Setting boundaries is crucial in every relationship, regardless of its nature and level of commitment. Through healthy boundaries, each party would be able to maintain their self-worth and individuality while within the relationship. This significantly strengthens the connection between couples and gives them that much-needed space and time to manage other aspects of their lives.
If you're in a serious relationship, keep in mind that seeking an intimate partnership should not get in the way of your personal needs and aspirations in life. Being a couple should not stop you and your partner from discovering yourselves and your potentials. A healthy relationship should allow you to fulfill your personal and emotional needs and enable you to communicate them with each other effectively.
It's not always easy to determine what kind of boundaries would work and would not work in a relationship because every couple is unique, and not all circumstances are the same. The best way to address your boundary issues is through open communication. Discussing such matters with your partner can help you set the ground rules and limitations. It would also enable you to stir up and understand each other's thoughts and feelings about this aspect of your relationship.
As long as you're able to figure out good relationship boundaries that are beneficial, you can establish a clear road map on how your partnership would work and how you can fulfill your needs in the process.
Here are some examples of good relationship boundaries that you can adapt;
1. Spending private time with your family and friends.
Being in a relationship should not stop you from spending some private and quality time with your family and friends. Communicating this with your partner would enable him/her to understand just how important this matter is to you. It would also prevent negative thoughts and emotions from settling in.
Devoting some of your time with your family and friends gives you enough breathing space to acknowledge the presence of other people in your life and creates a certain balance. It enables you to have fun with others and carry out your obligations to them while being committed to the person you love. In doing so, you'll gain a stronger appreciation of yourself simply by nurturing your relationships with the people closest to you.
2. Time and opportunity to accomplish your dreams.
A healthy relationship should not stop you from accomplishing your dreams, and your partner should acknowledge that by supporting you. Setting a boundary between your relationship and your aspirations is important for you to have a fulfilling life.
Try to recognize that your commitment to your partner and your desire to achieve your dreams are two different entities you'll need to balance. It demands a certain level of understanding and agreement to make it work. However, if your partner has every intention of supporting you, this should not impose problems in your relationship; since you're creating a healthy boundary that would help you grow and prosper as an individual.
3. Freedom to express your opinions.
Communication is one of the most important foundations of every relationship. It prevents misunderstandings and resolves conflicts. However, the communication process must include your freedom to express each other's personal opinions on certain matters, whether you're on the same side or not. In other words, you and your partner must agree to disagree – when the situation calls for it.
Having the freedom to express your own opinions in your relationship means that you have the right to stand for what you believe in. Remember that you and your partner are two different individuals who may or may not view things in the same way. This is perfectly acceptable as long as both of you can respect each other's beliefs and are capable of making compromises.
Being in a relationship doesn't mean that you'll see things from a similar perspective all the time. Allowing each other to express opposing opinions and to stand by them is a good practice that both of you should learn to accept and welcome in your relationship.
4. Agreement on financial aspects.
The financial aspect of a relationship is one of the most challenging things to manage. Who's going to pay for what, and who's going to take charge of the bill? These are just some of the things that you must discuss together to minimize friction in budgeting. Keeping your financial status private while being honest with how much you can contribute to the expenses is one way of establishing good boundaries in your relationship.
For instance, one has to take care of the food, while the other has to pay for the bills. Alternatively, you and your partner may also decide to split the amounts equally or take turns paying. Managing the financial aspect of your relationship depends entirely on your set-up or whether or not you're living together.
There are many other things that you can discuss together to prevent either one of you from having to carry the financial burden. Additionally, you don't have to feel guilty about not disclosing your personal savings and other assets to your partner because it is one way of maintaining healthy boundaries from which both of you can benefit later on.
5. Identify what is acceptable and unacceptable in your relationship.
Be open with your partner about the things that you can and cannot accept in your relationship. Examples are physical and emotional abuse, addiction and unhealthy vices, late night-outs with friends, dishonesty, and use of social media. Being honest with your partner about the things that you cannot tolerate is one way of creating good boundaries in your relationship. It would encourage both of you to develop respect, trust, and honesty towards each other.
Often, when you become too complacent in your relationship, you tend to forget that some things need to be sorted out. In particular, men tend to overlook certain matters with the perception that their partner would understand them or that what they are doing is harmless. Unfortunately, such assumptions can easily trigger doubts and suspicions.
Openly telling your partner what you consider as "too much" in terms of his/her actions, language, and behavior is one way of establishing good boundaries in your relationship. It would enable both of you to make reasonable compromises, so you can manage your differences more effectively, understand each other better, and respect each other's boundaries.
6. Establishing sexual boundaries.
Sexual relationships do not revolve entirely on timing, urge, intensity, and stamina. The most satisfying and rewarding sexual relationships are established through healthy sexual boundaries. These do not necessarily equate to barriers or walls, but rather well-defined access that communicates how to love and respect each other better.
Violating and disregarding sexual boundaries is not just unhealthy; it also counts as physical abuse. Often, it's also seen as a crime or a form of sexual violence. Sexual boundaries do not just revolve around what you are comfortable with within the bedroom but also with how often, what practices are involved, and with whom.
Failure to establish healthy sexual boundaries may result in an abusive relationship, especially if your partner is aggressive in bed and likes to engage in bizarre sexual practices. In some cases, one partner would pressure the other to perform distressing and unsafe sexual acts forcefully or without consent.
To avoid such things from happening, it's important to discuss your sexual boundaries clearly and to communicate sexual practices that make you feel uncomfortable.
7. Freedom to practice self-love and self-care.
Being able to practice self-love and self-care is one way of creating good boundaries in a relationship. The time you spend taking care of yourself and your needs is very important in maintaining your self-worth. It also enables you to appreciate yourself and your partner more, and promotes balance in your relationship.
Spending time alone is essential to one's mental and emotional health. It allows you to assess your life, so you can manage your priorities better. This is also the perfect time to reflect on your decisions and find the means to improve yourself and your future. It could be as trivial as getting a manicure or pedicure, enrolling in a yoga class, or driving to a scenic spot on your own to think.
Practicing self-love and self-care is essential for both you and your partner. It is one way of acknowledging each other's personal needs, regardless of how small they are. By doing so, you'll find every moment that you spend together more constructive and gratifying.
Setting good boundaries in a relationship should not make you or your partner feel that you're holding back or being half-hearted about committing. These boundaries are meant to help you grow and find personal fulfillment despite being committed to each other.
They cultivate love, trust, and respect. More importantly, identifying healthy boundaries is the only way you can balance the different aspects of your life, so you can preserve your self-worth and nurture yourself while staying true to your relationship.