow each other freedom and equality. But, be sure to speak up if you start to feel like something is bothering you.
What types of boundaries do you need in your relationship to feel comfortable? What can you tolerate? What are you unwilling to tolerate? Your relationship is unique. Think about what you need and why.
Be careful not to weaken your boundaries with these behaviors:
- A lack of willingness to state your preferences. You’re undermining the whole purpose of having boundaries when you refuse to let your opinions be known. Ask yourself why you’re unwilling to let your partner know what you want.
- Accepting poor treatment or behavior from your partner. There’s a saying, “You get what you tolerate.” When you tolerate mistreatment, you’ll get more of the same in the future. When you’re willing to accept poor behavior, your partner will assume that any boundaries you agreed upon are optional.
- Guilt. There are times your partner may be frustrated by the boundaries. That’s not cause for guilt. Perhaps the boundaries can be revisited, but avoid feeling guilty for something you both agreed upon.
There’s no point in setting boundaries, only to turn around and sabotage them. Not willing to express your boundaries like this is likely to cause resentment.
What boundaries do you need in your relationship? Each relationship is unique. Some require a lot of boundaries for both parties to feel happy and secure. Other couples would feel smothered with too many “rules” to follow.
Sit down with your partner and talk about what you both expect from your relationship. Cover what you are willing and unwilling to tolerate. Then, it’s important to uphold the boundaries.
Set boundaries that will strengthen your relationship and stick to them. These agreed upon guidelines can prevent a lot of relationship stress and make room for more joy.