how to set boundaries

Establishing Boundaries in a Relationship to Enhance Happiness

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Establishing boundaries in a relationship is very important for peace and happiness. Without boundaries in a romantic relationship, you’ll constantly be upsetting each other. Is it okay for to have dinner with an ex? Is it okay to plan a trip to Mexico without consulting your partner? Some relationships would be fine with this, but others definitely wouldn’t.

Think of boundaries as a set of rules for a relationship. Each couple has to find a way to accommodate the preferences of both parties. This isn’t always easy, but it’s necessary for a relationship to thrive.

Important boundaries in a relationship to enhance happiness

  1. Finances.

    It’s critical to work on establishing boundaries in a relationship when it comes to money matters. Financial issues can strain any relationship. It’s important to discuss your preferences. Would you loan money to your neighbor? Friend? Sister? Romantic partner? Who pays for dates? Do you prefer separate bank accounts? How much can one of you spend without consulting the other? Financial issues are a regular cause for divorce. Create acceptable financial boundaries and hold each other to them. Prevent any financial disagreements before they happen.

  2. The past.establishing boundaries in a relationship

    You’ve both dated others in the past.  Unfortunately, this could be a source of constant tension if you underestimate the importance of establishing boundaries in a relationship.  Are the details of those past relationships off-limits? Do you both want to examine the other’s past? What do you consider worthy of conversation? What do you think should be left in the past? Each couple has a different opinion on this matter.

  3. Privacy.

    Does your  serious boyfriend have a right to know where you were Saturday night? Should a woman have access to her husband’s cel phone? How much privacy is acceptable? Some people want to know every detail, while others prefer more privacy.

  4. Anything else that matters to either of you.

    You can develop boundaries around spending time with family.  You can even set boundaries on communication do’s and don’ts, or pet names you call each other in public. It’s up to each couple to decide.

What types of boundaries do you need in your relationship to feel comfortable? What can you tolerate? Where do you draw the line and what are you unwilling to tolerate? Your relationship is unique. Think about what you need and why establishing boundaries in a relationship is important for you.

Be careful not to weaken your boundaries with these behaviors

  1. A lack of willingness to state your preferences.

    You’re undermining the whole purpose of having boundaries when you refuse to let your opinions be known. Ask yourself why you’re unwilling to let your partner know what you want.

  2. Accepting poor treatment or behavior from your partner.

    There’s a saying, “You get what you tolerate.” When you tolerate mistreatment, you’ll get more of the same in the future. If you accept poor behavior, your partner will assume that any boundaries you agreed upon are optional.

  3. Guilt.

    There are times your partner may be frustrated by the boundaries. That’s not cause for guilt. Perhaps the boundaries can be revisited, but avoid feeling guilty for something you both agreed upon.

There’s no point in setting boundaries, only to turn around and sabotage them. Belittling your boundaries like this is likely to cause resentment and trigger conflict.

What boundaries do you need in your relationship? Each relationship is unique. Some require a lot of boundaries for both parties to feel happy and secure. Other couples would feel smothered with too many “rules” to follow.

Sit down with your partner and talk about what you both expect from your relationship. Cover what you are willing and unwilling to tolerate. Then, it’s important to uphold the boundaries.

Set boundaries that will strengthen your relationship and stick to them. These agreed upon guidelines can prevent a lot of relationship stress and make room for more joy.

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