When you think about boundaries in a relationship, most people tend to get offended by them. They feel “true relationships” don’t need boundaries. There should be a fairyland with absolute love and trust. Whereas the truth is undeniably the opposite. There are different types of boundaries that you can work on for a healthier and happier self and relationship.

5 Types Of Boundaries In A Relationship

When you think about boundaries in a relationship, most people tend to get offended by them. They feel “true relationships” don’t need boundaries. There should be a fairyland with absolute love and trust. Whereas the truth is undeniably the opposite. There are different types of boundaries that you can work on for a healthier and happier self and relationship.

Boundaries in a relationship

People who avoid maintaining healthy boundaries just for sake of pleasing others are never truly happy. Because they give others the power to control their life and influence their decisions. Whereas building and maintaining healthy boundaries is key to improved physical, mental, and emotional health.

What Are Healthy Relationship Boundaries?

Boundaries are a measure of self-esteem. They refer to limits that you place to protect your well-being. Or the limits for acceptable behavior around you. For the boundaries to work in your favor, you need to clearly communicate your boundaries to others.

Boundaries in a relationship are mostly bidirectional. Meaning that to make the relationship work, you cannot just enforce your boundaries without respecting what your relationship needs. Sometimes, you have to mend things a little for them to work.

Similarly, healthy relationship boundaries mean that you communicate your boundaries and your needs in the relationship to your partner, while also respecting and accepting the wants and needs of your partner.

To sum it up, healthy boundaries can be a difference between a happy, healthy relationship and a dysfunctional toxic relationship.

Why Boundaries In A Relationship Are Important?

importance of boundaries in a relationship

Setting clear boundaries in a relationship is very important to establish the grounds of any relationship. It ensures that the relationship stays mutually caring, respectful, and supportive. Boundaries will help keep the exploitive people away from you and protect you from people who do not have your best interest at heart.

See, the world is a weird place. Most people focus on themselves which in turn may make you just a ladder they use to get to their way or please themselves. Having healthy boundaries would also keep your self-esteem up and would send a clear message to people that they can’t pawn you, make fun of you, or take advantage of you.

How Do You Set Boundaries?

If you are often made uncomfortable, mistreated, or taken for granted in your relationship, it may be time to start working on your boundaries. If you already have boundaries then reset your boundaries and communicating them very clearly to the partner who is affecting your wellbeing.

Firstly, set aside some time to write down how are you getting hurt or affected by your partner in ways that are making you feel unhappy or uncomfortable.

Secondly, think about why your partner is behaving the way they are. It’s important to note the intention behind the action.

Thirdly, decide on taking necessary actions to stop unwanted behavior. Like, learn to say NO out loud when you need to.

You can also work through this great exercise from Therapist Aid to explore your boundaries.

You can start with the “Five Things” Method to set your boundaries:

  • List five things that you would want people to stop doing around you like gossiping about other people
  • List five other things that you would want people to stop doing to you. Like being rude, shaming, or ignoring you.
  • List five more things that you would people to no longer say to you like “you can’t do that” or “you don’t deserve this”.

You can start with the basics and then as time goes on you can understand the balance between what people expect from you and what you need to provide to maintain a healthy relationship. Once you establish that balance, then you can update your boundaries as per the circumstances.

Questions To Ask Yourself Before Building Boundaries

Understanding and accepting where you might be lacking concerning boundaries in a relationship is a tough journey to conquer. You will get through fine if you are 100 percent honest while answering the following questions:

Q1. Do you find yourself hesitant around your partner?

Q2. Do you feel you are taken for granted?

Q3. Does your partner think less of you in terms of how valuable your viewpoint is?

Q4. Are you under constant pressure that you have to “fix the problem” for the relationship to work?

Q5. Do you spend a lot of time defending your choices?

Q6. Do you have to constantly explain your part for problems that weren’t even your fault?

Q7. Does your partner intentionally or unintentionally force his choices and opinions on you? And you accept it just because “you have to make sacrifices to make a relationship work”!

Q8. Are you always stuck in drama given the fact that you hate it?

Q9. Do you find yourself invested far more in the relationship as compared to your partner that it affects your being in the most negative ways?

Q10. Are you really happy in your relationship or would you want some things to change for your relationship to really work?

An important thing to note here is that there is a difference between a toxic relationship and a relationship that lacks boundaries.

Trying to enforce boundaries in a toxic relationship isn’t worth it. Because your partner is never going to accept your wellbeing. Whereas, the relationships that lack boundaries can still be fixed by enforcing healthy boundaries. Because your partner would understand that you are your own person and you need your rightful space.

Types Of Boundaries In A Relationship

Boundaries are for you and about you. They represent when you begin and the other person ends. The core purpose of boundaries in a relationship is to protect your wellbeing.


Essentially there are 5 types of boundaries in a relationship.

1.  Physical Boundaries

Physical boundaries in a relationship refer to your physical personal space. Like your body, space around you, and your privacy.

Communicating your physical boundaries with your partner will improve your relationship. Because your partner will have a clear understanding of what you are comfortable with. For example, if your need some time to yourself after you get home from work then you need to let your partner know that.

Other personal boundaries may look like communicating if you don’t like; a touch that makes you uncomfortable, your partner going through your personal stuff, or things that may be violating your personal space like PDA’s (Public Display of Affections).

Having your physical space protected is as important as any other thing. Because it is going to safeguard your needs and avoid someone disrespecting your personal space. It may be difficult to set boundaries in the first place with your partner. But having boundaries in action is much better than experiencing something you probably would not like to happen.

2.  Emotional Boundaries

Being aware of your feelings is something not many people can do. Because it requires continuous emotional self-care. Setting emotional boundaries in the relationship would require you to be in touch with your emotional being and separate your emotions from your partner.

Now, you would think how can you separate your emotions from your partner if you are in a relationship. Well, you can do that very precisely without causing your love to crash. Separating your emotions doesn’t mean being rigid or robotic. It focuses on putting yourself first and not restricting your identity to your partner or getting influenced or pressurized by your partner’s emotions.

People who have poor emotional boundaries in a relationship are stressed, afraid, anxious, discomforted, guilty, and resented. These feelings are a clear signal showing that they are not being appreciated in the relationship and their emotions are taken for granted.

The best love is self-love and I will say that again and again. You have to be in your best shape to be there for the people you love. Therefore, if you feel you are being used for your feelings then let your partner know. For example, I would appreciate it if you can listen to what I have to say in this matter rather than taking your own word for the two of us.

3.  Sexual Boundaries

Intimacy plays a very important part in a relationship. But there will be things that you will not be comfortable with. And communicating that to your partner is perfectly fine. Healthy sexual boundaries would include 100 percent mutual agreement and mutual consent.

If you are in any situation otherwise then you need to work on your sexual boundaries. Trying new things sexually is fine as long as you are okay with it. But it’s a dire requirement for you to establish a boundary where you are not comfortable to avoid getting abused in your relationship.

Sexual boundaries may involve communicating about the preferences, frequency, others’ involvement in your sex life, a discomforting sexual act or a position, sexual comments, or if you are getting emotionally triggered by something in your sexual life.

Plus, it is also completely fine if you don’t want to engage in sexual activity at all. It may be because of personal, religious, or sexual reasons. Letting your partner know that what you are comfortable with sexually is extremely important for a happier you and a happier, healthier relationship.

4.  Intellectual Boundaries

Everyone has their own point of view and intelligence level. And partners can even bud heads together just to prove who’s right in an argument. While arguments are fine as long as partners don’t disrespect each other’s intellectual boundaries.

If you feel neglected or looked down upon by your partner when it comes to your views or your opinion then you need to establish intellectual boundaries to protect your beliefs and ideas. Usually, being thought less of, on an intellectual level may leave you feeling hesitant, feared, anxious, pressurized, or even hurt.

Because you know that your partner is disrespecting you and doesn’t hold your opinion in high regard. Some partners would intentionally call their partners dumb, stupid, and other slurs to show that their partner is not smart enough.

Having different opinions is completely fine as long as you can share your opinions honestly without judgment or hesitation in your relationship. If the case is otherwise then work on your intellectual boundaries to communicate to your partner that you will not stand for the disrespect anymore.

5.  Financial Boundaries

If you are in a relationship where you have to deal with financial issues very often, then you have to enforce financial boundaries. These boundaries are about money of course. Financial strains are one of the main reasons that relationship experience jolts.

To make sure that your relationship doesn’t suffer because of financial matters, lay some boundaries. Financial boundaries can be about who contributes how much, if you should have separate or joint accounts, the purchases or sales you would like to make, or even how much financial information you would like to disclose to each other.

Having financial boundaries in place can actually be very helpful to guide you to work through your financial matters with your partner without affecting the relationship. Because when you discuss financial goals upfront, it would help to kill all those unexpected things that are usually considered the norm in a relationship.

Communicating Boundaries In A Relationship


While it may seem easy, but communicating boundaries may get a little tricky. Because you may find it difficult to put through and accept where you might be lacking. And your partner may take offense to you putting boundaries around them.

To make this is a smooth process, you have to work through it with patience. Because everyone lacks or fails at something. You don’t have to be too hard on yourself and harsh to your partner for not having the boundaries.

Rather than being discouraged, start with identifying your flaws and accepting them. Once you begin to accept that, then you can work on establishing the boundaries that may help you with your self-esteem and wellbeing. My best tip would be to take things slow so that you and your partner can accept and adapt to the boundaries rather than retaliate.

Another argument that is rather very common in relationships is “you have to make sacrifices to make a relationship work”. Well yes, sacrifices are in fact a part of every relationship. But being pressured to make a sacrifice is a completely different road than willingly doing it.

There a few things that you can do to effectively communicate your boundaries with your partner:

  • Set straight boundaries
  • Decide the consequence if your partner tries to violate your boundaries again and again
  • Set out a clear warning when your boundaries are first breeched.
  • Communicate directly with your partner about your boundaries very clearly
  • If your boundaries are breached even after the warning, do what you decided!


Setting boundaries is crucial and letting others know about your boundaries is the key to making people respect your boundaries. But it is even more important to show the same respect you expect for your boundaries to others as well.

You cannot expect to be respected if you are doing otherwise with your partner. Setting and respecting healthy boundaries is an essential part of self-care and overall wellbeing. Plus, boundaries are very custom-made. You cannot force your boundaries onto your partner or accept your partner’s boundaries as yours unless you really want that intentionally.

Boundaries in a relationship will rebuild after some time as the circumstances changes, therefore resilience is necessary. If one thing you can take away from this extensive article, then be it this:

“Put yourself first, because a happier, healthier you mean a happier, healthier everything else”.

Avoid making rigid and rigorous boundaries that are hard to follow up with. Make healthy boundaries and design consequences that you can actually stick with. Don’t try to overdo it because you’ll end up hurting your relationship beyond repair.

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