How to create healthy boundaries in your relationship?

Boundaries-in-relationship-blog

Approachable steps to identify and voice your needs

Do you communicate your boundaries clearly? Do you feel like your partner understands what you want? All relationships have boundaries. Whether we realize it or not, our actions, words and behaviors implicitly tell people what we do and do not want or will allow. If we’re not clear about our boundaries, we can feel taken advantage of, unappreciated or deeply hurt.

Boundaries represent our needs, values and limits. They tell us where one person ends and another begins. We bring into our relationship what matters to us and what we care about, and we share that with another person.

The Role of Communication in Setting Boundaries

However, we don’t always pause to reflect on and make explicit our boundaries – both to ourselves and to our partner. At times, we may come to realize that our relationship’s boundaries aren’t working for us.

“All relationships have boundaries. Whether we realize it or not, our actions words and behaviors implicitly tell people what we do and do not stand for.”

Why consider boundaries in the first place? Christine Menna, LCSW and founder of Sōhum Therapy, says “Boundaries are important in any relationship, but our romantic partnerships share the most intimate parts of our lives – physically, sexually and emotionally. It’s really important that we feel safe in those relationships and boundaries are how we do that”

Moreover, not communicating about boundaries often creates conflict and miscommunication. “We can’t expect our partner to read our minds and our needs. If we don’t communicate a boundary but expect it to be understood and respected, we’ll likely get angry or upset,” states Christine. We also can’t assume that the other person feels the same way as we do (and vice versa).

Practical Steps to Establish and Maintain Boundaries

Communicating our needs creates space for couples to mutually understand and respect their boundaries, goals and expectations. It supports a secure partnership. Both parties can feel heard and respected.

And yet, if boundaries are so helpful, why can it be so hard to create and maintain them in relationships? For one, asserting needs and limits can feel uncomfortable. We might not know how to effectively communicate our needs and desires. Moreover, we might feel guilty about having needs in the first place, which makes it harder to ask someone else to respect them too.

“Be sure to make your requests specific and actionable.”

If you’re struggling to create healthy boundaries in your relationship or if you’re interested in making boundaries clearer for you and your partner, consider taking these steps:

“Healthy boundaries are all about balance and respect.
You should be able to communicate your needs without alienating your partner.“

Remember, healthy boundaries are all about balance and respect. You should be able to communicate your needs without alienating your partner. On the contrary, they can open up a healthy dialogue in which each person feels seen, heard and able to voice their unique needs. Upholding these boundaries creates safety, stability and clarity in a relationship.

Seeking Professional Help for Better Boundaries

If you’re interested in exploring boundaries more, if you struggle with your association with boundaries due to unhelpful messages and patterns from the past, or if it is difficult for you to acknowledge your needs, you might consider working with a trusted therapist in NYC, like those at Sohum Therapy. You can also visit our contact page here if you’re interested in learning more. Couples Therapy can help you create space for processing the past and considering new, healthier ways of being in a relationship.

Christine Menna

Christine Menna

Christine specializes in working with motivated clients who feel disconnected from themselves, desire more fulfilling relationships, and seek to live their most authentic and value-driven lives. Christine takes a compassionate and direct approach that focuses on clients’ goals. She incorporates mindfulness-based techniques and somatic exercises to deepen the therapeutic experience and help clients achieve their desired results.

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