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Setting Boundaries In Work Relationships Essay

Setting Boundaries in a Relationship

Whether you’re casually hooking up or have been going out for a while now, setting boundaries is an important part of any relationship. To have the healthiest relationship, both partners should know each other’s wants, goals, fears and limits. You should feel comfortable honestly communicating your needs to your partner without being afraid of what they might do in response. If your partner tells you that your needs are stupid, gets angry with you or goes against what you’re comfortable with, then your partner is not showing you the respect you deserve.

Talking about your boundaries with your partner is a great way to make sure that each person’s needs are being met and you feel safe in your relationship. Here are some things to think about when setting boundaries in your relationship:

Emotional Boundaries

  • The L Word: Saying “I love you” can happen for different people at different times in a relationship. If your partner says it and you don’t feel that way yet, don’t feel bad — you may just not be ready yet. Let your partner know how it made you feel when they said it and tell them your own goals for the relationship.
  • Time Apart: As great as it is to want to spend a lot of time with your partner, remember that it’s important to have some time away from each other, too. Both you and your partner should be free to hang out with friends (of any gender) or family without having to get permission. It’s also healthy to spend time by yourself doing things that you enjoy or that help you relax. You should be able to tell your partner when you need to do things on your own instead of feeling trapped into spending all of your time together.

Physical Boundaries

  • Take Your Time: Don’t rush it if you’re not ready. Getting physical with your partner doesn’t have to happen all at once if you’re not ready. In a healthy relationship, both partners know how far each other wants to go and they communicate with each other if something changes. There isn’t a rulebook that says you have to go so far by a certain age or at any given time in a relationship, so take things at your own pace.
  • Sex Isn’t Currency: You don’t owe your partner anything. Just because your partner takes you out to dinner, buys you a gift or says “I love you” doesn’t mean you owe them anything in response. It isn’t fair for your partner to claim that you don’t care about them because you won’t “go all the way.” Even if you’ve done it before, you are never required to do it just because your partner is pressuring you. Remember, no means no.

Digital Boundaries

It can be hard to know where the line between healthy and unhealthy is once a relationship goes online. What are the rules for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Snapchat? What should your digital relationship look like?

Before you talk to your partner about your online relationship, check in with yourself to see what makes you feel comfortable. Start by considering your digital boundaries:

  • Is it okay to tag or check in?
  • Do we post our relationship status?
  • Is it okay to friend or follow my friends?
  • When is it okay to text me and what is the expectation for when we return it?
  • Is it okay to use each other’s devices?
  • Is it okay to post, tweet or comment about our relationship?

Once you know how you feel, you can talk to your partner and create a digital dating agreement between the two of you. Together, you can decide what feels healthy and what doesn’t for each of you. There may be some negotiating and compromising as you figure out an agreement that works for both of you. But if your partner asks you to do something that just doesn’t feel right, or they try to control you in some way, that’s when you get to say that this isn’t healthy for you.

This digital dating agreement can be changed as you continue with your relationship. Just because you felt comfortable with something at the beginning of a relationship doesn’t mean that you have to stick with that forever. You can communicate with your partner if things change. The reverse is also true: there may be something that you’re not ok with at the beginning, but with time and trust, you become comfortable with it. Both you and your partner should feel free to openly talk about your changing needs and wants.

As you think about your digital dating agreement with your partner, consider the following:

  • Passwords are Private: Even if you trust your partner, sharing passwords for your phone and website accounts isn’t always the best idea. Just like you should be able to spend time by yourself, you are entitled to your own digital privacy. Giving your partner access to your Facebook or Twitter allows them to post anything they want without getting your permission first. They can also see everyone that you talk to, which may cause unwarranted jealousy, especially if there isn’t anything going on. Just to be safe, your password(s) should be something that only you know so you always have control of your information.
  • Photos and Sexting: Similarly to your physical boundaries, it’s important to have digital boundaries about what you’re comfortable sending via text message. Once you’ve hit send on a photo or text, you lose control over who sees it. If your partner sexts you and demands that you sext back, you should be able to tell them you aren’t comfortable doing that, and they shouldn’t get angry or threaten you.

Boundaries are all about respect. You and your partner should know what is too far in all aspects of your relationship so that both of you feel safe. Do you have a question about setting boundaries in your own relationship? Call, chat or text us and we’ll talk it out with you.

17 Sep Setting and Enforcing Healthy Boundaries

Posted at 06:00h in Effective Communication, Relationships, Tune Up Tip Of the Week, Videos by terricoleny62 Comments

We have all seen the signs that reads, “No Trespassing—Violators Will Be Prosecuted,” which sends a clear message that if you violate that boundary and cross the line, there will be a consequence. This type of boundary is easy to understand because you can see the sign and the border it protects. Personal boundaries, on the other hand, can be harder to define because the lines are invisible, can change, and are unique to each individual.

Personal boundaries, just like the “No Trespassing” sign, define where you end and others begin and are determined by the amount of physical and emotional space you allow between yourself and others. Personal boundaries help you decide what types of communication, behavior, and interaction are acceptable.

Types of Personal Boundaries

1. Physical

Physical boundaries provide a barrier between you and an intruding force, like a Band-Aid protects a wound from bacteria.

Physical boundaries include your body, sense of personal space, and sexual orientation. These boundaries are expressed through clothing, shelter, noise tolerance, verbal instruction, and body language.

An example of physical boundary violation is a close talker. Your immediate and automatic reaction is to step back in order to reset your personal space. By doing this, you send a non-verbal message that when this person stands so close, you feel an invasion of your personal space. If the person continues to move closer, you might verbally protect your boundary by telling him/her to stop crowding you.

Other examples of physical boundary invasions are:
•    Inappropriate touching, such as unwanted sexual advances.
•    Looking through others’ email, phone, and journal.

2. Emotional

These boundaries protect your sense of self-esteem and ability to separate your feelings from others’. When you have weak emotional boundaries, it’s like getting caught in the midst of a hurricane with no protection. You expose yourself to being greatly affected by others’ words, thoughts, and actions and end up feeling bruised, wounded, and battered.

These include beliefs, behaviors, choices, sense of responsibility, and your ability to be intimate with others.

An example of an emotional boundary violation in a romantic relationship would be your partner pressuring you to reveal what you talk about with your therapist or trusted friend(s). Your partner can ask, but do you respond by saying “that’s between my therapist/friend and I” (healthy boundary) or do you divulge the details although you would rather not (unhealthy boundary)?

Other examples of emotional boundary invasions are:
•    Not knowing how to separate your feelings from your partner’s and allowing his/her mood to dictate your level of happiness or sadness (a.k.a. codependency).
•    Sacrificing your plans, dreams, and goals in order to please others.
•    Not taking responsibility for yourself and blaming others for your problems.

Being in a relationship does not have to mean losing your sense of individuality. It seems obvious that no one would want his/her boundaries violated and would want to maintain their autonomy.

So why is boundary violation a common issue? Why do we NOT enforce or uphold our boundaries?

1.    FEAR of rejection and, ultimately, abandonment.
2.    FEAR of confrontation.
3.    GUILT.
4.    Lack of solid knowledge, as many of us were not taught how to effectively draw healthy boundaries.

Awareness is the first step in establishing and enforcing your boundaries.

Assess the current state of your boundaries, using the list below:


•    Have high self-esteem and self-respect.
•    Share personal information gradually, in a mutually sharing and trusting relationship.
•    Protect physical and emotional space from intrusion.
•    Have an equal partnership where responsibility and power are shared.
•    Be assertive. Confidently and truthfully say “yes” or “no” and be okay when others say “no” to you.
•    Separate your needs, thoughts, feelings, and desires from others. Recognize that your boundaries and needs are different from others.
•    Empower yourself to make healthy choices and take responsibility for yourself.

UNHEALTHY BOUNDARIES are characterized by:

•    Sharing too much too soon or, at the other end of the spectrum, closing yourself off and not expressing your need and wants.
•    Feeling responsible for others’ happiness.
•    Inability to say “no” for fear of rejection or abandonment.
•    Weak sense of your own identity. You base how you feel about yourself on how others treat you.
•    Disempowerment. You allow others to make decisions for you; consequently, you feel powerless and do not take responsibility for your own life.

Tips for Setting Healthy Boundaries

(Modified from the book, Boundaries: Where You End and I Begin, by Anne Katherine)

•    When you identify the need to set a boundary, do it clearly, calmly, firmly, respectfully, and in as few words as possible. Do not justify, get angry, or apologize for the boundary you are setting.
•    You are not responsible for the other person’s reaction to the boundary you are setting. You are only responsible for clearly and respectfully communicating your boundary. If it upset the other person, be confident knowing it is not your problem. Some people, especially those accustomed to controlling, abusing, or manipulating you, might test you. Plan on it, expect it, but remain firm. Remember, your behavior must match the boundaries you are setting. You cannot successfully establish a clear boundary if you send mixed messages by apologizing.
•    At first, you will probably feel selfish, guilty, or embarrassed when you set a boundary. Do it anyway and tell yourself you have a right to protect yourself. Setting boundaries takes practice and determination. Don’t let anxiety or low self-esteem prevent you from taking care of yourself.
•    When you feel anger or resentment or find yourself whining or complaining, you probably need to set a boundary. Listen to yourself, determine what you need to do or say, then communicate assertively.
•    Learning to set healthy boundaries takes time. It is a process. Set them in your own time frame, not when someone else tells you.
•    Develop a support system of people who respect your right to set boundaries. Eliminate toxic people from your life—those who want to manipulate, abuse, and control you.

Establishing healthy boundaries and enforcing them builds self-worth and confidence—all very sexy qualities.

I hope you take the time this week to put into practice some of the above ideas. Please share any insight, and even struggles, so we can support each other right here.

And, as always, take care of you.

Love Love Love


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