What are Boundaries in a Relationship and How to Set Them


What boundaries should you have in a relationship? We lock the apartment with a key, the car is guarded by an alarm, and we check if the backpack is closed and if the wallet and credit cards are safe. But often, protecting things, we forget to take care of our internal security. Each of us has personal boundaries. And only we can decide where its borders are, who is allowed into it, and who is absolutely forbidden.

What are the boundaries in a relationship? Personal boundaries are exclusively our personal space: interests, beliefs, principles, and values are the invisible boundary between other people and us. Throughout life, it changes many times, depending on the proximity to specific people. For example, you let family and friends closer, tell them more than friends and colleagues.

What are Boundaries in a Relationship and How to Set Them

List of boundaries in a relationship

  • Hard Boundaries – We avoid all intimate relationships and sexual life. This is when we practically do not ask for even the slightest help and do everything ourselves. We don't make friends. We protect all personal information very carefully. We keep everything at a distance. It is better to give up everything ourselves than to be rejected by us.

  • Weak boundaries - everyone is always ready to tell everyone with joy, but we almost never say “no” when others ask us. We listen to the opinions of others and often depend on it. We are fine with being disrespectful and are very worried that we will be rejected if we refuse.

  • Healthy psychological boundaries - we value our opinion, adhere to values and take care of personal information, share in moderation. We always clearly know what we want, and we are always ready to declare our desires. We know how to refuse and definitely accept "no" from others. These are appropriate boundaries in relationships.

  • Material boundaries are about what can be given to you. When you lend money, should you pay it back? And vice versa - do they return yours to you?

  • The physical boundary in relationships. Here we determine how close we allow someone to be near, to touch you, where, and how. Pay attention to sexual boundaries. Only you can determine whom to have sex with and where. What is allowed and what is absolutely not allowed?

How to set boundaries in a relationship?

As soon as boundaries are violated, we experience aggression. This is one of the most obvious signs when they need to be restored. We become irritable in relationships with a particular person, unhappy with the situation, and angry more than usual, often on themselves and not on someone who tramples on our territory.

We want to say no, but we agree on something. We do things that are uncomfortable for us. We made excuses when we didn't do anything wrong. When we have done something wrong, we feel guilt exaggeratedly. We agree with the opinion of the majority and do not seek to declare ourselves.

Other people's desires are more important than our own. When we are alone with ourselves, we experience fear. You keep associating with people who are destroying you. Do not seek to defend yourself and boundaries.

Examples of healthy boundaries in relationships

  • Allows you to build healthy, trusting relationships.

  • They are able to calmly refuse or change their minds.

  • We let people in.

  • Always in contact with ourselves, we feel what they want from us.

  • We easily defend our own territory.

  • Very rarely, we clash and provoke quarrels.

  • We are consciously responsible for our actions and decisions.

  • Self-confident.

  • We have better control over our lives and are more stable.

What is emotional abuse?

Unlike physical and sexual abuse, emotional abuse is a subtle tool. But with its help, the manipulator gains almost unlimited control in the relationship. As psychologists note, emotional abuse is not immediately recognized by the victims. Moreover, usually at first, the abuser acts as a caring partner who pays maximum attention, thereby confusing the victim. The abuser enters into trust, which makes the object of his attention even more vulnerable.

Boundaries in relationships checklist

Being tough doesn't mean being callous, demeaning, or offensive! It means sticking to your position. Insist on it if necessary. Clarify it clearly, directly - but politely, kindly, and maybe even gently. If necessary, calmly repeat what has been said over and over again.

In fact, many people with complex personalities have difficulty identifying the emotions and causes of other people's behavior. Other people may seem to them to be overly confused personalities, overreacting, and in a completely incomprehensible way. Therefore, speaking about your position directly and simply, in fact, you can do a good deed for them: you will make it easier for them to understand the world around them. Perhaps they will be grateful to you.

For example, you can say this:

  • Thank you for your time yesterday, but I don't want to develop this relationship. Please don't call or text me again. I really wish you all the best in life.

We agreed to meet at 5 o'clock. You didn't come, and you didn't call. This is not the first time this has happened. That's why I don't want to make any more appointments with you. You must have had some important business elsewhere, but I don't want to waste any more of my time.

Setting boundaries in relationships

  • Define your personal boundaries. The best way to build personal boundaries is to love ourselves, listen, and take good care of ourselves. Sometimes, for this, you need to seek help from a psychologist.

  • For healthy boundaries, it is important to work through your traumas and attitudes.

  • When we value our time, we also maintain boundaries. For example, we do not answer calls from management outside of working hours; we do not take criticism personally.

  • It is important to knock on the child's room and teach him to knock on you.

  • Ask mom to come only with a warning and guests with an invitation.

  • Always stop criticism and dissatisfaction with you. Although, if you have personal boundaries built, negative feedback should not cling to you.

  • You will definitely stop giving advice when you are not asked and you know exactly what you yourself need.

  • You won't allow things like reading personal emails, gossiping at work, and being disrespectful to others. Avoid dangerous situations.

  • Also, healthy boundaries allow you to be flexible - choose your reaction to events, respect both your choice and others and accept people as different.

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