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Setting Boundaries: Nurturing a Healthy Partnership


two people standing looking down at their feet
setting boundaries for a healthy partnership


What Are Boundaries?


As the word portrays, boundaries in a relationship help each person establish expectations with their partner. Boundaries can help you communicate what you are comfortable with and what you are willing to do within your partnership.


Despite being united by your relationship, each individual needs boundaries to help establish their own personal identity both within a relationship and outside of it. Boundaries can help each individual respect their partner's place within the relationship so that you and your partner can continue to grow together.


How to Set and Maintain Healthy Boundaries?


Setting boundaries within your relationship can be a difficult part of starting a new partnership or improving one that already exists. Communicating your expectations can often feel selfish, especially in a relationship where you are expected to be emotionally, mentally, and physically available to your partner.


However, setting boundaries with your partner is actually a selfless act that can help your partner understand what you are comfortable with and how you prefer to be treated in a relationship. When it comes to setting boundaries with your partner, communication is key.


Your partner cannot respect boundaries if you do not first communicate properly. Setting healthy boundaries is all about being open and honest with your partner. Carve out a time when you can share your needs and wants with your partner. Be sure to clearly state what it is you are looking for your partner to do and what you would like your partner not to do.


When setting boundaries, it is also important to encourage your partner to share their boundaries as well. This will help both parties in the relationship understand the needs of each other. Be sure to provide steps that your partner can take to meet your needs better and encourage your partner to do the same for you.


Simply stating your boundaries one time to your partner may not be enough. You may need to remind your partner of your needs over time to ensure they still respect your boundaries. When an incident arises where one partner does not feel as if their boundaries are being respected, they need to speak up and remind their partner of their needs.


Over time, respecting each other’s boundaries will become easy and your relationship will continue to grow as long as you nurture it.


Healthy boundaries are all about ways that your partner can respect your personal preferences while still growing and nurturing your relationship. Here are some examples of healthy boundaries that you can set up with your partner.


Examples of Healthy Boundaries


Considering Your Partner’s Feelings

You can set and maintain boundaries by considering your partner's feelings when making decisions. When you think about how an action would make your partner feel, before you do that action, you are establishing a healthy boundary that shows respect to your partner.


Giving Space for Personal Growth

Even when we are in a relationship, it is important to foster personal growth. Setting up boundaries that still allow you to pursue your personal growth, hobbies, friends, and family is extremely healthy in every relationship. You must be given the time to be your best to bring the most to your partner.


Prioritizing Honesty

Dishonesty can weave its way into a relationship and push you and your partner apart. Establishing a priority of honesty is a healthy boundary that will help build trust and respect in your relationship.


Taking Responsibility for Your Actions

When you or your partner make a mistake in your relationship, the responsible party must take responsibility for their actions. This is the only way to help solve complex problems as partners. This boundary will help both parties build trust and grow as individuals and as a couple.


Examples of Unhealthy Boundaries


Refusing to Respect Your Partner's Choices

When we refuse to respect or accept our partner’s choices, we lack trust in our partnership. When you refuse to accept when your partner says no or makes a decision, you are blurring the boundary of their autonomy and not respecting their right as an individual to make personal choices. If you are unable to respect them as an individual, there is no way you can respect them as a partner.


Preventing Your Partner from Spending Time Alone

Smothering your partner is a common occurrence in new relationships. You may be excited to spend as much time as possible with your new partner, but it becomes unhealthy when they can take the alone time they need.


Spending time alone is vital for every individual within a relationship. Whether that time is spent perusing hobbies, fostering familial or platonic relationships, or just taking a social break, alone time is important to reset and grow as an individual.


When you prevent your partner from taking the time they need to grow, you show a lack of respect for who they are. Respecting this boundary of time and space can help both parties grow and improve the partnership together.


Setting Boundaries Can Help You Nurture Your Relationship.


Establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries is a valuable action in every relationship. Communication is the key to ensuring that boundaries are understood and respected.


If you feel as if your partner continues to struggle to respect your boundaries, couples counselling may be helpful. Learning how to establish and continuously respect each other’s boundaries is the key to a healthy and long-lasting relationship.


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