Understanding and Setting Boundaries in Relationships

Establishing healthy boundaries in a relationship - Here's how

By AcaciaJ
Understanding and Setting Boundaries in Relationships

Boundaries are vital no matter what stage of the relationship. Without established boundaries, a relationship is bound to go in a chaotic direction. Although every couple is different, each person involved in the relationship has needs that should be met which makes boundaries all the more ideal.

Setting limits is something that each person should carefully consider when being with someone. Boundaries can help set relationships on a smooth path, ultimately providing direction on how to avoid conflict or issues with your partner. A lack of boundaries can potentially lead to the destruction of a relationship if space for respect and preference is not openly discussed.  


Although it may seem a little uncomfortable or harsh, setting limits with your partner is anything but. It is vital for the wellbeing of the relationship especially if the goal is to stay together long-term. Simply pulling your partner aside and discussing the terms of your likes and dislikes is easy and beneficial for each person involved. 

Types of Boundaries in a Relationship

In order to set boundaries, you must know what types of boundaries to put into place. Some apply to your emotional wellbeing while others, your physical wellbeing. Collectively, each can be applied and help to establish a sense of self as well as a clear understanding of your partner’s needs and their wants. 

1. Emotional

In relationships, emotions can run high between partners when each is passionate about something. This can cause lots of wear and tear in new and long-term relationships alike. Setting boundaries on the way you respond to one another in heated moments and rocky times are the gateway to healthy relationships.

Communication is a vital foundation and emotions tie in with the way you talk to one another. Talk about ways on what boundaries you will set and how you will diffuse those heated moments, as this is best in order to lead a happy relationship.

2. Financial

Finances are vital in any relationship and life in general. They can also be the demise of a great relationship if boundaries are not put in place. It’s always ideal to talk about finances before entering into a relationship since the topic can be a sensitive one. Despite, if you are in love with someone and desire to be together for quite some time, simply setting boundaries on who spends what and when can definitely relieve any potential stresses or resentment towards your partner in the future.

3. Friends

Many of us have known our friends for a lifetime. We have gone through so much with them and will let nothing come in between our invaluable friendship. However, relationships can be a true test for both your friends and your partner.

Sometimes our partner and friends will not get along. So what do you do in such cases? You set mutual boundaries you both can agree upon and abide by. This will help you to come to an agreement in moments of disagreements regarding friends your significant other may not like. In relationships friends should never cause a rift for your love life and vice versa. There is always a solution for everyone to coexist in a peaceful way. 

4. Goals

We all long to accomplish things and to grow throughout the course of our lives. No matter how big or small the goal, it’s always essential to put time and effort into them. Having a partner who is supportive of you achieving your goals is someone who will also support these particular boundaries. Setting the terms on the importance of finishing school for your degree or making time for your business, will give your partner an idea of who you are and the respect they must have for you.

5. Family

Our families are the core of who we are. In relationships, you should never have to choose between people you love especially your family. Understanding you don’t have to spend less time with family just because you have a relationship is something your partner should automatically respect. You also don’t want to short your partner from fair time spent with you either, which is why setting boundaries ahead of time are the best. 

Examples of Healthy Boundaries in a Relationship

Boundaries that will keep things in working order within your relationship are not only ideal but what we need to see our relationships through. Here are some boundaries you can set that can aid in keeping both you and your partner on the same page.

1. Expectations

What you expect from a person sets the tone for your relationship. Explaining this upfront does a couple of things. First it gives your partner or potential partner a chance to decide if they want to move forward with you. Second, it helps bring to light your limits on what you expect from them and what you can give in return. This is fair for everyone involved, especially you.

2. Time

Time is something we all could use more of. Using it wisely can sometimes be a challenge and added stress in a relationship. By talking and planning the best times for dates or just quality time will help bring an understanding of your limits.

For example, you may have certain things you are working towards such as school and may need more time for this on certain days. This sets the boundary of your availability as well as your priorities. While they are a priority too, leading a life for yourself outside your partner is essential. They should understand and respect this and you should for them too.

3. Sexual

Sex is a paramount aspect of a relationship as it allows for a stronger physical and emotional connection between partners. However, everyone is different when it comes to what they like or prefer. Some people would rather be intimate during certain times of the day while others may prefer to only have sex a few times a week.


You may prefer sensual and romantic sex but your partner may want the opposite. By talking about what each other’s needs you can move forward with confidence and comfort about your intimacy which will only further your connection.

4. Tolerance

Some people can tolerate a lot before they reach their breaking point while others cannot. It’s important to discuss how much of what you can take as this gives your partner an understanding of why you may react the way you do.

If for example, you were in an unhealthy relationship in the past, you probably won’t tolerate yelling or any form of verbal abuse in your current relationship. This is something that should be laid out clearly for your partner as respect plays a huge role in a healthy relationship.

5. The Past

This can be quite touchy as sometimes mistakes are made in the past, which often most are not proud of. With that, letting your partner in on your past is ultimately up to you. Sometimes we make decisions during certain periods in our lives that we would rather leave behind. Should you choose to let your significant other in you have the right to do so with discretion.

Ways of Setting Boundaries in a Relationship

You’re ready to set certain boundaries but you may not know how to go about it. Sitting down with your partner and having a conversation is the best way to go about doing so. While it may not be the most comfortable thing to do, it is vital for you both and the health of your future together. Thankfully, there is a way to have the conversation that will make things a little bit easier.

1. Make the Boundaries Clear for Yourself

If you are wanting to talk to your partner about your do’s and don’ts when it comes to your relationship you have to know exactly what you will say. Go over in your head what these boundaries will be and why they affect you the way they do. This way your partner will have a clear understanding thus the ability to level with you about your limits. Once you know what boundaries you will implement you can move forward with talking to your partner.

2. Have a Conversation

The idea of having to sit down face-to-face with your significant other and explain why they can’t do certain things that drive you mad is not exactly the happiest thought in the world. It can be nerve-wracking which is why it’s best to explore more than one option. Obviously sitting and talking in person would be ideal as it is more intimate when dealing with such a touchy task. However, not everyone is comfortable doing so which is completely okay.

You can also take the digital route and have a conversation through text. Explain why you didn’t feel so comfortable talking face-to-face about it and proceed to have the conversation. It’s something that could help you and your partner to feel more comfortable on the subject. Email is also a great way to reach out about it, as writing it can help you to remain confident about what you want to say and how you want to deliver it.

Crossing a Boundary in Relationships, What Happens Next?

Boundaries are important for every aspect of who we are. They are meant to bring about the respect we deserve as a person and if your partner crosses a boundary, you may need to rethink some things. Truthfully, relationships are meant for happiness as you connect on deeper levels with someone you love. If your significant other has crossed boundaries despite having a talk about how it makes you feel it may be time to revisit the conversation.

However, if you have revisited numerous time about a certain violation you may need some space in order to re-evaluate the relationship and whether you want to move forward or not. Having peace and being happy in a relationship is what we all deserve. When someone is not willing to provide these qualities, sometimes moving on may be best for your well being in the long run.

Top 3 Books on Relationship Boundaries

If you still need a little help understanding exactly where to draw the line in relationships, these three top-selling books can help you achieve doing so:

1. Boundaries Updated and Expanded Edition: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life

Boundaries Updated and Expanded Edition: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life: Henry Cloud, John Townsend

Rated four and a half stars this is an amazing read that will teach you the power of saying no. If you find yourself saying yes more than no to appease others or constantly place other’s problems as your own this book is highly recommended. Understand the source of your problems and you can change everything. Take the steps needed to set boundaries to attract the relationship you have always wanted. 

2. Who’s in Your House: Setting Boundaries in Relationships

Who's In Your House?: Setting Boundaries In Relationships: Fritz Musser: 9781790446216

Learn to grab hold and tap into the greatest part of yourself while answering your greatest questions. Attract your dream relationship by understanding how to set boundaries within yourself and others. 

3. Boundaries for Your Soul: How to Turn Your Overwhelming Thoughts and Feelings into Your Greatest Allies

Boundaries for Your Soul: How to Turn Your Overwhelming Thoughts and Feelings into Your Greatest Allies - Kindle edition by PhD, Alison Cook, Kimberly Miller MTh LMFT.

Also rated four and a half stars, this book will teach you to control and master your emotions in order to remove negativity from your life. Through this, you will have the power to properly set boundaries while maintaining your happiness.


Healthy relationships take learning about yourself first. In order to have a happy relationship you have to understand the concept of self love. Because in the end you when you love yourself, others will too. Simply put, you deserve to be happy.