Very often we hear controversial opinions about creating boundaries in a relationship. Some persons support the opinion that relationships are about transparency/openness and trust, setting boundaries negates this very principle. While others think boundaries are totally necessary in order for a relationship to work because they serve as a guideline to keep the relationship healthy.
Before I tell you what my own opinion is on boundaries, I would love to hear what you have to say about it. Scroll down to the comment section and drop your own opinion on the matter before reading further.
What are relationship boundaries?
Relationship boundaries are simply limitations to what a person or couple can or cannot do in a relationship. They are the invisible lines that guide the couple on where their hold on each other starts and where it ends.
Boundaries in a relationship can be seen as the walls or fence of the relationship, you are free to move or act as you please within those walls, but you are not permitted to cross those walls without the express permission of your better half.
Another perfect description of boundaries in a relationship is the invisible lines that demarcate two countries. As a citizen of a country, you are free to move within that country, but your freedom stops at the boundaries of your country. If you wish to cross that boundary, you must gain express consent from the authorities but in this case, the authority is your spouse.
Are boundaries needed in a relationship?
“Relationship Boundaries” Those words can sound really scary sometimes. Most people who oppose it see it as a prison, as anti-freedom. The perception that in a loving relationship, there should be no restricted areas. Love comes with freedom. The list goes on and on.
But let’s take a closer look at the word ‘freedom’. Is there ever a thing as true freedom? Are we ever truly free? Are all restrictions and limits bad?
The earth has an invisible force field that keeps a lot of harmful UV rays and space objects such as meteorites away from us. It also has a gravitational pull that limits how we move but also ensures we don’t flow endlessly out into the great unknown. It is because of all these boundaries that have kept the planet functioning for megaannums
The cells that make up the human body are also limited in how much they can move and that’s why we have this shape. It’s because of these boundaries that have kept us functioning properly.
The plain truth is, limitations and boundaries ain’t bad when applied in the right proportion. For something good to be maintained, there have to be some boundaries that would protect it both from the outside force and internal forces as well.
Now we have established the importance of boundaries in a relationship, it’s time we look at some basic boundaries that are needed in a relationship.
7 Necessary Relationship Boundaries Needed In A Relationship
Each relationship is custom made, it has some unique features that can not be seen in any other relationship. So the boundaries needed to ensure the success of the relationship may vary.
But today we will be looking at those necessary boundaries that cut across almost all healthy relationships.
Privacy in a relationship is one of the most controversial aspects of a relationship that has been talked about for years and yet no real conclusion has been reached on the matter of privacy in a relationship.
Everyone has a personal opinion on this matter, even you my dear reader also have an opinion of whether privacy is needed in a relationship or not and to what degree. Since there isn’t any golden yardstick to use as a standard measurement, it is very important boundaries are set concerning the level of privacy permitted in a relationship.
There are two kinds of privacy that boundaries should be set on in a relationship, that is
- Personal privacy
- Relationship privacy
Under personal privacy, the couple should come to an agreement on what level of privacy they are allowed to have individually and set boundaries on them. Things like:
- Access to personal properties:
Is your spouse allowed to go through your phone and social media accounts?
Can they pick your calls or reply to your messages?
- Individual family issues and secret:
Are you obliged to diverge personal family issues and secrets to your partner
What personal family matters are off the table
- Financial account:
Should both financial statements be open to each other at all times
Is access to your bank account granted to your spouse on grounds of full transparency?
Still, under privacy, a couple ought to set boundaries on what the public is allowed to know about them. By public here it includes family, friends, and the masses. What are things that should be aired in public and things that remain private to the couple?
How much external interference is allowed in the relationship?
In troubled days, who can be confided in for advice?
How much of your relationship would be shown on social media?
2. Couple’s fight
This is one very important boundary that must be set. During the argument, most people get so angry and frustrated when they feel their spouse isn’t hurting enough. Then decide to give a blow below the belt to get their spouse to feel the pain.
In their quest to even the plain field of hurt, they say things directly to hurt the other person, spitting venom out of their every word.
Such attitude/behavior will cause deep cuts into the hearts of the person. Even after the argument is over, those words will still keep ringing in their head and brooding in their hearts.
Even domestic violence originates from here. That sinister desire to see the person pay dearly for hurting you.
To avoid all this potentially toxic and lethal situation, all you have to do is to set a boundary in the relationship that would prohibit the use of hurtful words and physical attack in the midst of an argument no matter how heated it is.
3. Life and Career goal
Unfulfillment is a dangerous feeling, especially in a long term relationship or marriage. This feeling has felt so many couples and people unhappy and bitter as they approach old age.
Before the relationship, you both had life dreams and career goals. A good relationship is meant to help you grow those visions and help you achieve them and more.
But most times you see a lot of people sacrifice those dreams on the altar of a relationship only to be left with regrets and bitterness at the end of the day.
This is why setting relationship boundaries in your life and career goals are important.
You have to know how much of your goals you are willing to let go of without future regrets for the good of the relationship.
Set boundaries on the relationship’s influence on your career or job.
4. Bedroom matters
How far are you willing to go to please your partner? What are the things you never want to try in bed? Every person has one sexual fantasy or the other, some are crazier than others, while some are just too much for you to consent to.
A relationship boundary needs to be set on the limits of what you are willing to try. Have a long talk with your partner, ask the person to tell you about their deepest sexual fantasy. Assure them you won’t judge in any way and you will also tell them yours. Then listen carefully to what they have to say.
Is the fantasy something you are willing to try? Or are you willing to adjust your boundaries to accommodate such a fantasy?
5. Deal breakers
The infamous deal breakers. There are certain things a person just can’t take in a relationship. You would rather leave the relationship than stay in a relationship with those things.
You may be thinking deal breakers are the same thing as boundaries. Though they may be similar the major difference is, crossing a boundary may not end a relationship but crossing deal breakers will most definitely end the relationship.
Deal breakers are those things you can never compromise on. So it is important you set boundaries on them and ensure your partner knows them by heart.
6. Friends and family
Another area that seems to cause lots of problems in relationships is friendship. There are cases of people who started dating and all of a sudden drops almost all his/her friends on the request of the partner.
In my opinion, such practice is bad as it isolates the person from the rest of the world and leaves the person vulnerable to domestic violence and more dangerous elements with no friends around to help.
Also, there are cases of people being in a relationship and still keeping lots of friends of the opposite sex. These matters are delicate and there is no golden bullet. The best you can do is to set boundaries in the relationship together with your partner on issues like:
How many close friends of the opposite sex you are both allowed to have?
What are the limits of interactions with such friends?
Do you have the power to request your partner to cut off a particular friend?
7. 3rd party interference
Are you part of those who hate hearing about your private life in the mouths of other people? What are your thoughts on someone else resolving your relationship issues?
Every relationship goes through challenges at some points, some challenges more difficult than others. In times where the challenges seem to be too much to bear, who should the couple confide in and seek counseling from? I am not a fan of telling a complete stranger my relationship problems, even marriage counselors.
Boundaries have to be set ahead of time on who or what 3rd party interference will be permitted in time of duress.
Thanks for reading, don’t forget to leave a comment on what you think about relationship boundaries.