7 boundaries you should always keep in a relationship, according to psychology

When you’re in a fresh and new relationship, it’s easy to throw all caution to the wind and lose yourself completely. 

But as head over heels in love as you are, it’s best to take pause and figure out your boundaries.  

The truth is, boundaries are not something you should ever sacrifice, not even with someone you love. And contrary to what people think, boundaries help make a relationship stronger, not weaker. 

You see, they serve as invisible lines that guide partners to treat each other with respect. Boundaries clarify what we’re okay with and not. 

Without those, you leave yourself open to disrespect and discomfort. And ultimately, distrust.

Here are 7 boundaries you should always keep in a relationship, according to psychologists and relationship experts: 

1) Communication boundaries

Because we all come from different backgrounds and communication styles, there’s bound to be miscommunication and misunderstandings along the way. 

You shouldn’t be afraid of conflict because arguments can actually be healthy for your relationship. Psychologists say that arguing can be a way for you to learn more about each other and resolve issues. 

As long as you do it respectfully. Which is why it’s so important to sit down and have a good discussion on how to communicate. 

Establish your own set of rules for staying connected and managing conflict. Lay down what’s important to you in terms of communication. 

For example, you can state that when you’re arguing, there should be no name calling, yelling, raising long-buried issues, etc.

These boundaries can help you get back to solid ground when emotions are running high. What’s more, it helps to reinforce the idea that you’re each other’s safe space – you’re free to speak your mind without fear. 

That matters a lot because it builds trust, an important ingredient in solid relationships. 

2) Personal space and time

As an introvert, my personal space and time to be alone are so important to me. It’s a boundary I never sacrifice even for people I love. 

Whether you’re an introvert or not, you’re entitled to your personal space and time. 

Does it sound selfish? Maybe. But actually, it’s healthy for the relationship!

According to the Williamsburg Therapy Group, personal space benefits relationships because: 

  • It enables individuality
  • It prevents suffocation 
  • It improves communication

So, think about what personal space means for you. Maybe you need a night each week to hang out with your friends or some quiet time each day to just read or get lost in your hobby. 

Plus, it keeps your relationship fresh and gives you both stuff to talk about when you’re together. It’s nice to have that time apart to miss each other, too! 

It’s all about finding that balance so you both feel happy and respected.

3) Social media and technology boundaries

Back when Facebook was very new and people treated it like a diary, I came across a post by a high school classmate of mine. It was an angry post that shared the details of her husband’s affair. 


It was like a train wreck that you just couldn’t stop watching. And it made me think, there should be boundaries around this – there are certain matters that couples needn’t share. 

It’s a good idea to set some rules about what you both feel is okay to share online. For me and my husband, for instance, we agreed to keep the mushy stuff to a minimum and to never post about our disagreements.  

The same goes for the usage of devices. We have a “no phones at the dinner table” rule. I admit it’s been hard, but it does help us be fully present and engaged with each other. 

4) Physical touch boundaries

When it comes to physical touch, we all have our own comfort zones. Some of us love PDA – holding hands, quick pecks, cuddling and bear hugs. Others, not so much. 

It can be hard to reach a compromise when partners have wildly different physical touch needs. But it can be done if they talk about their comfort levels so they can find a good middle ground. 

The important thing is that no one feels uncomfortable or overlooked. It’s all about respecting each other’s comfort levels, so everyone feels good about the affection they’re giving and receiving.

According to Marriage.com, “If you don’t make it a point of duty to define where you fall into, you may find yourself sending mixed signals to your partner or having to deal with discomfort and fear every time they make a move on you in public. 

5) Sexual consent and comfort

Speaking of physical boundaries, these definitely include sexual boundaries as well. 

This is especially tricky in new relationships, where you want to do everything you can to please your partner. 

But if you’ve got preferences and limits, don’t be ashamed to uphold that. Your body, your choice, remember? 

Unfortunately, sex is incredibly hard to talk about. It’s not an easy conversation because it calls for a lot of vulnerability. 

Therapists at Vantage Point Counselling say: 

“Sometimes we’re taught to have so much anxiety about our partners’ acceptance that we don’t even think to openly talk about what we want when it comes to sex.”

But here’s something to consider – we are responsible for our own satisfaction in life, and that includes sex! In other words, your partner is definitely a part of it, but it’s not all on them. 

Your comfort and satisfaction also depend on your ability to communicate in a way that enables your partner to make you feel safe and satisfied. 

6) Financial boundaries

Did you know that money is the 3rd leading cause of divorce

Let’s face it – just like different communication and affection styles, couples can have different attitudes towards money, too. 

One might be a spender, the other a saver. One might want to split bills 50/50, the other wants percentages based on income. One might prefer keeping finances separate, the other wants a joint bank account. 

So how do you deal with that? 

It’s simple – again, the answer is to make your boundaries clear. Discuss financial goals and responsibilities. Talk about how you’ll handle big purchases or financial setbacks. 

You do need to protect yourself. You don’t want your hard-earned money going down the drain due to your partner’s irresponsibility. 

So have the “money talk”. And when you do, the American Psychological Association advises couples to avoid using the word “budget,” to steer clear of the feeling of deprivation some people associate with the word. 

They advise to think instead in terms of developing a spending plan. Deciding together on the goals you want to save for and the purchases you want to spend your money on would be more constructive and satisfying.

7) Family interaction boundaries

Let me give you a few scenarios: 

You go to dinner with your partner’s mom and she won’t stop asking invasive questions surrounding marriage and kids. 

Your partner’s family lives out of town and comes to visit every month, but they end up staying too long.

Holidays are a nightmare because both sides demand your presence, but really, you’d love to just stay home and start a new tradition of your own. 

Real talk – it’s nice to stay close with both your families, but it can be really uncomfortable to draw the line. 

So figure out what you will and will not tolerate. Have a game plan for how to support each other if one family starts to overstep their bounds. 

Because the bottomline is – when you’re in a relationship, you’ve got to prioritize each other. Have each other’s backs. As the saying goes, teamwork makes the dream work. 

Final thoughts

If you notice a common thread in all of these points, it’s this – respect. 

That’s what boundaries are for. No matter how in love you are and how willing you are to set aside your own needs, those boundaries need to stay

Another thing to remember is that boundaries can change throughout the course of your relationship. What was once a hard no might become a tentative yes, and vice versa. 

So keep the dialogue around it open. Check in regularly about these topics. Creating a safe space for these discussions keeps your relationship growing along with you. 

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