Emotional boundaries

They’re an important part of making sure you feel safe and comfortable in your relationship. Trusting someone means you think that they’re reliable, you have confidence in them, and you feel safe with them physically and emotionally. Real trust takes time to build and requires that partners decide for themselves when they trust each other: you can’t demand or prove it.

Emotional boundaries are premised on trust

If you’re not sure whether or not you trust your partner, ask yourself these questions as a way to assess your situation:

digital boundaries background
digital boundaries background

Is my partner supportive of me and my decisions for myself, both physically and emotionally?

Am I supportive of my partner?

Is my partner consistent in their actions and behaviors?

Am I consistent with my partner?

Does my partner demonstrate their trustworthiness by acting in accordance with what they say?

Do they tell me they love me but treat me in unhealthy ways?

Are you both able to comfortably spend time apart from one another?

Do you feel comfortable letting your partner know when you need space or time with friends or family?

Emotional boundaries don’t always come easily, and they can carry a lot of complex feelings. Circumstances that often challenge emotional boundaries include:

Saying "I love you."

Verbal expressions of love can happen at different times for different people, even in the same relationship. If your partner says it and you don’t feel the same way yet, that’s okay — just because you aren’t ready to say it doesn’t mean you don’t have intimate feelings for them. Let them know how it makes you feel to hear them say it and tell them your own goals for the relationship.

If your trust was broken in the past.

It can be hard to feel comfortable trusting other people again after you’ve had your trust betrayed. Remember that your new partner is not your old partner (or your friend, family member, or someone else who previously broke your trust). Making assumptions about your partner based on the actions of a completely different person isn’t fair to them, even if it affects your thought process.

Trust is a choice, and building trust in your relationship takes time and effort. Most importantly, remember that having trust in yourself is an essential part of trusting others. If you feel unable to trust yourself or other people right now, it might not be the best time for you to be in a relationship.