The importance of boundaries in a relationship

boundaries in a relationship

In a relationship, boundaries are set by the two people but rules are more strict, sometimes unfair and even may be imposed by one person on the other. If a person wants to break free of the boundaries of a relationship, they can negotiate with their partner until they reach an agreement. However it is different to do the same with rules, especially when they are imposed on one partner and not the other.

A relationship with a partner is not just a one-sided affair, it is also about boundaries, rules and limits. If you want to maintain a happy, fulfilling and beautiful relationship with your partner; then you should respect the boundaries that are set and agreed on, by both of you.

The term “boundary” refers to barriers or a set of limits that were set by both partners and that were agreed on. However, they are not always loudly spoken as a person can understand their partner’s boundaries from analysing their character and personality and understanding not to do something because it would make them upset, mad, hurt or sad. 

The importance of having boundaries in a relationship:

Boundaries matter a lot in a relationship. All couples should have their own, because it’s not easy to understand the dynamics of a relationship or apply the same rules to all couples alive. Some couples that are compatible may have the same ideas about what’s wrong or right to do in their relationship; which may be a totally different from what the rest of the world thinks is acceptable, unacceptable, good or bad.

What others think, in this case, does not matter in the slightest as long as the people involved in the relationship are happy, living their way and fulfilled. For this reason, it is important that each couple set up their own list of boundaries to respect amongst themselves and to live by, in order to minimise conflict and problems.

You change change your boundaries as you grow as a couple:

People tend to think that boundaries are rigid and cannot be bend. However, in a relationship, boundaries are usually consensual and can be negotiated and changed by both partners with each other’s consent and agreement after a long talk when needed.

The relationships that last for long and have higher chances of success usually change and adapt to the new circumstances of life as the couple grows together. That is the type of relationship that can be healthy, fulfilling and rewarding to both parties.

On the other hand, relationships where a set of rules is imposed by one partner on the other or cannot be discussed, may turn into toxic ones, witness a mismatch of expectations or even make partners lie and hide from each other.

How to change boundaries in a relationship or your relationship type with your partner :

The human brain has a hard time dealing with sudden changes, especially in the area of romantic relationships. It is often very difficult for both partners to understand each other’s point of view on certain issues and this can lead to arguments and make the relationship become very stressful.

If your partner never got hints or saw your suggestions to change coming, you may catch them off guard or confuse them and trigger a bunch of negative feelings. That’s why before you suggest a change in the type of relationship that you have like making your marriage open or changing your boundaries at what defines your couple, you should first test the waters.

Open the topic with them from a different perspective and mention that it is the story of another couple that found fulfilment this way. Then slowly and gradually say that it’s good for them and make it seem more acceptable and even great in your opinion. This way you will plant the seed in their mind and maybe they’ll be the one bringing up the topic with you in a couple of days.

This could be done regardless of what type of boundaries you envisage to chance in the relationship, even if you were casual and wanted something more serious or if you were in an open relationship already and think about becoming exclusive.

Either way, before you suggest to make a permanent change to the boundaries and the relationship type that you two have, it is worthwhile to test the waters and to drop little hints here and there to indirectly see what your partner thinks about the matter and estimate how good or bad it may be to bringing up with them directly soon.

It can also be impossible for one person to understand another’s point of view on certain topics, because they are not familiar with them or because their knowledge about the subject is extremely limited. So make sure you prep them accordingly and present a long list of imaginary examples to make the entire ordeal sound doable and harmless, before you suggest that that’s what you want for you two.

Bottom line:

Relationships are not just about love, affection, and compatibility. We also have to deal with uglier sides they have; such as power dynamics, conflict, authority figures and competition.

Human relationships are a complex networks of emotions and actions. Emotions like love, affection and attraction can lead to potentially harmful situations; if left with no boundaries. A couple always need to understand and have boundaries that provide enough space for the two people involved and offer a safe space of negotiation, whenever needed.

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