When you start a relationship, both you and your partner come into it with your own personalities, wants, dreams, needs, hopes, passions, hobbies, and interests. You’re two completely unique and different individuals coming together to form one bond.

When you spend more time with one another and your relationship starts to blossom and grow, it’s important to give and take in the relationship. You’ll have conversations, disagreements, and compromises along the way. You may have to give up something or change something about yourself to help the relationship continue to grow. And your partner may have to do the same.

Even though change and compromise are part of all types of healthy relationships, neither person in a relationship should feel like they’re the one who is always giving or always settling while the other continues to take. That’s why setting boundaries is also an important step to take with your partner. Not sure where to start? This is how to set boundaries in your relationships and why it’s important to do so.

Start Early

A Couple Having a Conversation

It’s never too late to start setting boundaries, but setting boundaries can be a lot easier if you implement them sooner rather than later. Think about what boundaries you’d like to set for yourself and your relationship. Your boundaries are what ensure that you’re protecting your overall mental health and wellness, so nothing is off-limits.

That being said, setting them at the beginning of your relationship can make setting, enforcing, and your partner being able to respect them a lot easier for both of you. As your relationship grows, if you and your partner already have established habits surrounding how you behave, communicate, and spend time together, it can be harder to enforce change. Even if something feels routine, regular, or normal, if you’re not completely happy with something, let your partner know.

Communicate Your Boundaries And Reasons For Them

Even though your boundaries are yours to make and no one else’s, it’s still important to provide your partner with the reasons why you’re setting them in the first place. It may feel like an awkward conversation to have with your partner, but if you can explain your reasoning behind any boundaries, it can help your partner become more willing and able to accept them.

Communication is key in all types of healthy relationships. Your partner is a lot less likely to become defensive or upset if you’re able to communicate with them about the boundaries that you’d like to implement and your reasons for wanting them in the first place.

Use “I” Statements

Another great way you can help lessen the blow of setting boundaries with your partner is by being mindful of how you’re communicating with them. Using “I” statements over “you” statements is a great way to help your partner see things from your perspective. When you use “you” statements, your partner may feel like they have to defend themselves.

Why Setting Boundaries In Your Relationships is Important

Setting boundaries is an extremely important step in all types of relationships. No matter if the relationship you’re in is between family members, friends, coworkers, neighbors, or romantic partners, boundaries are what make and keep relationships healthy. These are just a few of the different ways that setting boundaries in your relationship is important:

  • Avoid burnout
  • Build trust
  • Communicate your needs
  • Focus on your career
  • Independence
  • Manage expectations
  • Prevent financial stressors
  • Prioritize your own wants and needs
  • Protect your overall mental health and wellness

Next Steps

Setting boundaries may seem like a harsh ask, but setting boundaries is one of the most important actions you can take in healthy relationships. If you’re struggling with taking the steps to make or enforce boundaries, you’re not alone. Reach out to us today about couples therapy and to see how we can assist you with your boundary setting.

About the author(s)

Owner and Clinical Director Karen Conlon Head Shot

Karen is the founder and Clinical Director of Cohesive Therapy NYC. She earned a Masters in Social Work from New York University and has extensive training in Hypnosis, Anxiety, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Brainspotting, and DGBI. She is a member of the Institute of Certified Anxiety Treatment Professionals, The Rome Foundation, the National Association of Social Workers, The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation, and the American Social of Clinical Hypnosis.

About Cohesive Therapy NYC

At Cohesive Therapy NYC, we believe that you have an immense amount of inner strength and resilience, even if it is yet to be discovered. Cohesive Therapy NYC is a private group psychotherapy practice in New York City that focuses on treating adults who struggle with Anxiety, Trauma, Chronic Illness, and the adult impact of Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN). Cohesive Therapy NYC therapists see clients all throughout New York State (Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island, Westchester, and statewide) using online therapy and are also available for in-person visits in their NYC offices, located at 59 East 54th Street, New York, NY 10022. We specialize in helping people who are dealing with anxiety, relationship issues, chronic illness, and digestive and adult trauma related to childhood family dynamics. We all deserve a chance to be well and have support.