Boundaries are important in every type of relationship. Whether it’s an in-law or a new partner. Figuring out how to set boundaries may be tough, but it’s an important form of communication. Without them, you could find yourself frustrated with the relationship down the line.
Even if you’ve been with someone for years, it’s never too late to figure out the best way to set boundaries. Here are some ways you can start setting them with someone you care about.
Our Guide on How to Set Boundaries
Talk about the importance of alone time with your partner
Are you the type of person who really values alone time? That’s totally natural, healthy even! But it’s important for your partner to know. Otherwise, they may push your limits without realizing it or think that you’re avoiding them.
If you feel that you need alone time to unwind after work or to read the weekend paper in peace, say this to your partner. Explain how it’s nothing personal, and actually to do with you and how you care for yourself. Communication is key.
Taking the space to be on our own allows us to get to know ourselves. By defining our individuality, we’re more self-assured and confident. That makes us better partners too. Sounds like a win-win situation, right?
Stand your ground while learning how to set boundaries
Your feelings matter. If something makes you uncomfortable, you should figure out how to set boundaries and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
This includes incidents in the bedroom. If your partner does something sexually that makes you uncomfortable, you have the right to tell them and set boundaries. There’s no need to feel awkward or embarrassed.
If standing your ground is a deal-breaker for them, this might be a big sign that this isn’t the best relationship for you. For a relationship to be successful, it’s important that both parties feel safe and supported.
Keep calm and try not to turn it into a fight
In figuring out how to set boundaries, you may worry that it’ll turn into a blow-up argument.
If your frustration with your partner has led you to wonder how to set boundaries with them, cool down and take some deep breaths before you have the conversation about it. The goal here is to improve your overall relationship, not make it more strained.
Communicating boundaries with your partner in a calm, clear way is key. Explain to them that creating this space for you to grow as individuals will probably bring you closer together and protect your relationship in the long run.
Avoid blaming each other and anyone else
Try to think about how you’re phrasing your words. Putting some thought into how to kindly bring this topic up with your significant other will go a long way. Trust us.
For example, do you feel uncomfortable with how much of your relationship your partner shared with their parents? Then saying something like, “I am not comfortable when you tell your bossy mom about our personal business” is probably not going to go down too well.
Instead try saying “I feel a little awkward when you talk about our future plans”. It works better because it puts the focus on you, not their mom, and they won’t feel attacked. Good phrasing can be everything.
Otherwise, it’ll likely lead your partner to feel the need to defend their parent and the real issue getting lost.
Remind yourself that boundaries can change with time
It’s possible that as the relationship goes forward, you’ll naturally start to feel more comfortable with your partner. So, your boundaries may end up changing. That’s perfectly fine, as long as you’re comfortable with it.
When you learn about setting boundaries, you need to remind yourself that this isn’t a permanent list. Instead, it’s just what feels right in the moment. Make sure your partner knows that. It’ll let them know there’s room for personal growth.
Understand that boundaries are an essential part of every relationship
If your partner makes you feel as if setting boundaries is unhealthy, this could be a relationship red flag.
Everyone should set boundaries at some point, otherwise, they risk getting lost in mismanaged situations. If your partner mocks your need for certain freedoms, it’s important for you to see that as their rebellion for not getting their way.
Don’t allow yourself to be stepped on just because you’re afraid to speak up. Establishing boundaries is your right.
Get comfortable with saying no
It’s ok to say no to something. And, it’s also a small way for you to build up a bit more confidence.
By disagreeing with the popular opinion on occasion — and making it well known — you’re proving that your feelings matter and should count. The more you get used to saying no when you want, the easier it’ll be to set boundaries and be taken seriously.
Learning how to set boundaries can be scary, especially if you don’t often speak up. But, it’s an important skill to learn. If you don’t feel safe or respected in a relationship, it’s likely that this environment isn’t one where you’ll thrive.
So learn to voice your opinion and respect yourself and your expectations. We bet you’ll feel all the better for it.