Setting Up Relationship Boundaries

Written by: The Circles Team

Jul 21, 2021

The word “boundary” can have negative connotations to it, simply because “boundary” can remind you of a “barrier”, something that blocks you from getting somewhere.

The truth is, a boundary is a different type of block: it’s a building block. Instead of seeing a boundary exclusively as a limit, see it as an indication of where one area ends and another begins.

Although it seems counterintuitive at the outset, when you look at it that way, it becomes clear how important boundaries are for our relationships. Drawing metaphorical lines will help to define where you and your partner begin and end as individuals.

We all have our preferences, pet peeves, and the necessity for personal space. By setting boundaries with your partner, you’re not creating separation or keeping yourselves apart, you’re actually creating space for your relationship to flourish.

As clinical psychologist Nick Wignall says, “If you want healthy relationships, you need healthy boundaries.”

Figuring out what your boundaries are is step one, and that comes from the relationship you have with yourself (the most important one of all). Clinical social worker Vicki Tidwell Palmer highlights that knowing your needs and setting boundaries to protect them is a powerful act of self-love and self-care and allows you to stay true to yourself. If you don’t know your boundaries, how do you expect your partner to know what they are?

Naturally, you can’t just snap your fingers and everything will fall into place. You’ve probably heard this a million times before, but communication is key. Brendon Burchard, the world’s leading high-performance coach (according to Forbes) emphasizes that boundaries need explicit communication. Communicating your boundaries early on is essential in preventing your partner from breaching them.

On the flip side of that coin, since you expect your partner to honor your boundaries, you need to do the same for them. Relationships are a two-way street, and openly communicating the boundaries they want to set is equally important.

Once boundaries are recognized and communicated, the only thing that remains is sticking to them. It’s not a walk in the park, but slowly but surely you’ll get there. It starts with taking the first step.

At Circles you can speak to others who are also finding it difficult to set and navigate these boundaries. Always remember you don’t have to deal with these challenges alone.

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