How to create boundaries in romantic relationships
Boundaries are needed in every relationship. They help you determine the level of vulnerability you’re comfortable sharing for both you and your partner. But what are personal boundaries, and how do you define them in your relationship?
Personal boundaries are limits you set around your body, physical places, emotions, financial information, and digital spaces. We determine what we choose to share with our partners, and our partners choose what they want to share with us. Trust and respect are significant components to maintaining boundaries in a relationship, and it’s up to you to decide what makes you feel most comfortable. Pressure from a partner to redefine your limits is not okay, and you have the choice to decide what feels right for you at any point in your relationship.
We asked our love is respect followers in a poll: “What boundaries are most important to set?”
The highest response we heard from our audience was, “All the boundaries!”
Setting boundaries in all aspects of our lives is important. They empower you to decide how you want to be treated, while honoring your partner’s boundaries to allow you to become supportive.
There are several types of boundaries we can create:
Digital boundaries are limitations created around your computer, social media, cell phone, and online profiles. This can include digital communication, such as sexting, direct messages, and posting on social media. Establish how you feel and decide what makes you feel most comfortable before speaking with your partner.
Think about questions such as “Am I comfortable being posted on their social media profiles?” or “Do I want our relationship status to be public?” Knowing the answers to questions like these can help you communicate your boundaries clearly and help your partner understand how to respect your boundaries.
It is also important to create boundaries around access to your accounts and how you choose to communicate with your partner. Even if you trust your partner completely, you do not have to share your passwords if you decide not to.
Physical boundaries are the limitations you set around your body, your home, and places you visit frequently. These boundaries can help you determine your comfort level with physical touch and intimacy, your limits around public displays of affection, and when physical contact begins to feel harmful. Understand what feels comfortable to you and express that to your partner.
Emotions can run high in a relationship, and sometimes you may feel angry about a situation involving your partner. But learning how to manage your emotions can help you clear your mind and discuss the issues rationally. Disagreements are natural and are bound to happen in any healthy relationship; however, any physical harm during an argument or at any point is never okay.
Financial boundaries are limitations around your income, bank account, credit cards, and other areas surrounding money. If you are comfortable discussing how much money you make or sharing your bank account information, feel free to be open with your partner.
However, sharing bank account information, discussing how you spend your money, or allowing access to your credit cards is unnecessary, especially if you do not feel comfortable talking about such details. If you live with your partner, it is crucial to have an honest conversation about your monthly expenses and what you think you can afford. But that does not mean you need to share every aspect of your financial situation. Money is a very sensitive topic, and it is okay not to share all of your information with your partner.
Emotional boundaries are limitations surrounding your feelings, vulnerability, and trust. These boundaries help you determine how much of your heart you want to share with your partner. As your relationship deepens, decide what emotional support looks like for you. Discuss what consistency means to the both of you, and do your best to show up for each other. Building trust and becoming more vulnerable takes time and is entirely up to you. Don’t rush these moments. Feel free to open up when you are comfortable sharing pieces of yourself that are sensitive.
While it is fantastic to have a loving relationship and spend time with your partner, it is equally vital and healthy to have emotional independence. This means that when you or your partner spend time apart to hang out with your friends and family, you are okay being separated and having interests independent from each other. This gives you both time to maintain your personal relationships that exist outside of your relationship.
Boundaries can seem like they hinder a relationship, but these personal parameters can lay the groundwork for a loving, respectful, and healthy partnership.
Digital, physical, financial, and emotional boundaries are all necessary to have a balanced and flourishing relationship. Deciding what feels right for you can help your partner learn how to support you better and establish points of trust that can help deepen your relationship. Boundaries are a two-way street and should be honored by all parties involved. Lastly, you have the right to create boundaries, and they are never set in stone. You have the choice to change your mind throughout the relationship and adjust them depending on your comfort level.