Knowing and respecting each other’s boundaries is an essential part of any relationship, no matter if it’s romantic relationships, friendships, or familial ties. In romantic relationships, being “a couple” isn’t just about getting to know each other, it’s also about getting to know yourself, your emotional and personal needs, and being able to convey them to your partner effectively.
This is why defining relationship boundaries is so important and one of the cornerstones of a healthy and thriving relationship. Not overstepping these boundaries indicates a confident and mature relationship between two people or partners, while their lack could lead to the development of discontent and disconnect.
What Are Some Examples Of Physical Boundaries?
The first thing you need to be aware of is that it’s perfectly fine to let others, including your partner, know about your physical boundaries. They cover a wide spectrum of behaviors, from the way you like establishing different forms of physical intimacy to whether you’re hungry at the same time your partner is.
Equally important to knowing what physical boundaries look like is knowing what you can do to establish them. You can use simple phrases to communicate your needs:
- I am really tired. I need to have a break now.
- I need to eat. I will go grab something.
- No. I don’t want you to touch me like that.
- I’m allergic to (something). We can’t have that in our home.
These are only some of the examples of how you can establish appropriate physical boundaries that will help you preserve your desires and personality and allow you to feel comfortable in your relationships.
Why Is It Important To Set Physical Boundaries In A Relationship?
The most important thing about setting any type of boundary in your relationship, including physical ones, is to ensure your voice is heard and your desires respected. By clearly stating and strongly setting boundaries, you ensure you’re an equal partner, not a person whose sole job is to please your partner at the expense of everything that is you.
As for physical boundaries, first and foremost they help protect your own physical space and physical needs. They safeguard your comfort in situations involving physical contact with your partner, as well as in situations where both partners need to satiate their basic physical needs. This way, when you set firm physical boundaries, you’re protecting yourself from any potential for physical harm or violence in any shape or form, securing an understanding and thriving environment primarily for yourself, but also for your partner.
How Do You Maintain Physical Boundaries In A Relationship?
While it’s not easy, identifying your boundaries is the first and most essential step. However, they can be different and vary depending on the situation. Once you’ve identified them, putting them in practice and continually working on maintaining them will ultimately help you reduce stress and ensure a healthy bond between you and your partner:
- Remember that they’re healthy for your relationship. They help you keep balance between you and your significant other. By providing a clear idea of what you both expect from each other, you can keep open communication, reduce conflict, and bring you closer to each other.
- Stay honest about your needs. Communicating your needs openly will help your partner better understand what you expect from them. Feel free to write down these expectations to share them more easily.
- Say when you need space. Setting aside moments for yourself is equally important as spending quality time with your partner. This is particularly important if you mostly spend a lot of time together.
- Hear out your partner. As you expect your partner to respect your needs, it’s essential to listen to theirs as well. Relationship is about creating a safe ground where you can openly discuss the needs of both.
- Communicate with respect. Respect is necessary on both sides for a relationship to be healthy and harmonious. If you’re wondering how to set boundaries politely, an efficient way to communicate them is to do it with compassion, understanding, and respect for each other’s needs and expectations.
Remember that setting your limits doesn’t make you self-centered. It’s all about not overlooking your own needs and wants while remaining sensible and present for your partner.
How Do You Know If Your Boundaries Are Being Violated?
Being able to tell when your partner crosses the line is key to maintaining a healthy relationship. However, you may be accustomed to your partner’s patterns of behavior, which is one of the reasons that make it difficult to recognize a violation of your boundaries. When someone ignores you and your needs, there are several common signs:
- Codependent behavior. Putting your needs on the back burner while your partner avoids responsibility for their actions is a form of codependency. You may believe that you won’t be valued, liked, or loved, unless you sacrifice your boundaries.
- Having to set the limits over and over again. When you’ve clearly stated your boundaries, yet your partner’s behavior remains the same, it’s an evident sign of violation.
- You’ve expressed discomfort. You’ve explained your limits and your partner keeps ignoring them. Now, you’re voicing how this makes you feel and they still fail to modify their behavior. Expressing your discomfort can include expressions such as:
- I don’t like that.
- I’d rather not.
- I don’t want to.
- I’m not willing to do that.
- No, stop!
- That makes me feel (negative emotion).
- You feel upset. Besides physical symptoms such as racing heart, upset stomach, or sweaty palms, you also experience racing thoughts, can’t make decisions, or find it difficult to think clearly in a certain situation or when your partner is nearby.
- Your partner doesn’t acknowledge or listen to you. They interrupt you or change the conversation when you’re discussing or sharing a topic that matters to you.
- They mock or minimize your requests. At times, humor can be a tactic for manipulation to minimize or invalidate your needs. Phrases such as: “You’re just being too sensitive.” or “You can’t seriously be that upset about this!” are clear examples of diminishing your requests.
If you’re able to notice any of these notions, it’s a sign that your healthy boundaries are being violated.
Learn To Define Relationship Boundaries With PIVOT
When you feel pressured, scared, or denied your needs and emotions, PIVOT can help you rebuild strength through our highly tailored individual coaching sessions or at one of our Glass House retreats where you can literally feel your growth.
Feel free to rely on our experienced professionals who can guide step by step through your journey of self exploration to the place from where you begin to find your value and strength again. With us, you can learn to set your own boundaries and feel great about them. Reach out to us today and experience the benefits of our dedicated service!