boundaries for relationships
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Boundaries are important for every relationship. Yes, every relationship.

In fact, setting clear boundaries early on can help keep your relationship strong in times of trouble.

When you think of the word boundaries— you may see them as strict rules that constrain a relationship. You may even think that you don’t need them in your relationship because of how close you are, or how well you understand each other. But the reality is, every relationship can benefit from clear boundaries.

Boundaries are guidelines related to certain circumstances or events that set expectations for how you and your partner will act towards each other. Not only this, but what the consequences will be if boundaries are violated.

Boundaries for relationships are extremely beneficial, and can specifically help your relationship achieve:

  • improved communication
  • greater sense of shared understanding
  • feelings of safety and security
  • avoiding unhealthy or toxic relationships
  • greater sense of self esteem and individuality from your partner
  • better accountability with your partner

The exact boundaries you will set in your relationship are highly personal, but there are definitely some common areas you’ll want to consider setting boundaries. Remember, the examples in this list are just that— examples. The actual boundaries set for a relationship will be different for every person.

Keep reading for 12 types of boundaries for relationships, with examples of each.

1. Financial Boundaries

financial boundaries for relationship

Whether you’re in a new relationship or you’re married, money is an important topic to set boundaries around.

Especially considering that money is one of the top reasons for divorce. What starts as a small disagreement about money can turn into a greater misunderstanding about each other’s financial priorities. Setting proper financial boundaries in your relationship can keep this from happening.

Examples of Financial Boundaries

  • No loaning large amounts of money to or from partner
  • Always splitting the bill for shared experiences or meals
  • Set a dollar limit on shared purchases to avoid potentially messy situations. For example, no shared purchases to exceed $100.
  • If your partner and you have different incomes, consider coming up with a percentage arrangement for what expenses you will each cover (ie 60/40) based on what you each can comfortable afford.
  • Set a limit on how much money will spent on gifts for each other.
  • Set the expectation that one person paying for dates is okay, but never expected

2. Physical and Sexual Boundaries

Physical and sexual boundaries in relationships relate to how your and your partner express physical touch in both sexual and non sexual ways.

Even if you are 100% comfortable with your partner, it is normal to still be uncomfortable with certain physical or sexual actions.

There shouldn’t be any guilt or shame surrounding what you are comfortable with.

The goal of these boundaries is to help you feel safe in your relationship when it comes to physical touch. Like all boundaries, these are highly personal.

Examples of Physical/Sexual Boundaries:

  • Set expectations on what PDA you both feel comfortable with. This could be none at all, just holding hands, or even different depending on who you are around.
  • Limits on where your partner can or can’t touch you
  • Sexual acts and positions that are off limits
  • Set expectations on frequency of sex life
  • Physical violence is NEVER ok.

3. Boundaries to Protect your Time

time boundaries for relationship

Is it healthy to spend every waking minute with your partner? In most cases, probably not.

Consider setting boundaries related to your time to ensure that you neither you or your partner lose yourself in your relationship

Examples of Boundaries to Protect your Time

  • Only spend the night with each other a certain amount of nights per week.
  • Finish work or school before spending time together
  • No phone calls past a certain time of night.
  • Set expectations that you will not sacrifice time spent on hobbies/ passions for your partner.

4. Boundaries for your Families

family boundaries for relationship

Your families will likely be a part of your life in one way or another for a long time. Because of this, it’s best to set boundaries early. Everyone has a different relationship with their family.

Where there’s tension, it may be important to set more restrictive boundaries. In all cases, It’s important to discuss the role of family in your relationship.

Examples of Boundaries for Family

  • Expectations on what personal information can and cannot be shared with family. (Medical information, financial information, etc.)
  • Set expectations for when you will need to remove yourself from family settings if you feel uncomfortable. Also consider coming up with an exit plan.
  • Deciding who’s family you will see for what holidays.
  • Set the expectation that you will discuss big decisions together first, before involving parents
  • Set boundaries for how your partner speaks to and about your family.

5. Boundaries for Texting

When you’re in a relationship, it’s normal to want to text your significant other all day. You’re probably thinking of them, and want to know that they’re thinking of you too.

But texting can be distracting. It can discourage you from living in the present moment.

You may want to set boundaries for texting to avoid strain on your relationship, and to help you be more present in other areas of your life.

Examples of Texting Boundaries

  • Limited texting each other during the work/school day. Consider only texting for important questions, requests, or updates.
  • Not expecting each other to text back when at separate social or family events
  • No staying up late and sacrificing sleep just to text. Consider setting a set time which you will stop texting at night.

6. Boundaries for Your Privacy

texting boundaries for relationship

Even in an intimate relationship, it’s normal to want some boundaries surrounding your privacy.

Personal Belongings, your phone, and social media can all fall under this category. Some people are more private than others, so boundaries can help you communicate your needs.

Examples of Privacy Boundaries

  • Set limits on what you and your partner will share about your relationship on social media and what you will keep private
  • No looking on each others’ phone or computer when you’re not there
  • Set limits on sharing sensitive information about you or your relationship with close friends or family
  • Set limits on who either of you will share marital/relationship problems with

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    7. Boundaries for your Relationships with Exes

    Exes can be a tricky subject. For some, it may make sense to cut off an ex completely. Others may still share responsibilities with an ex, like work or even kids.

    But In a relationship, especially a new one, your partner communicating with or seeing an ex can trigger sensitivity and even jealously.

    It’s important to set clear boundaries so that when these things come up, nothing is a surprise.

    Examples of Boundaries with Exes

    • Set limits on the extent of communication with an ex. Some relationships may benefit from no contact at all, while others will feel comfortable with some communication.
    • Set the expectation that you will tell each other if you speak to an ex
    • Set limits on forms of communication with exes. For example, you may not feel comfortable with your partner snap chatting an ex.
    • Set limits on the detail you will share with each other about past relationships.

    8. Boundaries for Your Mental Health

    If you have ever struggled with mental health, you likely know that boundaries are especially important.

    In a relationship, it’s important for you and your partner to understand how your mental health might come into play in the relationship.

    Not only this, but it’s important for both you and your partner to feel safe and supported in your mental health in your relationship.

    Clear boundaries can help with this.

    Example of Boundaries for Your Mental Health

    • Set an amount of alone time you need that your partner should not interrupt
    • Set boundaries for triggering conversation topics based on past trauma.
    • Never blame each other for mental health issues that arise
    • Set the expectation that it will be a safe and private space to talk about mental health
    • Set expectations for how your partner can and cannot help you during low points

    9. Religious or Spiritual Boundaries

    If you are a religious or spiritual person, boundaries can help you protect this area of yourself and create shared understanding with a partner who has different beliefs.

    Let them know early on the depth of your religiousness or spirituality, as well as how it will affect your choices in your relationship.

    Examples of Religious or Spiritual Boundaries

    • Set the expectation that you will not go back on intuition/guidance for your relationship
    • Even if your partner has different beliefs, it’s reasonable to expect they honor and respect yours
    • Set the expectation that you can explore new beliefs without judgement
    • Set the expectation that you both will respect and not interfere with religious practices

    10. Boundaries for How you Communicate

    communication boundaries for relationship

    Sometimes, is not only what you communicate, but also how you communicate.

    It may be helpful to set boundaries around methods of communication early on to set expectations. This can include text messages, phone calls, face to face communication, and more.

    Examples for Boundaries on How You Communicate

    • Big news should be delivered in person, not over text or phone
    • Avoid texting throughout the day
    • Set expectations for it being OK to need some space and not want to talk at certain times.

    11. Boundaries for How you Deserve to Be Treated

    Boundaries for how you deserve to be treated should be an absolute non negotiable. Setting these boundaries before you are even in a relationship can help you never settle for less than you’re worth.

    Examples for Boundaries on How You Deserve to Be Treated

    • Never tolerating put downs, insults, cruel jokes
    • Never tolerating your partner ignoring or ghosting you for extended periods of time
    • Never tolerating dishonesty or infidelity
    • Never tolerating controlling behavior
    • Never tolerating being treated like an option

    12. Boundaries for Equality

    It’s important for your partner to see and treat you as an equal. And this is something you can set boundaries around as well.

    If you don’t feel like an equal in your relationship, it may take a toll on your self esteem and feelings of independence.

    Examples of Boundaries for Equality

    • Not being assumed to do certain tasks because of your gender
    • Both partner’s work being regarded as important and significant, regardless of income
    • Equal decision making power for large decisions
    • Boundaries for when and how you want to be taken care of
    • Both men and women being able to express emotion without judgement

    Closing Thoughts on Boundaries

    Hopefully, reading through these boundaries for relationships gives you a more clear idea of what some important boundaries to set in your relationship might be.

    The important thing to remember is that while some boundaries may stick with you forever, others may change in time. That’s totally normal– boundaries in your relationship can change as you grow and change both together, and independently.

    What’s most important is that you take the time and intentionality to set them and stay true to them.

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