Creating healthy relationship boundaries and enforcing them is crucial for any relationship. Without creating and enforcing relationship boundaries things can easily become chaotic and dysfunctional. We would love to live in a world where people all knew and respected healthy relationship boundaries instead of testing them, but we don’t. Creating relationship boundaries is one of the most important things we do at the beginning of a relationship. The problem is, in many cases, people let things slide that they shouldn’t. Once a boundary is tested, and the person does not enforce in, the boundary ceases to exist. For instance, if you want a relationship where you are shown respect, then you must create that boundary right away. The first time someone disrespects you, you must be prepared to enforce that boundary or you create another dynamic in your relationship. The dynamic now is that you can be disrespected, so expect for it to happen again and again.
What are some of the top relationship boundaries necessary for healthy, happy relationships? We compiled a list of 10 relationship boundaries we think are very important.
1. If you have made a commitment to be monogamous in your relationship, and monogamy is important to you, then cheating of any kind is a deal breaker. (A smart move of course would be to not start a relationship with someone who has already given someone else a commitment of monogamy.) Should that boundary be crossed you need to be prepared to enforce that boundary otherwise infidelity will very likely plague your relationship going forward.
2. Verbal, mental, emotional of physical abuse will not be tolerated. Don’t make excuses for it, and don’t let them make excuse for it. Everyone makes mistakes, but a bad mood or argument is no excuse for taking things to the extreme of abuse. This boundary you should create for yourself, and any relationship that is abusive is a relationship you need to get out of immediately.
3. When dating, create a ‘time’ boundary of how long you will wait for someone to enter into a relationship with you or move to another level. Dating is a great way of getting to know someone and seeing if they would be a wise choice to be in a relationship with. It should NOT take someone more than 3 months of dating to decide that. Anyone that won’t give you a chance at a relationship after dating you for more than 3 months needs to GO. You shouldn’t be giving them a chance to waste any more of your time. Same thing goes with relationships evolving. Marriage may be important to you yet you have been waiting year after year and can’t even discuss engagement with your partner. Create a boundary of how long you will wait for the next level, and be prepared to walk away if need be.
4. Past relationships need to be kept in the past or at a respectful distance. This goes for both members of the relationship. Just because you put up with bullshit from your ex, don’t expect or demand that your current partner put up with it as well. An ex should not be calling you to chat about their problems, interfere in your life, or ask you for favors. They can phone a friend or family member, that is no longer your job to be there for them. Your job is to be there for the person you are currently involved with.
5. Any financial loans, joint purchases, etc should all be done legally and officially. If you can’t afford a lawyer to draw up papers then look them up online or go to an office supply store. Fill the documents out, go to any notary and sign them, one copy for each of you. It may not be romantic, but finances aren’t romantic. It is about money. Anyone that gives you a hard time about signing documents doesn’t deserve your money anyway. Don’t feel guilty about protecting yourself.
6. Respect for each others privacy. Of course a couple should have nothing to hide, but that doesn’t give you the right to snoop. If you are very suspicious of something, fine, snoop, but if you don’t find something, knock it off. We are all entitled to have some private thoughts and feelings, and we need to respect that in one another. If there is trust in a relationship, then you do not need to read your mates personal emails to his best friends or children, do you?
7. Time spent together as a couple must be a priority. You shouldn’t have to spend every minute of every day with someone to be in a relationship. However, if someone keeps putting off spending time with you because you are busy, you need to set a boundary of the minimum of time you are willing to accept. This boundary you should set at the early stages of a relationship. If the boundary keeps getting crossed you chose someone who clearly does not have enough time for a relationship with you currently.
8. Communication boundaries also must be set. You cannot conduct an adult relationship via TEXTING. Cut the texting out and stick with phone calls like healthy adults. You should have a reasonable expectation of hearing from someone and not have them drop off the face off the earth with days, weeks or months at a time. You should be able to express yourself freely without fear, and you should expect feedback as well. If the communication does not improve or does not rise to a respectful level, then it is time to enforce the boundary.
9. For trust to exist in a relationship, truth must be present. Being lied to should not be tolerated. Constantly being lied to is a deal breaker. It is time to deal with that boundary or you can expect more frequent lying in the future and it will get to the point where you won’t believe a single word they have to say.
10. Sex. Sex without a relationship is just sex. If sex is all you want, then fine. If you want more, then set a boundary of no more sex until you are in a relationship. Be prepared to stand your ground.
Do you need assistance setting healthy relationship boundaries? Have your relationship boundaries been violated and you don’t know what to do? Sarah and Sophia can guide you on setting healthy relationship boundaries and give necessary guidance to help get your relationship on track.