Setting boundaries in a relationship is important regardless of how you approach it. However, it’s usually best to try and set healthy boundaries that both of you agree to, which can change later down the line.
This is how we can determine whether someone is a good partner for you, or whether is they’re conflicting with your requirements.
Becoming someone’s partner means that you need to respect their boundaries, but you need to communicate these boundaries properly for them to be understood. Let’s look at some of the best examples of healthy boundaries in relationships.
Why It’s Important to Set Healthy Boundaries in Relationships
By creating boundaries, you can protect both yourself and your partner in both a physical and emotional sense. Knowing where the other person sets their limits ensures that you’re on the same page. But, it’s important that these boundaries in relationships are healthy, and not overly restrictive on the other person.
These boundaries are particularly valuable, as they will stop you from dealing with individuals who do not respect or understand your core value. This is often the case with narcissists and toxic people that think they can make you change these boundaries in the relationship.
The boundaries you set are actually a form of self care as an individual. It can be incredibly helpful for your mental health and your safety to have boundaries in place. It helps ensure that your partners don’t push you to do things you don’t want to do – it’s important to take these boundaries seriously.
But what exactly are boundaries in relationships? We’re going to look as some personal boundaries examples that you can use to create your own.
Great examples of personal boundaries
The individual boundaries that you set are governed in several ways including physical, emotionally, mentally, and even sexually.
These are different for everyone, yet all have similar purposes – they share what we will not tolerate in a relationship. Establishing boundaries is important for pretty much any relationship in your life – from friendships through to relationships between couples.
1. Physical Boundaries
Physical boundaries are the way that we allow other people into our personal space. This could include preferences about personal space, touch, and other physical activities. For example, a personal boundary might be, “I’m not comfortable with hugging people I’ve just met“.
2. Emotional Boundaries
Setting healthy boundaries around your emotions is a wise idea if you’re in a long term relationship with someone – as the name suggests, these are boundaries related to your feelings. An example could be, “I need to take some time alone to process my emotions after an argument“.
3. Mental/Intellectual Boundaries
People often focus on physical boundaries, but mental boundaries can be just as important. These relate to your thoughts, values, and opinions. An example of this might be, “I need others to respect my political beliefs, even if they disagree“.
4. Time Boundaries
This could be about how you manage your time in your day to day life. It might include your work, hobbies, relaxation time, etc. For instance, “I need one hour of undisturbed time in the evening to relax and read“. This can be necessary boundary setting for your mental health.
5. Material Boundaries
Sometimes other people will feel entitled to things that don’t belong to them. These concern your belongings and how you feel about lending or sharing things. An example could be, “I’m not comfortable lending my car to anyone“.
6. Digital Boundaries
This concerns online interactions, social media usage, and digital communication. Though you may not think to have boundaries here, it’s important with technology becoming increasing popular. For instance, “I don’t accept friend requests on social media from coworkers to maintain a balance between my professional and personal life“.
7. Sexual Boundaries
These involve your comfort levels and consent in sexual activities, and they’re crucial for your emotional well being. An example could be, “I want any sexual activity to be a discussion, and I need my partner to respect when I say no“.
8. Spiritual Boundaries
These are about your beliefs and practices related to religion or personal growth, and are an emotional boundary to prevent us from others disrespecting us. For example, “I need others to respect my choice of spiritual practice, even if it’s different from theirs“.
9. Energy Boundaries
This can be about managing your energy levels and what drains or replenishes them. For instance, “I can’t go to late-night parties because it leaves me feeling drained the next day“. This one is important to set in your own life, as we only have so much energy we can spend in a day.
These are just a few examples, and personal boundaries will vary greatly from person to person. They are an essential part of self-care and maintaining healthy relationships. There are both healthy and unhealthy boundaries that you can push part.
An example of some unhealthy boundaries may be you not being able to say no, or feeling an inherent sense of guilt when you say no to someone. This is a common issue that people face when they’re trying to set healthy relationship boundaries.
It could also be something like doing things yourself, even when you’ve agreed for the other person to do them. Again, this is another common one that sometimes cannot be helped, as you may need to fulfil the task for both their needs and your own needs.
How do you know when someone is pushing past the boundaries you’ve set in the relationship? Let’s look at some common ways you can do so.
Signs you need to set boundaries in a relationship
Setting boundaries in a relationship is crucial for maintaining respect, understanding, and overall relationship health. There are many people out there that need help establishing boundaries and stopping others from crossing boundaries for good.
The difficulty of setting boundaries is that often people set them with no confidence in their ability to maintain them if broken, likely due to emotional abuse. There are some telltale signs that might indicate you need to establish or reassess boundaries in your relationship, including;
1. Constant Exhaustion: Perhaps the most obvious sign that you need to set boundaries is that you’re always feeling mentally or emotionally drained. This could be a sign that the relationship is one-way, and it’s taking more energy from you than it is giving.
2. Resentment: You’re feeling resentment towards your partner because you feel taken advantage of or not heard. On top of this, you feel guilt about your own feelings, even though they are fully valid.
3. Loss of Self-Identity: If you feel like you’re losing your sense of self or your individuality, this could be a sign that boundaries need to be set as they’re encroaching on who you are as a person.
4. Invasion of Privacy: Your partner is regularly invading your personal space or privacy, such as going through your phone, emails, or personal belongings without your consent.
5. Feeling Obligated: You find yourself frequently doing things out of obligation, not because you want to or because it’s a compromise.
6. Difficulty Saying No: If you have a hard time saying “no” to your partner because of fear, guilt, or any other reason, that’s a clear sign you need to set some boundaries.
7. Constantly Sacrificing Your Needs: If you are always prioritizing your partner’s needs over your own to the point that it negatively impacts your wellbeing, this is a sign that boundaries need to be set.
8. Lack of Personal Time or Space: You’re not getting enough time for yourself. Personal time and space is crucial in maintaining your identity and self-care routines.
9. Manipulative or Controlling Behavior: If your partner is always trying to control or manipulate you or the situation, it might be difficult to tell. However, if you can identify it, it’s important for your own boundaries that you do something about it.
10. Overstepping Physical Boundaries: If your partner touches you in ways you’re uncomfortable with, or ignores your wishes when you express discomfort, it’s necessary to establish clear physical boundaries.
Remember, every relationship is different, and what works for one may not work for another. It’s important to communicate openly about your feelings and needs to build a relationship based on mutual respect and understanding.
Healthy personal boundaries are necessary. Though it may feel uncomfortable to set them in the beginning, you should spend time setting them – for your own benefit.