5 Ways to Set Healthy Boundaries In Your Relationship

A woman puts her hands up, gesturing “no more” as a way to set healthy boundaries

Boundaries are important for everyone, including couples. Here's how to set healthy boundaries with each other, and how couples therapy can help you do so.

Key takeaways:

  • All relationships have boundaries, and they’re especially important in romantic relationships.

  • Boundaries help protect you – and your partner – and manage expectations.

  • Healthy relationships have some defining characteristics and qualities, such as good communication, empathy, and respect.

  • Key areas of a romantic relationship where specific boundaries will be needed include relationship expectations, financial obligations, and sex.

  • A boundary is not a means to wield control over another person or strip them of their agency and autonomy. This is a red flag.

  • Major life transitions may cause boundaries to need renegotiation.

  • Couples therapy can help you and your partner set boundaries by navigating major life transitions, learning better communication skills, and breaking unhelpful roles and patterns.

All relationships have boundaries of some sort. These boundaries help you – and those around you – manage expectations. They also help others know what is okay and not okay for you. This provides you with protection.

Boundaries can be a source of mutual respect, protection, support, and expectations when they are laid out and communicated. For example, your boss knows whether or not it's okay to contact you outside of your scheduled work hours. A friend knows not to call you past 10 p.m. These are examples of setting healthy boundaries for your respect and emotional protection.

Boundaries can be even more important in intimate relationships because intimacy requires trust. Sometimes when you’re in a relationship, lines become blurred or crossed, and it can be difficult to navigate. We talk about why it’s important to understand boundaries, how to set them, and how to introduce and renegotiate them at any time.

Examples of healthy boundaries in action

Setting boundaries is important for a healthy relationship. In a healthy relationship, both parties will:

  • Be considerate of the other person’s feelings

  • Show gratitude