Setting Healthy Boundaries in a Relationship: An Ultimate Guide on How to Set One

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Finding it difficult to say NO and stand your ground can be frustrating at times. Especially when you know someone is taking advantage of your vulnerability.

Setting healthy boundaries in a relationship should be prioritized at home or work. Boundaries help you set a clear line that defines how much you want others to relate to you and your things.

Setting boundaries can sometimes be a hard thing to do especially if it’s family relationships. But you don’t have to deprive yourself of your personal space and emotional well-being because you’re trying to please someone. So, you need to ensure you set boundaries in your relationships.

This article defines healthy boundaries, their importance, and their types. You’ll also learn how to set and maintain healthy boundaries in your relationships.

Ready for that healthy adventure, let’s go!

setting healthy boundaries in a relationship  What are Healthy Boundaries?

Healthy boundaries are systems we put in place on how we want to be treated by others including our partners, family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors.

Healthy boundaries involve understanding your feelings and emotions and setting limits to the way you want people to relate to you. It’s like a self-care practice that you should prioritize if you want to protect yourself emotionally, physically, mentally, intellectually, and in all aspects of life.

You should know that while your personal boundaries are important to you, it’s equally important that you respect other people’s boundaries like romantic partners, co-workers, or even a family member.

Why are Healthy Boundaries in Relationships Important?

The importance of setting healthy boundaries cannot be overemphasized. If you want to maintain a healthy well-being and establish a clear distinction between your social and personal life, then boundary setting should be prioritized.

Here are the importance of setting boundaries in relationships:

  • It helps prevent others from manipulating or taking advantage of you.
  • It boosts your self-esteem and allows you to prioritize self-care.
  • Healthy boundaries also promote healthy relationships.
  • Setting boundaries helps you take care of your mental health and ensure your emotional well-being is respected.
  • When you set a healthy boundary, you are the sole owner of your personal space and decide who has access to it.
  • It promotes healthy and mutual communication between partners.

Now that you know the importance of setting a healthy boundary, let’s get into the types of boundaries in relationships.

setting healthy boundaries in a relationship

Types of Healthy Boundaries in Relationships

To promote healthy relationships and a greater sense of control in your daily life, here are 7 types of healthy relationship boundaries you must set:

Physical Boundaries

Physical boundaries are about letting people know how crucial your personal space is and setting limits on physical touch. It’s an important type of relationship boundaries that should be taken seriously.

To establish a healthy physical boundary, you should openly communicate with your partner about how you want to be touched, your privacy, and your personal needs. If you don’t like to kiss or hug your partner in public, you should make it known to your romantic partner so he/she doesn’t see it as a red flag.

Also, it would be best if you spoke about your healthy boundaries at work. You can let the opposite sex know that you feel uncomfortable when you’re hugged and will prefer a handshake.

Physical boundaries aren’t about physical touch alone, it’s also about taking care of your body and your environment.

By setting healthy physical boundaries, individuals can better protect their physical well-being and equally meet their physical needs leading to a sense of self-respect and high esteem.

Emotional Boundaries

Emotional boundaries involve respecting your emotional needs like your own thoughts, feelings, and values without allowing people to take advantage of you or even manipulate you.

To set effective emotional boundaries, there’s a need to understand your temperaments and your emotions

When you set emotional boundaries, you’re able to prevent mental health problems like depression, chronic stress, and anxiety.

Sexual Boundaries

Sexual boundaries in relationships refer to the extent to which you’re comfortable with having sexual intimacy with your romantic partner. For this type of boundary, you should have a heart-to-heart discussion with your partner because you’re not alone in the relationship.

While some people derive pleasure in engaging in different forms of sex styles, others find it hard to do so. If you fall into the category of those who aren’t comfortable with sexual activities, then you need to sit your partner down for discussion. This will help prevent unnecessary issues that can affect your home and you can both find ways to meet each other’s sexual needs.

For sexual boundaries, you can discuss with your partner your choice of contraceptives and where and when you feel safe with having sex.

Time Boundaries

Time boundaries mean managing the time you spend doing certain activities and with some people. Setting time boundaries helps you prioritize the most important things that make you stay productive and reduce time spent on unnecessary activities.

Sometimes people find it difficult to establish clear boundaries with their time, but you need to know that limiting the time spent with family members or toxic relationships is pivotal to your mental health and physical well-being.

Time boundaries could include:

  • Telling your friends not to call you between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
  • Asking your secretary to cancel any meeting between 10 a.m and 11 a.m because it’s the time you use for meditation.
  • Making your Saturdays a work-free day and just for your family

You don’t have to feel guilty whenever someone says you no longer care for them. You have to let them know you’re only trying to prioritize self-care and disengage from anything that can affect your overall well-being.

While you expect others to respect your boundaries, you should also do the same to them, especially with your partners. This way everyone can pursue their goals and enjoy other aspects of life.

Workplace Boundaries

Maintaining healthy boundaries isn’t just necessary for romantic relationships alone, there’s a need to maintain healthy boundaries at work as well. This is why work-life balance is important.

Workplace boundaries mean establishing a healthy professional practice for yourself. You should ensure your co-workers understand your work ethics and values so you can flow together.

Financial Boundaries

This type of boundary setting should be prioritized. Financial boundaries are rules you set around your money. If you want to have savings and track how your income is being spent, then you need to set financial boundaries.

If you have financial goals set for yourself, you have to cut off frivolous spending and make it known to your partner or friends who are into expensive lifestyles you can’t afford.

Money is one of the problems of unhealthy relationships. So, if you are using a joint account with your partner, you must ensure you both sit to discuss how to spend every money entering the account.

Intellectual Boundaries

We all have freedom of thought, belief, opinion, values, and ideas. Intellectual boundaries respect an individual’s opinions and viewpoints even if you don’t seem to totally agree with their ideas.

Intellectual boundaries help you stay true to your thoughts. You need to know that not everyone will adopt your views as we all disagree to agree in the long run. So, you have to be calm and express your thoughts without feeling insecure.

Signs You Need to Set Healthy Relationship Boundaries

If you’re unsure about how healthy your relationship is, here are a few signs you should look out for to set healthy boundaries in your relationship:

Inability to Say NO

Do you often find it hard to stand your ground when someone asks you to help them with something even though you know it will affect your schedule? Then you need to set boundaries so that you can take charge of your time and don’t feel pressured to take on the task you know you can’t do.

Saying NO doesn’t make you a bad person, it’s just you prioritizing your values and needs at that time. If you eventually decide to help someone you love even if your schedule is tight, you should ensure it’s not something that will hurt or deprive you of your time.

Anger

If you lose your temper easily especially because you find yourself in a toxic environment, you should consider setting boundaries.

Finding it difficult to say NO can also lead to anger. You get angry at yourself because you feel obligated to perform someone else’s task and you can’t even refuse their request.

Anxiety

You become anxious when you notice someone is trying to take advantage of you and you just can’t avoid them.

If you don’t set boundaries in your relationships, you allow others to trample on your ego. You then feel anxious whenever their notification pops up on your phone or mail.

To avoid feeling uncomfortable and anxious because someone is taking advantage of you, learn to set and maintain healthy boundaries.

Burnout

A lack of healthy boundaries can cause frequent burnout because you are used to accepting everything and anyone that comes your way.

You should know that if you don’t set clear boundaries between work, family, and friends, you get easily fatigued and can even fall sick.

When you realize you are getting stressed, get ready to check if you’re truly maintaining the boundaries you’ve set or try setting new ones.

How to Set Healthy Boundaries in Relationships

Different people have their way of setting healthy boundaries and it’s a self-care practice we all need to prioritize for our mental and emotional health. Here are effective tips to set and maintain boundaries in your relationship:

Identify and Understand Your Boundaries

The first tip to setting healthy boundaries is to fully understand your needs and wants. You don’t expect someone to respect your boundaries when you are yet to let them know what you like and don’t like.

So, there’s a need for you to sit and do a self-assessment on yourself to better understand your feelings and threshold. You can start by practicing journaling to track the things that make you feel unsafe and uncomfortable before you start communicating them to others.

Communicate the Boundaries

After identifying and understanding your boundaries, it’s time to communicate the boundaries to others.

Effective communication is an integral aspect of healthy relationships. So, you have to openly and specifically communicate your boundaries, especially to your romantic partner. Let him/her know about your feelings and emotions, and how you want them to respect your set boundaries.

To pass your message across effectively, you should consider the timing and delivery of your message. You can’t expect smooth communication when your partner is stressed or unhappy. So, you must ensure you both are in a relaxed state to get the best result you want.

Respect Your Partner’s Boundaries Too

While you’re trying to communicate your own boundaries, there’s a need for you to listen to those of your partner too. This will help prevent petty disagreements and a feeling of disrespect.

You can ask questions to ensure they’re okay with the boundaries you just set and find ways to be on the same plane. You don’t just read the boundaries out, you want to ensure that the other person understands where you are coming from and where you are going. So, don’t guess they are okay with your boundary setting.

Know that each person has their own feelings and you should respect that.

Learn How to Say No

These two letter words – NO can seem difficult to say or express but you have to learn how to say it especially when you’re uncomfortable with the way someone is relating with you.

You must prove to yourself that your self-worth is still intact. Don’t allow anybody to guilt trip you into feeling less of yourself when you decide you aren’t consenting to an act.

You aren’t meant to respect the decisions of everyone because you can’t please every human on earth.

Difference Between Healthy and Unhealthy Boundaries

There’s a great difference between healthy and unhealthy boundaries in relationships and you need to specifically watch out for the unhealthy ones as it can be a red flag.

Healthy boundaries can also be called safe boundaries as they help you stay physically, mentally, and emotionally safe. However, any boundary that seems to be too rigid and has to be enforced is called an unhealthy boundary.

Healthy boundaries allow you to openly communicate your wants and needs to your partner or other people while respecting other people’s boundaries as well. When you set healthy boundaries you build healthy relationships with people and there’ll be mutual respect and understanding.

Unhealthy boundaries disregard your wants and needs and don’t care about how you feel or your feelings toward others. These boundaries have potential dangers as they can lead to physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. It can also lead to a feeling of low self-esteem and a poor sense of self.

Examples of Healthy Boundaries in Relationships

  • Saying “No” when you’re uncomfortable with the way you’re being touched or related with.
  • Not taking the blame for other people’s actions.
  • Refusing to be pressured to compromise your values, beliefs, and systems for others.
  • Ensuring you communicate your boundaries clearly to other people while respecting theirs as well.
  • Prioritizing personal time for self-care and not allowing someone to take advantage of you.
  • Not allowing other people to define your self-worth or self-esteem.
  • Understanding your needs and feelings are personal to you and doing the same for others.
  • Asking for a personal space when you need it.

Examples of Unhealthy Boundaries in Relationships

  • Forcefully engaging your partner in sexual activity without waiting for their consent.
  • Inability to say “No” when you’re uncomfortable about something or a situation.
  • Feeling like you’re responsible for the feelings and emotions of others.
  • Giving access to people to say disrespectful and hurtful words to you.
  • You don’t have your personal space and privacy because you’re controlled by someone else.
  • Allowing others to touch you without restrictions whatsoever.
  • Not respecting the beliefs, opinions, and thoughts of your partner or other people.

Wrapping Up

Boundary setting is a key element in establishing a healthy relationship. It doesn’t need to be too rigid as it’s just a system you put in place on how you want to be treated by others. Irrespective of how you love and care about a person, you shouldn’t give in to unhealthy boundaries.

Setting boundaries is a way to show that you care for yourself and don’t want to be trampled on by anybody. However, you should avoid being selfish with your boundaries as you need to consider others and let them see things from your perspective.

By being clear about the boundaries you set, you foster a healthy relationship with friends, lovers, and family members. You also boost your self-esteem and avoid being manipulated by others.

So, don’t be afraid to set and establish boundaries because it’s not a sign of weakness to do that.

Hope you found this content helpful. What are your thoughts on setting healthy relationship boundaries? Share with us in the comment below this post.

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