Setting boundaries is an important step in creating healthy, loving, fulfilling relationships. And it’s important to discuss each other’s boundaries in all aspects of the relationship — from overall expectations of one another to finances to privacy to family and friends.
Think of boundaries as a set of rules for a relationship. This isn’t always easy, but it’s necessary for a relationship to thrive. Here are some things to consider when setting boundaries in some key areas of your relationship:
It’s important in any relationship to discuss your expectations of one another. The idea is to create a balance of give and take in the relationship. We all have needs and you should be able to express them openly to one another and respect each other’s differences.
Financial matters can put a strain on any relationship. It’s important to discuss your preferences. Create acceptable financial boundaries and hold each other to them and try to prevent any financial disagreements before they happen.
Here are a few questions to get the discussion going:
- Would you loan money to your neighbor, friend, sister or romantic partner?
- Who pays for dates?
- Do you prefer separate bank accounts?
- How much can one of you spend without consulting the other?
Everybody has a past. What you choose to divulge is at your discretion unless not doing so presents a direct health or safety risk to the other person. You know yourself best. Unless you are comfortable talking with your partner about certain aspects of your past you are not obligated to do so.
It’s worth discussing things like:
- Are the details of your past relationships off-limits or do you both want to examine each other’s past?
- What do you consider worthy of talking about and what do you think should be left in the past?
Does your serious boyfriend have a right to know where you were Saturday night? Should you have access to your partner’s journal? How much privacy is acceptable? Some people want to know every detail, while others prefer more privacy. There is also the question of personal space and what your needs are with respect to alone time.
Some other areas of your relationship where boundaries are important to establish are sexual expression; emotional tolerances such as being yelled at or lied to; and spending time with family and friends.
Once you’ve both established your boundaries, be careful not to sabotage your efforts with these behaviors:
- A lack of willingness to state your preferences. You’re undermining the whole purpose of having boundaries when you refuse to let your opinions be known. Ask yourself why you’re unwilling to let your partner know what you want.
- Accepting poor treatment or behavior from your partner. As the saying goes, “you get what you tolerate.” When you tolerate mistreatment, you’ll get more of the same in the future. When you’re willing to accept poor behavior, your partner may assume that any boundaries you agreed upon are optional.
- Guilt. There are times your partner may be frustrated by the boundaries. That’s not cause for guilt. Perhaps the boundaries can be revisited, but avoid feeling guilty for something you both agreed upon.
Set boundaries that will strengthen your relationship and stick to them. These agreed upon guidelines can prevent a lot of relationship stress and make room for more joy.
Remember, boundaries are not set in stone.
People and relationships change so you have to be willing to discuss and make changes as you go along.
Now I would love to hear from you…
Comment below and share with me what kind of boundaries have you and your partner agreed upon?
How do you feel now that you have agreed upon some healthy boundaries within your relationship?