Setting & Maintaining Boundaries
Setting and respecting boundaries of all types – physical, digital, emotional – are central to a healthy relationship. It can be uncomfortable to say no, but remember, the most important relationship you have is the one with yourself. And you owe it to yourself to articulate what you’re OK or not OK with!
Here are a few steps you can take to establish a boundary with someone else.
The first and most important thing when setting a boundary is to ask the other person for permission or how they feel. “Do you want me to text you every night?” “Is it OK if I hug you right now?” “How do you feel about sex before being official?”
Just as important as asking, is actually listening to how the other person responds and honoring or respecting their answer. Taking the other person’s feelings into consideration is a crucial part of every healthy relationship. You might need to have multiple conversations about what you’re comfortable with – that’s okay! Boundaries can change – the important thing is that both people know how to communicate what their boundaries are and they respect those boundaries even when they change.
There are some things that are non-negotiable in your relationships, like consent before sex. There are other things that you can compromise over, like how often you text or see each other. Be honest about your feelings and if you do disagree over boundaries, try to reach a middle ground that works for you both. Open and honest communication is the best way to get to know someone and their boundaries. If you and your partner or friend have different boundaries, it's important to determine if it's the right relationship for you, instead of trying to change someone. Everyone deserves honesty and respect in their relationships!
CHECK IN WITH YOURSELF.
If someone makes you feel guilty over setting a boundary, or pressures you to change your mind, that’s a red flag! Everyone has a right to set boundaries. In a healthy relationship, there is mutual respect for the boundaries each person sets. Being attentive means being considerate of your partner’s feelings, even if those feelings are different than your own. Whereas being possessive is a way of controlling their behavior and disrespecting boundaries.