Importance of Boundaries in Relationship

Importance of Boundaries in Relationship

Boundaries in relationship

“Boundaries” you’ve heard the term. It is actually very much in trend with so much going around the red flags and green flags of relationships. So, what is it? I am sure we know what it is. It is what the name suggests, lines or limits. Basically, boundaries are the limits we set for ourselves and others in relationships. They shape the dynamics of the interactions and foster a sense of safety and autonomy. Now, these relationships include any type of relationship like romantic relationships, parental relationships, workplace relationships and friends or platonic relationships. We know what works for us and what doesn’t, but sometimes we fail to communicate or assert our boundaries which might lead to discrepancies in the relationship.

Understanding Boundaries

Boundaries in relationships can be classified as of three types, physical, mental, and emotional.

Physical Boundaries:

These are pertain to physical interactions, personal space, and touch. We have different types of comfort related to physical interactions. Some people might want to have a physical touch every time they are together with someone, and some people might get uncomfortable with it. Hence it is important to clearly communicate what they both want and build on what works for both. Physical boundaries also include sexual boundaries. Discussing beforehand what is off limits and what kind of contact both of you prefer builds a trusting relationship.

Mental boundaries or intellectual boundaries:

These are pertain to beliefs, ideas, and value systems of individuals. Not everyone has the same beliefs and values, therefore it is important to respect each other’s viewpoint. While also not expecting them to share our viewpoint or adopt all our opinions. They can have their perspective of seeing things and we have our own. And even if they clash, we must be able to share our opinions and feelings without feeling guilty of hurting their feelings and vice versa. Intellectual boundaries also make you feel secure in holding your opinions. Instead of trying to be liked by everyone by agreeing with them, you can remain true to yourself.

Emotional boundaries:

These are pertain to the management of emotions, empathy and the ability to separate one’s feelings from those of others. Establishing emotional boundaries can be hard sometimes and we may not even know when you or the other person is crossing that boundary until later. To understand this, we must be in touch with our feelings and emotions. Setting emotional boundaries helps you honor your feelings and emotions and avoids feeling responsible for other people’s feelings. There is a saying, empathy is like putting your feet in other people’s shoes. So, we can put on the shoe, meaning we must empathize with others, but we should never run in them, meaning we must not internalize those emotions as they are not ours to feel, and they will hurt us. Also, when we share our feelings, they must not be invalidated or criticized by another person. Setting these creates safe and comfortable space for both the partners.

Importance Of Boundaries

We discussed what boundaries are and their types. Now let’s learn why are they important in a relationship:

Foster emotional well-being:

One of the important and primary functions of boundaries in a relationship is to safeguard emotional well-being. It facilitates open communication about emotions and partners can express their feelings honestly and authentically. By clearly defining emotional boundaries, individuals can protect themselves from being overwhelmed or drained by the needs and emotions of others. Respecting boundaries allows each person to prioritize self-care and maintain a healthy balance between giving and receiving support.


Boundaries play a fundamental role in communication within relationships. When partners establish boundaries, they set a framework for expressing their needs and preferences effectively. This encourages open dialogue and develops mutual respect and understanding. Also, by respecting each other’s boundaries partners can avoid escalations during discussions and work towards finding mutually satisfactory solutions.

Conflict resolution:

When there is conflict, these boundaries serve as a guiding principle for respectful and empathetic interaction. When there are arguments and discussions over disagreement, boundaries ensure that both partners feel heard and safe during the resolution process. This promotes empathy, compromise, and the ability to understand each other’s perspectives. Boundaries also help in preventing conflicts from escalating to damaging and hurtful behaviors.

Trust building:

Trust is the very foundation of a healthy relationship. Boundaries help in cultivating and building this trust. Respecting boundaries fosters a sense of safety and security within the relationship. This allows individuals to become vulnerable with each other without the fear of judgement. It also promotes consistency in the relationship. An individual knows what to expect from the relationship, hence they feel more confident and reliable on the stability of relationship.

Cultivating healthy intimacy:

intimacy thrives in an environment where boundaries are honored. Setting boundaries around physical touch, vulnerability and personal space partners create a safe and secure foundation for intimacy to flourish. Respecting those boundaries allows individuals to explore intimacy at a pace which is comfortable and consensual to both the partners.

Fear Of Boundaries

We learned how important boundaries are to cultivate a healthy relationship. But there are some people who refuse to set boundaries or are fearful of setting boundaries. Now you may ask why; well, you may know the answers as you might be one of them. There might be various reasons why people struggle to set boundaries like, they might struggle to put themselves first, or say no to another person fearing of hurting them. They might even have been conditioned to stay small and take up as little space as possible to make people comfortable. But what they don’t realize is that, if we don’t set healthy boundaries, we might spend most of our time and energy doing what other people want than doing what we want. Without boundaries we may feel angry, resentful, or burnt out over ourselves or others. This may also lead to a feeling of being misunderstood and unloved. Also when you set boundaries, it makes people respect you and your choices and when they don’t respect your boundaries it simply means they don’t respect you and are not worth being with you.

How To Set Boundaries:

  1. Know your limits: you should know yourself, your limits, what you like and what you don’t in terms of physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Ask yourself what makes you comfortable and what makes you uncomfortable in a relationship, so that you can know your boundaries.
  2. Start early in the relationship: you must start putting boundaries early on in the relationship rather than later when habits are formed.
  3. Communicate with them effectively: effective communication of boundaries is important. Tell the other person clearly what you like and what you don’t and get to know their boundaries and expectations from the relationship. And when there is a breach of boundary, tell the other person your concerns using ‘I’ statements. Like ‘ I felt really bad when you did this’ or ‘ I would like you to do this as I am more comfortable doing this than that’
  4. Learn to say no: don’t be afraid to say no to things you don’t believe in or make you uncomfortable.
  5. Be assertive: be assertive while setting boundaries so that there is no room for breaching it. Also, if the boundaries are crossed let the person know clearly.
    Being assertive can be difficult and can seem selfish, but it is never wrong to put your comfort first.
  6. Take time for yourself: boundary setting is an act of self-love and self-prioritization. Practice some more self-care activities by taking time out for yourself away from relationships.

Boundaries in any relationship are essential for our wellbeing. Setting boundaries and respecting other person’s boundary helps you to build a healthy relationship which fosters personal growth and a safe space for both the partners.


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