Dating can be challenging, and each relationship will have its own set of struggles and issues. But having healthy boundaries ensures not only that you choose the right partner but that your relationship stays on track moving forward.
Your relationship boundaries are personal, so it’s up to you to decide what they are. Some may seem like a no-brainer, and others will be more specific to your relationship, but they will help make sure that both you and your partner are happy and fulfilled in your relationship.
Why Boundaries Are Important
Your boundaries are your rules to teach people how to treat you. You can have boundaries at work, with your family, friends, and in romantic relationships.
Boundaries are essential in relationships because they set the stage for what your relationship looks like and what it will become. Think of it as providing a framework to help your partner manage expectations of what it’s like to be in a relationship with you.
Your relationships will be more balanced and supportive with clear personal boundaries. Otherwise, you will inevitably experience chaos, confusion, and toxicity.
Boundaries can also help prevent conflict by ensuring that each person knows what they need to do to make the other person feel loved, respected, and cherished. However, many people find it challenging to create or respect boundaries in their relationships because they weren’t taught how to or didn’t see them appropriately modeled by their parents.
Boundaries For A Healthy Relationship
Here are thirteen common boundaries to help create a healthy relationship:
- You don’t have to share everything.
- You get to say “no.”
- You can have friendships with members of the opposite sex.
- You can ask questions about your partner’s past relationships and sexual history without feeling guilty or ashamed.
- You don’t have to do things that compromise your values, no matter how much you love your partner or how badly you want the relationship to work out.
- You don’t have to spend every minute with your partner if you don’t want to (and vice versa).
- Your emotions and thoughts are just as important as those of your partner.
- You each have your own hobbies, interests, and friends.
- You don’t need approval or permission from your partner when you want to hang out with friends, family, or co-workers.
- You each have the right to privacy and can expect any secrets shared will stay between you two(unless there is an exception to that rule).
- Each person is responsible for managing their finances and paying their bills, though you may decide to pool funds or contribute financially in other ways. The key is that you discuss and mutually agree.
- Neither person should feel obligated to give up things they enjoy just because their partner doesn’t like those things.
- It’s okay that you don’t talk about personal struggles that you haven’t worked through yet.
The Downside To Not Having Boundaries
Think of your boundaries as a guiding light that keeps you in alignment with your highest version of self. Having them shows that you respect yourself, making you less likely to tolerate disrespectful or demeaning behavior. If your partner doesn’t respect them, they may not be the person for you.
Here’s what that looks like in real life. I once had a dating experience where my date said and did something inappropriate in the company of a female friend. When I shared that his behavior made us both feel uncomfortable, he apologized but then gaslighted my friend and me. Big red flag!
Boundaries are a crucial part of any healthy relationship. They help you connect with your partner, create more intimacy and help keep you both feeling safe and secure in the relationship.
Having clear boundaries in your relationship will help you feel happier, more confident, and more in control of what’s happening around you. They avoid awkward situations and allow both parties to live life fully.
Setting boundaries also forces us to learn about ourselves better – we don’t just set limits for others, but we also get to discover our own needs and values.
About the author: Remy Meraz is the co-founder and CEO of Zella Life, a coaching platform bridging the diversity gap to help professionals of color to grow and thrive.