6 Steps How To Set Boundaries In a Relationship


Happy relationship assumes respecting of boundaries set by each partner. However, we often do not know how to do it. Today I will show you some efficient ways:

“When someone loves you, the way they talk about you is different. You feel safe and comfortable.”
— Jess C. Scott

1. Define Your Boundaries

Read my previous post on what kinds of boundaries you have in a relationship. In short, there are physical, mental, emotional and sexual ones. For example, you may define how much time you need to spend together and when you need to give each other some space. In case of sexual boundaries, you may define how often you can make love and what kinds of sexual activity you accept.

2. Check Which Of Them Has Been Crossed

Conflicts and arguments are the indicators of breaching the boundaries. They will occur from time to time as we are humans and sometimes make mistakes. The urge to survive causes crossing the boundaries in case when e.g. your partner loses his or her job and becomes more insecure. Then they may need more space while you still yearn intimacy.

3. Communicate AssertivelyYour Expectations

Crossing your boundaries may not be necessarily deliberate. Yet you have the right to tell your partner that he or she has done something wrong. You might feel angry. Communicate it to your partner, but do it in a non-aggressive way. You do not need to cross his or her boundaries and risk escalation of the conflict.

Sometimes the other party is totally unaware of crossing the boundaries. Then communicating them that your boundaries have been crossed will help you to improve the quality of your relationship and you both will grow.

4. Try To Find a Solution

Arguing in order to win will never work. Instead, try to find a solution. Maybe you indeed need to give your partner more space or learn how to listen to him or her more attentively. Of course, he or she may not be happy with the message which you communicate and even more, present the case when you have breached his rules. It might be a catharsis then and after such confrontation you can establish healthier rules.

5. Apply the Agreement On Regular Basis

Once you have agreed to respect the new boundaries, respect it. You or your partner may be tempted to cross the boundaries sometimes, but it’d be better to respect the agreement. From time to time, you may review the boundaries and establish new ones, e.g. when your partner loses a job or becomes promoted and will work longer hours.

6. Be Aware Of Changes

Each relationship goes through a life cycle. First you court, then tie knot. After some time, you decide to have kids and bring them up. Leaving the next by your children is the next step. Then you will need to learn how to live together and face the challenges which were ignored while you were raising your kids.

You also go through changes yourself. For women, it is pregnancy, maternity and menopause. During this time, you may need more care from your partner, but also become more moody. As I wrote above, changes in career may also have an impact on your relationships. The same happens when you have to take care of your old parents and when they die.

As you grow, become more aware of yourself, you might want to set new boundaries. For example, you may notice that your partner should respect you more, not raising his or her voice when there is a conflict. Your core values may also change. For example, you might focus more on family than career, start having a new hobby. Then it is also necessary to set new boundaries.

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