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„Boundaries define us. They define what I am and what I am not. A boundary shows me where I stop and someone else begins, leading me to a sense of ownership. Knowing what to own and what to take responsibility for gives me freedom.” – Henry Wolke.
A healthy relationship only exists when there are healthy boundaries between the couples. Such examples of healthy boundaries in a relationship help us to know our significant other holistically. Understanding and communicating each other's personal, physical, and emotional needs is the best way to set examples of healthy boundaries in a relationship.
But what do healthy boundaries actually look like in relationships? To help you understand the same, we bring you some cases and examples of healthy boundaries in relationships, in consultation with a psychotherapistDR. Aman Bhönsle(Ph.D., PGDTA) who specializes in relationship counseling and rational emotional behavioral therapy. He explains setting boundaries as an act of self-assertion. When both partners respect healthy boundaries, emotional intimacy becomes a strong foundation in a relationship.
What are healthy boundaries in a relationship?
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"When it comes to your life as a couple, remember that there are actually three entities involved: yourself, your partner, and the relationship itself -- and boundaries need to be defined for each," says Dr. Jacqui Gabb, Professor of Sociology.
Setting examples of healthy boundaries in a relationship means communicating and sharing your values, principles, morals, beliefs, past trauma, likes and even dislikes. This helps your partner understand your emotional and physical limitations and contributes to a much better overall relationship.
Examples ofHealthy Boundaries in a Relationshipare not just emotional or psychological, they can also be physical boundaries. For example, if you don't like being touched in a certain way, or if you don't want to be mentioned certain names, it's important to let your partner know and let them know where you draw the line. In turn, if your partner respects that and refrains from doing things they know you are uncomfortable with, you have created a healthy boundary in your relationship.
How do you set boundaries in relationships?
Before we dive into understanding the list of relationship boundaries, we first need to look at how to set them. Usually, during the honeymoon period, boundaries are basically non-existent in a relationship because the two lovebirds are usually too in love to care. But once the relationship starts to solidify, personal needs kick in and things start to change. For example, in your first few weeks of dating, you loved how your boyfriend would wait for you outside of work every night and drive you home. But now that feels a little exhausting.
After such a long day you want to enjoy the drive home yourself, and seeing it constantly feels almost like a burden. Not that your relationship is a liability. It's just that you both still haven't understood each other's boundaries. In order to set examples of personal boundaries in your relationship, you both need to startcommunicate more honestlyand more often.
You need to verbally show off when you feel you need some space away from your partner. Whether they're texting you at work or showing up unannounced at your apartment, unless you make it clear that these things might bother you, you won't be able to set boundaries in your relationship. Be nice to them, but clearly state what you need.
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19 examples of healthy boundaries in a relationship
There are many examples of healthy boundaries in a relationship. Be it a relationship or marriage, having personal, physical, and sexual boundaries helps with better communication and increases overall intimacy. Healthy boundaries in a relationship will help you deal with challenging situations smoothly instead of causing tension or strain on your bond.
DR. Bhonslesays: “Setting boundaries is an important factor in a relationship. It is about establishing conditions of respect and taking into account the rights, desires and aspirations of other people. Boundary setting is a manifestation of assertiveness, which is a reservoir that acts as a source.” So it's important that we go through this list of relationship boundaries. Let's look at a few examples and experiences that will help us understand what examples of personal boundaries really look like in a relationship.
Related reading: 11 things that describe true love feelings
1. Simplest but most powerful limit - communication
This is one of the most important examples of healthEmotional boundaries in a relationship. If you are honest with your partner about your thoughts, you can set examples of verbal boundaries. Sometimes it is difficult to draw a line between thoughts and feelings. In such situations, it's always good to take some time to collect your thoughts, rather than using it as a tactic to avoid further discussion.
"Dana and I were at a party the other day, my boyfriend brought his friend Jacob and we were trying to get Dana together with him. We had a great time and as we walked Jacob leaned in to give Dana a hug, but Dana just stood there and conveyed that she's not much of a hugger and that a handshake is all it takes. It was strange for me to understand at the time, but now I know she's comfortable communicating and setting examples of healthy physical boundaries, which I admire," says Cecilia (32 ), a bartender/hostess.
2. Taking responsibility or refusing to take blame
Sous-Chef Raghu (26) says: "Every time my girlfriend and I fight or argue, we come to an agreement and make things right. We both apologize and accept equal responsibility for our actions.” Believe Raghu, constructive discussion after an argument is essential in any relationship.
Sometimes you or your partner blame each other out of anger, hurt, or guilt after a heated argument. But instead of blaming each other for how you feel, stop for a moment and ask yourself what decisions you made and what led to the current situation in the first place. Acknowledge each other's feelings, but never take responsibility for your partner's actions. This is one of the simplest examples of healthy emotional boundaries in a relationship.
3. Respect each other's privacy
We cannot stress the importance of these. dr Bhonsle says, "Typically, people who are in a relationship try to possess the other partner, which directly invades privacy. in onehealthy relationship, no two people should try to possess each other. You are not owners, you are employees working together.”
This is one of the most important examples of personal boundaries in a healthy relationship. It's important to share your belongings, passwords, journals, past trauma, and trigger points as you see fit. Someone who forces you to share things is unacceptable. Don't stand for it.
dr Bhonsle further adds, "When it comes to past traumas and triggers, they should be shared at a common pace. Sharing should be mindful.” As an example, he continues: “In a marriage, if a woman loves dogs and talks about it all the time, and the man doesn't like dogs because someone close to him died of rabies, he will just sit still and listen when the woman brags about the dogs.
“And the woman is unaware of his past trauma. Because it has not been shared before, he might feel resentment and it might express itself in anger at a strange time and this can become a touchy subject in the marriage. So there needs to be effort from both sides to reach that kind of healthy emotional boundary.”
Related reading:21 elements to develop respect in a relationship
4. Saying “no” is one example of healthy boundaries
On an episode of FRIENDS where Monica and Chandler budget for their wedding; Monica says, "We can always make money, but we only get married once." To which Chandler replies, "See, I understand, but I have to step on the gas, okay, the answer is NO." Such examples of setting boundaries can really go a long way, while fictional, so take a tip or two from Chandler.
This in particular is one of the best examples of emotional boundaries in a healthy relationship. We often tend to do whatever our partner wants because we think saying no would harm them. Evensay no to sex, is something we tend to avoid because we worry about upsetting our partner. But the ability to say no to things that go against your principles or disregard your time and energy is one of the key examples of personal boundaries that more and more couples are emulating. It is important in a relationship to have such healthy emotional boundaries.
5. Mutual respect in the relationship
If you've set examples of healthy boundaries in a relationship, also let your partner know how you'd like to be treated. If you want to be loved and respected in a certain way, you also need to show the same kind of love and respect. If your partner speaks to you in a stubborn manner or in a disrespectful tone, you should always let them know that this is unacceptable. This is one of the examples of healthy boundaries in marriages and relationships.
"I believe relationships require more trust and respect than love. They must first understand each other as friends before love plays its part. Respect each other's belief systems and goals. You cannot expect anything without also giving.
“There has to be a general arc of respect just to be human. In every relationship there is conditional and unconditional respect, and it should always be mutual. Just because you disagree doesn't mean you shouldn't respect each other. There are possibilitiesFight respectfully with your spouseor partner,” explains Dr. bhonsle
6. Being independent despite being in a relationship
It's perfectly fine to switch from "you" and "I" to "we" in a healthy relationship. But having individuality is important and puts a personal boundary in a relationship because you also need to match your interests, intelligence, and passions. "My husband loves to play golf every Sunday morning, but I enjoy going to my yoga class. So he takes me to my class and he goes to the club,” says Anne, a fashion designer, when we spoke to her about examples of healthy boundaries in marriage.
"We have a day off from work, so in the morning we do things we like to do as two people, and later in the evening we do what we like to do as a couple. This way we are both happy and have a healthy relationship. It's important to have those personal boundaries in a relationship," she added.
7. Outer space is one of the prime examples of personal boundaries
In this list of relationship boundaries, don't forget space and how it can actually improve a relationship. Have andgive space in a relationshipis one of the important and necessary examples of personal boundaries in a healthy relationship. Taking time to be with your thoughts and emotions or just to do your thing is an example of a healthy emotional boundary that every individual should practice, whether in a relationship or otherwise.
Every couple has their own set of rules, and one such rule that perfectly reflects what healthy boundaries should be in relationships was set by Mr. Big and Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City 2. Carrie spends two days at her old apartment finishing her articles and they both have a great night later that day. This is what Mr. Big thinks about every week because he really sees the benefit of it in his marriage.
He says: “What if I had my own apartment? Just a place I can go two days a week, lay around, watch TV, and do the things I want to do that annoy you. And the other five days I'd be here available for dinner and glitter or whatever." Although Carrie says that's not how marriages work, he responds by saying, "I thought we should make our own rules. "
8. Spiritual boundaries are a must in relationships
You may believe in spirituality or religion, or have your own belief system that you firmly believe in. And your partner may or may not share these in the slightest. For this reason, one of the prime examples of verbal boundaries that couples must follow is to communicate their respective stances on spirituality and to respect each other's opinions.
It is important to respect, nurture, encourage and learn from each other. It is an example of a healthy border. “Every individual has a right to their god, their religion, their belief system. Whatever normalizes and doesn't blow you away from reality and into hell is perfectly fine and acceptable. No one has the right to tell you what to believe and what not to believe, and that's certainly one of the boundaries to set in a relationship.
“Whatever normalizes you should be done with or without your partner's involvement. It's like going to the bathroom, you have to do it no matter what. How you do it, when you do it, and where you do it is entirely your choice. One cleans your outside, the other cleans your inside,” says Dr. bhonsle
Related reading: The 7 types of boundaries you need to strengthen your relationship
9. Eliminate all negative energy
Examples of personal boundaries in a relationship are set for both partners. When you're angry or upset, talk to your partner about your mood instead of blurting out and bringing negative energy into a relationship. Practicing emotional boundary examples like this will help you manage your emotions without toxicity. The right kind of boundaries can help preventemotional floodin a relationship.
dr Bhonsle says negative energy is extremely bad for a healthy relationship. “When a partner is frustrated about something at work, but comes home with that frustration and takes it out on the other, everything around them snowballs. It is important to solve your problems, perhaps with the help of a therapist or just by bringing in your rational thoughts. Normally, people are prone to irrational behavior that could mislead,” he says.
That's why one of the healthy examples of emotional boundaries in a relationship is learning to manage your own difficult emotions so they don't interfere with your bonding.
10. Communicating your everyday expectations is one of the boundaries you need to set in a relationship
"We had a party at our place a few weeks ago. After all the guests left, there was so much clutter to clear up. I couldn't wait until the next morning for housekeeping to come and clean it as I have extreme OCD and wanted it all taken care of. My boyfriend understands what I'm going through, so we both cleaned the house at 4:30 in the morning,” says Sushma, 27, a cook.
It's important to be considerate in a healthy relationship. If you're a light sleeper and your partner's movement wakes you up, communicate the same. If you have OCD and don't like things being messy, tell your partner about it. Incorporating examples of verbal boundaries like this into your relationship will help prevent minor irritants from becoming trigger points.
11. Sexual boundaries are a must
This falls under any category of healthy boundary examples in relationships that span both the physical and psychological levels. Intimacy plays a huge part in a relationship and this is whycommunicate sexual fantasies, desires and limits is important. Pressuring or manipulating your significant other to do certain things without content is not healthy. It is necessary to be honest and vulnerable.
dr Bhonsle explains, “Fantasies and desires should be shared between partners. But if the man wants anal sex and the woman doesn't want it just because she has a rectal infection and values her health over fleeting pleasure, then without a doubt that should be respected. After all, health is a friend that should never be lost. Add it to your relationship boundaries checklist.”
Related reading: Lack of Affection and Intimacy in a Relationship - 9 Ways It Affects You
12. Time management is one of the examples of limits
Time management is one of the underrated but important examples of boundaries in a relationship. Whether you're in a relationship or not, knowing how to manage your own time will get you places. Punctuality shows how much you respect yourself and your partner in maintaining your daily routine or showing up at a party.
"When couples come to therapy, we typically use a 'zero hour' task for those who are struggling to make time for their partners. The idea is to get the point home that when you take time out of your busy schedule for your partner, you also give love, respect, dignity, and compassion. Instead of scrolling through WhatsApp or checking out some cat videos on Instagram, use this time to show appreciation to your significant other," says Dr. bhonsle
13. Material and Financial Limits
Most couples share possessions, whether it's a car, a house, or even a joint bank account. On the other hand, they also want independence in every respect. Working out the details of how finances and material possessions are shared between both partners becomes one of the defining examples of healthy boundaries in relationships.
Money problems can ruin a relationship, and therefore financial and material limits should be discussed pragmatically, without mocking or respecting each other. This is one of the examples of personal boundaries in a relationship that isn't as easy as it seems.
14. Being vulnerable is one of the examples of emotional boundaries
Vulnerability comes naturally to everyone, some don't show it and others can't hide it. However, the ability to be vulnerable with one's partner without feeling obligated to do so is one example of emotional boundaries that all couples should strive for. You need to be able to discuss specific things at a specific time without feeling pressured.
dr Bhonsle explains, “Being in a relationship means being emotionally vulnerable. You need a collaborator as it is very important to challenge the notion of being vulnerable. It takes two people to have a healthy relationship. It's not about building walls, it's about who can climb and get to the other side, see their partner's vulnerability and embrace them with love, respect and trust."
15. Asking for and accepting help is an example of healthy boundaries in marriage
Ask for and accept help without bringing your luggagetraditional gender rolesinto the equation is an example of emotional boundaries that might be a bit tricky and messy. Assuming your partner is independent and doesn't like seeking help with family problems or at work, leave them alone. But sometimes they may ask you for help, and you should be able to talk openly about it without offending either of you.
"Both partners should support each other with money, love, housework and everything that is needed in a healthy relationship without bringing gender into the scenario. Giving and receiving help is a key attribute of being in a healthy emotional relationship and creating examples of healthy boundaries in marriage," said Dr. bhonsle
16. Stay true to principles
Sticking to your principles is an emotional boundary you must set for yourself in order to be successful both as an individual and as part of a relationship. No matter who you date, you shouldn't change to suit or please your prospects. And yes, your partner could open your mind and introduce you to new ideas, but he/she should not force you or accept you to adopt for fear of losing them. Change is natural, but do it on your own terms.
17. Speak for yourself
“I believe that disagreements among people are endemic. No matter who you meet in the world, no two people are the same in their way of thinking. Tell your partner that you want to negotiate respectful terms. One of the examples of verbal boundaries in this case would be that if you don't want them to raise their voice while they're talking to you, or for them to criticize your food in front of your mom, you have to put your foot down and tell your partner without doubt.
"This need to set this example of the limit arises from a place of assertiveness and is therefore non-negotiable," says Dr. bhonsle You deserve love, kindness and respect. If your partner jokes about something personal in front of your or their friends that you think is disrespectful, tell them about it.
Lack of empathy in a relationshipcan have devastating consequences and must be fought as early as possible. It starts by drawing a line in the sand as to how you may or may not be treated. If your partner says mean and ugly things during an argument, stand up for yourself and ask for an apology. know your worth
18. Change of Mind
“Given the society we grew up in, we usually try to put our husbands on the pedestal and give them most of our decision-making power without even realizing it. Therefore, in most marriages, we usually see husbands dictating the terms, and whatever he says is a final decision with little need to understand the boundaries that need to be set in a relationship.
"Even if a woman disagrees, he persuades her to change her mind, or sometimes women just go with the flow because they don't want to upset the other person," says counselor Anna Fernandez (42).
Your opinions, decisions, decisions are your own. Only you can change your mind, don't let your partner make you feel guilty. If, for whatever reason, you change your mind, share it and set an emotional boundary in a relationship.
19. Mutual sharing is also an example of boundaries in a relationship
“Being vulnerable is a natural emotion that we all experience from time to time. Many men in a relationship find it difficult to be vulnerable in front of their partners because they believe it makes them less manly. Again, these are just the societal norms that we internalize over time. But I see young couples today breaking down those barriers and coming out with their emotions and vulnerabilities,” adds Anna Fernandez.
Vulnerability is a component in a healthy relationship, it's important to create a space for you and your partner. You can share when you feel like it and give your partner the same right. It's good to check your partner's emotions, but don't push or manipulate to get things out of them if they're not ready.
“Boundaries are guidelines andExpectations we place in relationships. Boundaries help both parties understand how to behave—what behavior is acceptable and what is not tolerated,” says Sharon Martin, psychotherapist and co-addiction expert.
In her research, she goes on to explain that borders also differentiate one person from another. When we don't have boundaries, we are likely to become entangled with others. We lose our self-confidence. We become people-pleasers, focusing on meeting other people's expectations rather than being ourselves. And when you're enmeshed, you may not recognize that you have the right to make your own decisions or set boundaries.
frequently asked Questions
1. What are unhealthy boundaries in relationships?
Unhealthy boundaries in a relationship consist of constantly feeling the need to please your partner, spending so much time together that you start to tire of each other, and not having a personal life outside of them.
2. How do you maintain healthy boundaries?
Maintaining healthy boundaries takes work andeffort in a relationshipevery single day. It's not a rule book for you to refer to, but a practice that a couple must constantly inculcate. Examples of healthy boundaries in relationships require a lot of open communication, understanding, and a desire to respect the other person.
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