Why setting boundaries in a relationship will improve it
Boundary-setting is hugely important in relationships, whether it’s with a partner, a friend or even a colleague.
A lack of boundaries in any type of relationship can cause a huge amount of stress, anxiety and even depression, so it’s incredibly important to take the necessary steps to protect yourself and keep your relationships happy, healthy and positive.
Defining boundaries involves clearly outlining what behaviour you will and won’t accept from another individual.
What are boundaries in relationships?
Boundaries encompass both physical and emotional boundaries, and relate to everything from privacy and personal space, right through to inappropriate touching, overstepping the mark, and blaming other people for your actions.
Letting another person’s feelings dictate your own and sacrificing your own needs to please them are also unhealthy characteristics of a relationship and should be stamped out as quickly as possible.
Many people encounter unhealthy boundaries in all types of relationships, often as a reflection of their own identity and feelings. Understanding what you will and won’t stand for in terms of another person’s behaviour is one of the first steps to forming strong, healthy relationships.
Why don’t some people create boundaries?
One of the main reasons people fail to set boundaries with certain individuals in their lives is the fear of abandonment and losing the relationship.
Some people worry that they will be judged, or that they’ll hurt other people’s feelings by putting boundaries in place.
How to have healthy boundaries in relationships
The key to having healthy boundaries is to discuss them with your partner, friend or colleague and be clear what you will stand for, right from the offset.
Whether its sexual boundaries, emotional boundaries or behavioural boundaries, it’s important that you’re both on the same page and understand each other’s views and needs.
And it doesn’t matter if it’s a new or long-standing relationship, boundaries can be made at any point, especially if certain behaviours are starting to have an impact on your health and wellbeing.
Communicate your boundaries
Once you’ve outlined your boundaries in your own mind, you need to articulate your emotions and thoughts so that lines are not crossed in your relationships.
It’s important to communicate them in a clear and concise manner. Think about what’s important to you, your personal needs and the behaviours that upset you.
From ruling out name calling through to figuring out a work-life balance that works for you and your partner, figuring out your limits will pave the way for healthier and happier relationships. For more advice on communication, see our blog post on why communication is key to healthy relationships.
It might feel scary at first
It can feel daunting to say no to someone or even just disagree with another person’s opinion. But you are your own person and you shouldn’t be afraid to do and say what is right for you. So, if someone is pushing you to your limits or upsetting you all too often, it’s time to take a stand and put firm boundaries in place.
Even when a relationship is going well, boundaries shouldn’t be forgotten.
Take responsibility for your needs
It’s important to responsibility for your own needs in any relationship. With this in mind, you should never make someone second guess how you’re feeling, violate boundaries yourself, or behave in a way that you know will upset someone.
Boundaries can make or break any relationship. So, to ensure that you have healthy relationships in all areas of your life, try to understand other’s values, communicate clearly and always be accountable for your own actions.
To find out more about maintaining positive, healthy relationships with clear boundaries, please get in touch.