People have a lot of misconceptions about what boundaries are and what they do for relationships. Relationships and boundaries together are often thought of as a bad thing or simply unnecessary in a romantic relationship. Isn’t our partner supposed to act on our needs and wants? Isn’t that a part of a perfect relationship? Don’t they ruin the relationship?
Many couples could assume that having boundaries means not having loving feelings towards their partner.
Healthy emotional boundaries are crucial in helping us to enjoy a happy and long-term relationship. Setting emotional boundaries in relationships allows both partners to feel comfortable, develop positive esteem, and reduce anxiety, depression, and stress.
Types of boundaries
Boundaries set in a relationship are your own invisible force field, and you are in charge of protecting it. Boundaries may include physical boundaries and emotional boundaries.
Emotional boundaries mean setting your feelings from another’s feelings.
What are emotional boundaries?
Emotional or, most commonly said, personal boundaries are limits we set in a relationship that helps us to protect ourselves from being manipulated.
Similarly, defining emotional boundaries in marriages is a process of determining what behavior you will accept from others or what you will not. A successful relationship is all about two individuals having a clearly defined sense of their own identity.
5 healthy emotional boundaries
Having boundaries means honoring ourselves as separate individuals, and without them, we allow others to override our own feelings and desires. They help certain benefits:
Healthy emotional boundaries allow us to rejoice in our own uniqueness.
They help to maintain our distance when we might be harmed by getting too close.
Good boundaries specifically protect us from becoming engulfed in abusive relationships.
Most importantly, they allow us to take care of ourselves and, if we can receive it, to respect the selves of others.
What are unhealthy boundaries in a relationship?
Boundaries with the words ‘always,’ ‘never’ or any other absolute language often fails. Such boundaries are usually unrealistic and thus don’t last. Many partners don’t even talk about their boundaries and expect their partner just to know them.
Therefore, a lack of communication creates confusion and can lead to boundary violations in relationships and hurt your bond in the long run.
Unhealthy boundaries are generally a result of being raised in dysfunctional families. In such families, maturation and the individual process are not properly understood, nor is the child respected as an individual. They are often characterized by a weak sense of their own identity. Thus, it leads you down the road to relying on your partner for happiness and even decision-making responsibilities.
Check out the 9 signs of poor boundaries you need to know—and why people might have poor boundaries in relationships in the first place:
You can always take help from a relationship therapist if you feel that relationship boundaries are getting blurred and the bond is getting toxic. For a healthy a happy relationship, boundaries are one important ingredient.
What are boundary traps?
Meanwhile, you need to be aware of boundary traps in a relationship. In order to know how to set emotional boundaries, you need to start by recognizing the common boundary traps you fall into. Some of the following scenarios may seem familiar:
My identity comes from my partner, and I am nobody if I’m not in a relationship.
This is way better than the last relationship I was in.
The relationship might get better if I just give it more time.
My partner would be lost without me.
How to set up emotional boundaries in a relationship?
Healthy boundaries involve everything from knowing and affirming what is important to us to speaking up when you think you are being disrespected. Additionally, it includes advocating for yourself to have time for your own interests.
Following are ways to help you get started setting emotional boundaries in a marriage.
1. Be self-aware
The first step in setting any boundary is undoubtedly self-knowledge. It is important to know what you like or dislike and what makes you comfortable versus what scares you.
Without your own knowledge, it would be quite difficult to engage in the process of an ongoing relationship in a way that is functional.
Making assumptions about your partner’s feelings can create a lot of misunderstandings in a relationship. You may think you are familiar with your partner very well. But it is always best to ask about their wants and needs rather than assume.
3. Be specific and clear
It is crucial to follow through on what you say because it seems easier said than done. Setting boundaries in a relationship and then not being able to execute them lets your partner think they have an excuse to continue to overstep your boundaries.
It is better not to make any exceptions to your own boundaries, or soon, you will find yourself compromising things that aren’t acceptable to you.
4. Try a sandwich approach
This includes compliments and criticism. You can start a discussion with a compliment that prevents your partner from getting defensive.
5. Be clear about your love
You need to be clear about your love while being clear about your boundaries. When couples are clear about the rules, goals, and expectations, the relationship can be stable.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships Read more and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.
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