This blog answers the question, “are boundaries important in a relationship?”. Short answer: yes. They are very important in a relationship. Without them, we may struggle to attend to your and your partner’s needs.
Boundaries create a clear guideline of how you would like to be treated, by letting others know what is and what is not okay or acceptable. You can also create and maintain boundaries with yourself, which will be discussed later in this blog.
In romantic relationships, you may need boundaries for a number of reasons. This includes physical, emotional, and sexual needs, and more. You likely need to also have boundaries for yourself to ensure that you are meeting your own needs as well.
This blog reviews four essential boundaries in a relationship. It’s possible that you will set other boundaries for other reasons as time goes on. Having your partner respect your boundaries, while you respect theirs, helps a healthy relationship flourish.
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Are Boundaries Important in a Relationship?: Personal Boundaries
Personal boundaries support you in meeting your own needs. You may be someone who juggles a lot on a regular basis. Whether that’s school, work, raising a family, caring for animals, or more. There is already a need for balance within your personal life.
Even if you are not someone juggling several responsibilities, you are deserving of exercising personal boundaries as well. Others may use your free time to guilt or shame you into being available. Here, a boundary you can set with yourself is to remain firm that you are actually, still, unavailable.
It is not your responsibility to manage how others negatively respond to your boundaries. It is your responsibility, however, to protect your energy and peace according to your needs.
You may want to have a set sleep schedule, such as going to bed or waking up at a certain time. Having a personal boundary in this situation would be holding yourself accountable to meet these times you’ve set for yourself.
A third example includes having a personal boundary when it comes to dating. You want to take things slowly with this partner. In this scenario, you would have a personal boundary to move according to what you’re comfortable with, and remain firm in that.
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Are Boundaries Important in a Relationship?: Emotional Boundaries
Emotional boundaries are similar to personal boundaries, however these are for protecting your emotional state of mind. You are there to support your partner through the good and bad times. It’s important that they know you are a safe person to talk about vulnerable topics with.
One emotional boundary in relationships is understanding what is and what isn’t yours to fix. Let’s say for example, your partner struggles with self-regulation. Communicating their feelings, concerns, or insecurities are difficult, and may end in reactivity. This includes blaming, misplaced anger, or a lack of self-insight.
While these reactions are not appropriate, they are also not yours to try to heal and fix. Although your partner may apologize afterwards and plan to handle it better in the future, they will need to demonstrate that moving forward.
You may have a boundary to not want to communicate if your partner is treating you unfairly or putting you in awkward positions during your conversation. You are at a point where you want to support your partner, but do not want to regulate their emotions for them.
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Are Boundaries Important in a Relationship?: Sexual & Intimacy Boundaries
Sexual & intimacy boundaries include direct communication around what you are and what you are not comfortable with when being intimate. You and your partner may have different experiences around intimacy. Therefore, you need clear guidelines of what is and what is not okay.
A few questions you and your partner can review could be:
- What do you like / What don’t you like?
- What are you comfortable with / not comfortable with?
- How do you initiate intimacy or sex? How do you like others to initiate intimacy or sex?
- How do you feel about using protection?
You can also use this as an opportunity to set boundaries:
- I want you to ask me if we can touch each other before you do.
- I want to get to know you more before we get intimate.
- I’m not comfortable with doing that.
- I just want to hug you right now.
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Are Boundaries Important in a Relationship?: Physical Boundaries
Physical boundaries include touching, your personal bubble, and your physical needs. You may be someone who requires at least one day a week to themselves. Alongside this, you may want to have independent time without them.
This could look like wanting to only hangout with your friends one night, and bringing your partner along another night. You enjoy doing solo activities, and coming together to engage in some together.
Having that balance will help you and your partner maintain your own individual interests, hobbies, or relationships with others. For time spent together, you may have shared hobbies or activities that you enjoy engaging in. This helps you remain connected, while taking time to connect with yourself.
You can talk about physical boundaries for other situations. This includes PDA, who you are comfortable spending time with, and more. When your needs come up, make sure to communicate them clearly and effectively. This will support both you and your partner meeting each other’s needs.
Not sure what kind of therapy you or your loved one should get started in? Call us today for a free consultation where we can help you understand the best route to take.
In-person therapy in Simi Valley is ideal for those seeking a separate, safe space from their home. Check out our blog on Online Therapy or In Office Therapy to understand what format is best for you. Another great blog to read is ours on if you need Therapy or Medication to address your issues, as well as information on Therapy: Where to Start.
By seeking out support, you can begin your journey to feeling relief. You don’t have to go through finding the right level of support alone, either.
Consider calling our therapy group at (805) 774-1506 for a free consultation on how you or a loved one can get started today!
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