Boundaries: they are not all bad. Talking about setting boundaries in a relationship does not mean you are getting detached from your partner. While in a new relationship, when you are getting high on the honeymoon phase of the relationship, setting boundaries in the relationship is sure to have slipped your mind. If you and your partner are open about everything (and I mean everything!), you have little to worry about boundaries.
Healthy relationship boundaries are not often discussed and they are not merely what you think is okay and what isn’t. Boundary is the space where you end and your partner begins.
And even though relationships are meant to bring together the two of you and sort of enmesh each other, setting boundaries means knowing beforehand how much enmeshing you want to do so that you don’t lose sense of self (which we know happens quite often).
So, Why Do We Need Healthy Relationship Boundaries?
Let’s get down to the basics. If you’re the kind who does not, under any circumstances, pee with the door open in front of your partner, this one is going to be a treat for you.
Healthy relationship boundaries allow you to communicate what you want, need from the relationship and voyeuristic peeing does not count. They help minimise communication mistakes.
Boundaries give a sense of control to your life and let you be who you are, without jeopardizing the relationship. If you have an understanding partner, it will be easy setting healthy boundaries because your partner will understand how important it is to not lose touch with your own self.
Related reading: 23 Little things to make your marriage stronger everyday
While in a relationship, we might be inclined to make life decisions for the benefit of the relationship. As blessed as you might feel to have a partner who won’t shift to Nainital for an amazing job opportunity so that he can continue living with you in Bangalore, choices like that might have repercussions later.
You might be left feeling a tad guilty, while your partner might use his sacrifice as an excuse to gaslight you in the future. He might even throw this sacrifice in your face when you are being given a chance to be promoted and relocated to another city.
Setting healthy boundaries in a relationship means you are able to make decisions to benefit yourself, decisions that mean progress for you. It doesn’t mean you are being selfish it’s the basic survival of the fittest.
Now, every person is different, and the boundaries will vary from person to person. Here are some healthy boundaries to set in a relationship.
10 Healthy Relationship Boundaries To Strengthen Your Bond
Setting relationship boundaries may not seem like an important task because one feels the partner is aware of my likes and dislikes and can act on what we need and want. Reality check-this is a mere assumption.
To actually let your relationship blossom, you will need to set healthy relationship boundaries clearly – considering how comfortable you both are with one. You need to be clear what you want and how you want things to be and not focus on adjusting here. That way, you already start a relationship on a compromise.
1. How digitally intimate are you going to be
Are you the Instagram PDA kind? Does your partner bombard you with notifications where he has tagged you and 49 others in a post about your relationship? Maybe you are the one into constant sharing cute selfies of your partner but your partner might not be. Before opening up your relationship for the virtual world, set boundaries if both of you are okay with it. Perhaps your partner does not want to peddle the relationship to the masses. Or you do not want your relatives or colleagues to berate you about your relationship online. Whatever the reason, you need to be clear about the boundaries: things you can and cannot share online about the relationship.
Because once it’s on the internet, it’s forever on the internet.
2. Communicate. But how many times?
Adulting with a full-time job and a relationship can be time consuming. Maybe you like constant communication throughout the day, perhaps a simple “Thinking of you” with an emoji fits the bill for you. Or maybe you like your job and would like no distracting texts while you work. Maybe your partner is the kind to call you at lunchtime because she wanted to listen to your voice. Knowing what and how much to communicate should be one of the boundaries couples must enforce. Do you want your partner to check in on your girl’s night out? Or do you call several times when he is out of town on a business conference?
This is one of the healthy boundaries you need to set because no one likes a nag. Choosing to ignore set boundaries might be a red flag for the relationship.
3. Names you can call each other
Is kuchipoo too cringy for you? Can you call each other babe in front of your friends? Or would you rather he sticks to your real name? Communicate and decide the names you are allowed to call each other.
Related reading: Sexy nicknames to give him for more intimacy
4. Talk about the family
If you and your partner have been together for some time, chances are she knows about your abusive father and you know about her controlling mother. You might like your partner’s family, or you might not. It is healthy to set a boundary about how you talk about each other’s family. Is calling her mother “A judgmental shrew” taking it too far? Or communicating a lot with one of his cousins is not pleasing him?
You need to know how far along you are okay with your partner communicating with your family. Or calling them names for that matter. If you are not on board with your partner talking about your family at all, it might be a good thing to set a boundary about that, because family can be a touchy topic.
Related reading: 7 things I felt when I met my in-laws for the first time
5. What kind of commitment do you want?
Are you still window shopping for the perfect man? This kind of boundary has to be set especially if you are both unsure if you are the one for each other, or if you have just begun dating. Do you want a monogamous relationship? Is your partner open for an open relationship? Would you be in a polyamorous dalliance? Whatever the kind of commitment you are looking for, be clear about it in the beginning.
6. Boundaries with the exes
Are you totally not cool with your partner’s ex calling her at midnight? How often do you two communicate with each other? If they are still good friends, is it okay for them to go out for an occasional lunch once in a while?
Setting clear boundaries with the ex makes your relationship smoother, leaving no space for insecurities or jealousy. Likewise, if you want to continue being in touch with your ex, you got to set clear boundaries about that too.
7. Sexy times boundaries
How much are you willing to do in bed? The beginning of the relationship might be all hot and fiery. But setting clear sexual boundaries ensures you are not caught up with doing something in bed that you don’t want to do. It will save you in the future from doing sexual favors for your partner that makes you uncomfortable or that violates yourself.
But if you are both okay with no boundaries, that is alright as well. Just communicate about the things you are willing and not willing to do.
Related reading: Kinky sex not with wife?
8. Sharing is caring…but within limits
Maybe you don’t want to share your UPI pin with your partner. It isn’t about you not trusting them (or maybe it is) but more of a sense of security you have when you keep your passcodes and pins to yourself. Maybe your partner wants to set up a joint account and maybe you are not comfortable with sharing financial matters with anyone. Setting stark financial boundaries are important and should be talked about carefully. Same goes with sharing clothes, or personal belongings. If your partner does not like you using his trimmer, maybe don’t use it.
9. Alone time boundaries
Everyone, and I mean everyone, deserves alone time. Your partner might not be into spending every hour of every day with you and that’s quite healthy.
Even if you are the clingy kind who wouldn’t mind spending every waking hour with your partner, remember space is vital for any relationship. So, if he wants to spend a Thursday playing Mortal Kombat on his phone, and you show up in your sexy bikini and beer, you are sordidly violating his alone time.
And that’s not cool. Communicate with your partner about your and his need of a solo time and realize that time spent apart is naturally healthy for a relationship.
10. Fight boundaries
Set boundaries about how you are going to have a fight. Do you not like fighting in public? Settling disagreements with a lot of yelling and breaking stuff triggers unhealthy spots in your mind? How you choose to solve issues is an important boundary to set in a relationship.
Maybe your partner grew up with constant yelling and bickering of his parents and chooses to sit down and talk rather than scream and yell. Maybe you are the kind who chooses to talk about issues a few days later because you need time to cool down. Set clear boundaries about how you want to deal with problems in the relationship. And mind you, there are ways to fight respectfully as well.
You’ll also need to set boundaries about how you can talk to each other when you are stressed out, sad or down. And how to reconnect after a big fight.
Neither is it easy to set boundaries, not is it easy to follow them. No matter how trivial a boundary may seem to you, it needs to be respected and it is IMPORTANT by all means. This may seem tough initially, but soon you and your partner will acquire the skill and your relationship will get stronger with time.