Why is it important to set boundaries in relationships?
“Boundaries” often carry a negative connotation, so I shared my personal definition in a recent blog. Boundaries are about setting expectations for ourselves and others.
We need to communicate our needs and expectations to our friends, family, and romantic partners. It’s important to have conversations about boundaries with the people we care about.
Boundaries in relationships create trust
When people meet our expectations, they earn our trust.
Think about this in the context of the workplace. A boss has expectations for their team’s performance. You build trust with your boss when you meet their expectations of you. When those expectations are clear, we know what’s needed of us. Our personal relationships are no different.
First, you must know what you expect of one another. Communication? Respect? Attention?
In romantic relationships, there’s conflict when one partner is upset but the other doesn’t understand why. How often have you or your partner said something like, “I can’t read your mind!”
We’re not mind readers. This is why it’s important to be open and honest about what we expect from the people in our lives, especially our romantic partners.
Remember that trust goes both ways. Yes, you need to communicate your boundaries and expectations for your partner, but how well do you know theirs? How could you be more respectful of their boundaries?
If meeting our partner’s expectations builds trust in a relationship, failing to meet expectations or disrespecting their boundaries breaks it. We don’t want to hurt others by overstepping their boundaries.
How to repair a struggling relationship
A common misconception about boundaries in relationships is that it’s about putting up walls or barriers. In an attempt to protect our independence, we outline what’s “mine” versus “yours.”
In struggling romantic partnerships, what’s often missing is an “ours.”
Every relationship needs a “yours, mine, and ours.” With only “yours” and “mine,” there’s division. “Ours” builds a foundation of trust. Togetherness. Healthy boundaries help us clarify the “yours, mine, and ours” in a relationship.
My time, your time… our time.
My money, your money… our money.
Do you set aside time to spend together? To go on dates? Do you share a bank account?
Strong boundaries are a lifeline for struggling relationships. You have a “yours” and “mine” – but do you have an “ours”?
Boundaries build trust and respect in relationships. When we communicate our expectations, we give others the opportunity to meet those expectations and earn our trust.
Are you struggling to set boundaries in your relationships? As a Certified Life Coach, I can help you set healthy boundaries to communicate your expectations. Book my calendar for a complimentary session and let’s chat about the positive changes you want to make.