How to set healthy boundaries in a relationship?

How to set healthy boundaries in a relationship?
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Relationships vary, and building them always takes work. One particularly important aspect is setting boundaries that foster a healthy relationship

Every relationship should be based on communication that leads to defining a certain framework. It is unhealthy for one party to impose their opinion on the other and do what they want, while the other is constantly stifled and restricted. Setting clear boundaries early on in a relationship helps to avoid misunderstandings and disappointments, and to better understand the other person’s needs.

Boundaries are for you

Healthy boundaries are ones that you set for yourself, not for your partner. This does not mean that he or she should have impunity and be allowed to do more. Each party in a relationship should set their own boundaries, but they cannot try to control the other by imposing their will on them. So think about your status in the relationship. What position do you hold? Are you subservient, or are you in charge? How much can you sacrifice and change for your partner? What are you able to tolerate and what are you not?

How do you set boundaries?

Don’t use commanding or telling your partner to do something – this is controlling and limiting and does not build a healthy relationship. Instead, talk about yourself – clearly indicating the “I” person. If you feel your partner is flirting too much with others, don’t forbid it, but make it clear that you won’t tolerate it. When the other party chooses to ignore this boundary and crosses it, it’s a signal to you that he or she doesn’t care about you or your feelings, and that you might need to work on it. However, it’s important to communicate your boundaries clearly and loudly to your partner, rather than expecting them to figure it out on their own.

Healthy boundaries in a relationship – some examples

It is important to remember that boundaries are not rigid rules, the breaking of which means the end of a relationship. Rather, they are lines that outline the framework of your comfort zone in the relationship, but they can change over time. They are also a kind of guideline for your partner that can touch on many serious as well as trivial aspects of your relationship:

  • saying “no ” – sometimes sacrificing yourself for your partner is good, but if he or she asks you to do something that goes against your principles, forces you to give up something important, or doesn’t respect your feelings, you need to say “no.” It is important that the refusal is firm, not harsh or rude;
  • expectation of respect you deserve communication based on respect and mutual understanding. If you feel that your partner is not giving you this, let them know;
  • maintaining yourindependence don’t let your “I” get lost in the shared “we.” Remember that you are not just half of a whole, but an individual with your own feelings and thoughts;
  • right to space there is nothing wrong with wanting to spend some time without your partner. Such time alone is important for maintaining individuality and does not at all mean rejecting your other half;
  • theright to privacy this can appear on many different levels, but on each level you decide whether you want to share any information about yourself, your experiences, your feelings, your thoughts. You are not compelled to tell your partner everything;
  • preserving other relationships your partner does not have you exclusively. You cannot give up your friends and family for him/her, you have the right to spend time with other people.

Boundaries allow you to maintain your independence and remain yourself in the relationship. They provide a sense of security and comfort in the relationship, help partners build trust and mature as a couple. They can also be a way to avoid some conflicts in the future.

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Main photo: Vera Arsic/

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