Contrary to what most couples think, setting up relationship boundaries is actually a good thing. It does create a bit of a distance between you and your loved one because boundaries is another way of saying “No”. However, you want that tiny bit of space to keep your individuality and relationship intact.
Setting Up Healthy Relationship Boundaries
Not a lot of couples set relationship boundaries because it is a hard conversation to have. As mentioned, setting boundaries is another way of saying “You can’t do this” or “This is not acceptable”. In most relationships, however, it’s not a question of the lack of boundary setting. It’s a matter of poor or unhealthy relationship boundaries.
So how do you set up ones that are healthy and ones that will keep your relationship (and sanity)? There are four steps:
1. Let the other person know that he or she has crossed a boundary.
When your partner has crossed one of your boundaries, make sure to tell them about it. For example, if you don’t like that your partner likes to name call, then tell him or her so. Do it in a voice that’s calm and non-judgemental.
Explain a little bit why you have this personal boundary. If your partner sees him or herself in your shoes, they might understand better.
2. Ask your partner to not cross the boundary again.
When you ask, it’s important, again, to do so in a voice that’s not sarcastic or condescending. Most people respond to a calm voice because it is the voice of reason.
You have to figure out a good consequence whenever your partner repeats the action. If your partner is aware, it’s likely that he or she will not repeat the offense. But, for other people, it may take a few tries. So, when one of your boundaries has been crossed, you can either take a walk, get out of the house for an hour, or you stop talking to your partner until things calm down. Whatever consequence you set up, make sure that you do good with it.
Those are three steps to establishing healthy relationship boundaries. Keep repeating steps one until three to really let your partner know that what he or she is doing can affect your relationship in a negative way. For more tips on bettering relationships, check out more of our blog posts.