Boundaries are an essential component of relationships as without it, chaos and toxicity can occur between the two individuals. It is like a clear line which depicts when to stop and let go of certain things. Boundaries make sure that one doesn’t over step into someone’s life more than it is required and can provide care and love while being within boundaries. Although, it varies from relationship to relationship as every single one is unique. For example, you may discuss everything related to finances with your partner but not passwords and other private information.
Setting boundaries in relationship helps in taking care of oneself as well as of your partner. There are various types of boundaries like emotional, intellectual, physical, financial and sexual. All of these are necessary to be set up in relationships. A few examples of how healthy boundaries in a relationship looks like:
- You both can say no to each other without getting offended
- You both accept your mistakes and apologize also
- You both always communicate with kind words
- You both always try to understand each other’s perspectives
- You both value each other’s personal space
Ways to Set and Maintain Healthy Boundaries in Relationship
It is better to start setting healthy boundaries early in the relationship only as it will help to strengthen the relationship. But it can be done later in the relationship also when needed. The following ways are some helpful techniques to avoid problems and arguments and to improve the quality of the relationship:
1. Be honest and open about your needs
Firstly understand what exactly your expectations and needs are from your partner as it will be the first step towards setting healthy boundaries. You can ask yourself questions like:
- What traits I want in my partner?
- What I don’t like in a relationship?
- What qualities I admire the most in others?
- What makes me feel close with others?
After reflecting upon yourself and understanding about yourself, you can discuss those needs and expectations with your partner. You both must remain honest about your needs and discuss it openly with each other. Thus, it will help to set healthy boundaries in the relationship as your partner will know how much to interfere in your matters and not cross limits.
2. Have some personal space in the relationship
Establish clear boundaries with your partner regarding personal space. You can discuss what activities or times are important for you to have alone and also respect each other’s boundaries. You both can make a commitment of having “me time” when you can pursue your individual hobbies, interests and self-care activities like yoga, reading, walking or any relaxation activity. But also learn to respect each other’s personal time and give the privacy that is required in the relationship. This also helps in nurturing trust and independence which maintains the healthy boundaries in the relationship.
3. Communicate respectfully
Two-sided communication about compassion, understanding and respect for each other’s point of views is necessary in a relationship. Connect with each other on verbal and non-verbal level and try to fulfill your partner’s needs. When one tries to understand other’s point of view, it helps to extend support and care. Pay attention to your partner and validate their thoughts as well so that relationship stays healthy.
One of the difficult things in setting boundaries in the relationship can be the urge to please people or thinking that one might offend someone. But one should understand that it is not their full responsibility to make other person happy and thus communicate effectively about what they think and want and listen to other person also. Set and maintain boundaries with your partner by communicating about it on regular basis.
4. Set realistic expectations
When one person in a relationship sets unrealistic expectations, it can cause unnecessary problems in the relationship. But if the expectations are managed in a proper way, then it can help to establish the healthy boundaries and make the relationship stronger. Signs of reasonable expectations for healthy boundaries are:
- Respect each other’s differences
- Making compromises
- Have a mutual understanding with each other
- Supporting each other in different times
- Communicate openly
Talk to your partner regularly about each other’s needs and create mutual understanding and set boundaries. And both should put efforts and work hard to stay within those boundaries and respect each other. Also don’t try to compete with each other as it could lead to crossing the boundaries in the relationship.
5. Don’t force your views on your partner
The two individuals in a relationship are brought up differently and thus have different opinions so it will be healthy to respect each other’s views. You both may disagree and even argue about something but never disregard each other’s interests, opinions and beliefs if you both want to maintain healthy boundaries. You should accept your partner for who they are including both their virtues and flaws. When you acknowledge your partner’s desires, wishes and dreams, it will make your relationship healthy and set boundaries which will help to nurture the relationship towards a better future.
6. Support each other always
It is easy to set boundaries in a relationship but maintaining it respectfully is a difficult task so to do that it needs constant care, support and efforts. One should pay attention to their own needs as well as their partner’s needs. Emotional support plays a vital role when difficult times occur in the relationship. Being within boundaries but still giving support, love and affection to the partner is really effective for a long term relationship. A recent study conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA) showed that those who said they have someone they can lean on for emotional support report lower stress levels and better related outcomes than those without emotional support.
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Entering into a relationship is easy but maintaining it with constant efforts like setting healthy boundaries is very difficult indeed. And if not done properly, it can cause significant problems in the relationship that could even lead to breakup. So, sometimes, professional mental help from psychologists/counsellors can be beneficial to save the relationship from drowning. Psychologists/Counsellors at OnlineCounselling4U deal with several people with relationship issues and provide support, guidance and help to those people. Thus, book your appointment at our website and save your relationship with the help of our psychological professionals.
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