Ways to Set Healthy Boundaries in Relationships

The dictionary meaning of the term ‘boundary’ is something that indicates bounds or limits. In other words, boundary is a territory or a line that should not be crossed. Therefore, it is very important to know your personal boundaries in any given relationship to make sure that you are treated with respect and your identity is safeguarded. First, determine your territory, secure your space and then be willing to take the risk. Apparently, some may not like it and they may even leave you, but you should be confident and believe in yourself. If the person in front understands, he/she will start treating you with more care and respect.

Knowing What You Want

It is necessary that you learn to treat yourself decently first, be confident, understand your true worth or else you will end up attracting narcissists who will misuse you, ill-treat you or trick you. Creating boundaries in relationships means being very clear about your likes and dislikes. You have to make others aware that you are an independent person and would not tolerate any excessive interference in your life. If you do not set proper limits, the other person might feel that you don’t have any opinion of your own and can be ‘easily handled’.

Nobody wishes to be treated abusively, be misled or deceived. We all want to be handled with care, respect and love. Therefore, it is fundamental to interact, communicate and share your thoughts with the other person. These boundaries will indirectly tell others who you are and what you need. It’s your right and obligation to be accountable for how you let others treat you. Establishing boundaries will not only ensure we learn about self-control and respect, but also help us produce mature relationships on the basis of trust with our family, friends and neighbors.

Be Reflective

Always remember that a relationship can work only if both parties respect the boundaries set by them. Domestic abuse – whether physical or mental – is a result of the lack of boundaries not being set in a relationship. The oppressor takes it for granted that his/her partner should follow the instructions and stop his/her individual thinking process. The mistake that the victim commits here is ‘staying quiet’ and letting the oppressor cross the line. Most of the time, the victim keeps quiet because of the intense fear and worries of what would happen if they react. How can you build a healthy relationship if you keep mum? Victims who do not talk or express their feelings always end up ruining their relationship. What they should do is learn to say ‘NO’ when their partner’s actions are irrelevant.

Setting Healthy Boundaries

While establishing boundaries, one ought to communicate with their partner in a very straightforward way. Lay down a pact, be firm when placing your demands, give reasons and justify how you feel before you set a boundary. Do not go ahead with the relationship until you get an affirmative answer from your partner. Make sure that this person will honor and consider the agreed-upon boundaries.

The main goal in any relationship is for both parties to feel calm, loved, cared, appreciated, respected, centered and focused. To balance and survive, we set healthy boundaries for us to feel comfortable and safe in each other’s company. In any case, these boundaries are applicable for both you and your partner and so you should also patiently listen to what your partner wants from you. See whether you agree to the terms put forth by them and then take a decision.

What You Should Abide By

Do you sometimes add unrealistic boundaries and end up putting too much pressure on the other party? Do you have trouble setting a boundary? Never start too fast or too slow for that matter; there’s a time to confront and act.
Boundaries should be set in such a manner that they enrich your lives and not take away your life. A one-sided relationship never works, where one partner is the rescuer and the other is a victim. Relations that start with a clear, stable boundary are always the most successful ones. Below is a checklist to consider in a relationship.

☑ Always communicate and express your feelings. There are plenty of people out there who love to take advantage of you, if you are unable to express what you want.
☑ Guard yourself while rescuing people. Don’t go overboard trying to help someone, you will end up making them feel needy and helpless all the time. This is actually depriving someone or crippling someone from living an independent, healthy and mature life.
☑ Let’s suppose you are at a stage of life where you are mature enough and are really enjoying yourself, then be cautious not to let anyone enter your life and steal the happiness from you; for love is not letting people use you and take away your life or happiness from you.
☑ Similarly, you need to be careful of whom you let inside your life. You should be clear about this person’s motive, is he/she coming in to add value to your life or to increase trouble in your life.
☑ You can choose to build a healthy and realistic boundary that leads to abundant life or prefer to be silent and be victimized by others. The choice is yours and you are responsible for your life.

Setting these boundaries is necessary in many cases due to the dominating and aggressive behavior of the partner. Sometimes, one partner starts calling all the shots in a relationship and leaves the other as a mere spectator. He or she starts taking all the decisions without considering the opinion of the other. This can be very frustrating as one loses personal freedom and the right to voice their opinion. If you do not want to hurt your self-respect, you would have naturally set a boundary and taught others how you prefer to be treated.

What You Should Not Accept
Given below are some of the practical or sensible boundaries to set in a relationship.
☒ You will not bear physical or emotional abuse under any circumstances.
☒ You will not tolerate deceiving or infidelity in the relationship.

☒ You should be given equal importance in financial matters.
☒ You should not be forced to do the things which you do not like to do.

☒ You should have full freedom to meet people whom you like.

☒ You should be given full freedom to take all your career decisions on your own.
☒ It is Not Okay to hit you or call you names.
☒ It is not tolerable to cheat on you.

When you are open-minded and confront these things, you end up setting an expectation that improves your relationship and you start becoming more confident about yourself.

Mosaic Law

Do you recollect the cardinal rule that God set through, “The Ten Commandments”? They were nothing but boundaries that God set for us to follow. It includes the laws that God gave to the Israelites through Prophet Moses. In the same way, we must also establish boundaries in our intimate relationships. In particular, let’s go through the 6th-10th Commandments. It teaches us or disciplines us as to, how we should set a relationship base or foundation with trust and loyalty. The scripture says:

»The 6th Commandment: “You shall not commit adultery.”

»The 7th Commandment: “You shall not steal.”

»The 8th Commandment: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

»The 9th Commandment: “You shall not covet (crave for) your neighbor’s wife/husband.”

»The 10th Commandment: “You shall not covet (crave for) your neighbor’s goods.”

These are some of the boundaries set by God for us to live an abundant and fruitful life.

Love, freedom, friendship, responsibility, respect, trust, faith and protection are all the key elements required for a steady and balanced relationship between a man and a woman. It’s high time you took ownership of your own life first, before you start taking responsibilities of others’ lives. So don’t be shy, ashamed or threatened to voice your opinion; feel free to set a boundary and stick to it!