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Just like a house has a fence to protect it against thieves, animals, and other dangers, relationship boundaries act as the protectors of partners’ mental and emotional peace, sanity, and overall health of their relationship.

What are the boundaries in a relationship?

What is a boundary? A boundary can be defined as a toll booth that checks what kind of vehicles, in this case, behaviours and actions, you accept in a relationship. Boundaries create a strong sense of self, and anyone with a strong sense of who they are and what they want in a partner attracts partners of equal wavelength.

How to set boundaries in a relationship

It’s just like you wouldn’t allow someone to berate or bully you; the same applies to a romantic relationship. To set boundaries in a relationship, you have to notice and observe your partner’s behavior towards you. If you notice them getting away with belittling you or insulting you, you stand up to them, and not tolerating that behaviour is your boundary.

Why are relationship boundaries important?

Relationship boundaries are very important because they show your partner what you respect them for and what you would not tolerate. For example, some people find pranking their partner to be a fun thing.

But some people might find it traumatizing or triggering. Having a boundary means that your partner is aware of what might hurt you, and if they do something to hurt you unintentionally, they do not repeat it afterwards. But tolerance of crappy behaviour denotes a lack of boundaries.

relationship boundaries

What are the 5 types of boundaries?

The five types of boundaries that can exist in a romantic relationship are:

Physical Boundary:

The first boundary that comes to mind is the physical boundary. You might find a public display of affection uncomfortable, but your partner might find it romantic. The existence of a boundary would mean that your partner recognises and respects your discomfort.

physical boundary

Emotional Boundary:

The second boundary that comes to mind is an emotional boundary. You have to notice if you are feeling disrespected, undervalued, or upset by something that your partner said to you. It could also mean that you are facing an upsetting situation and wish to vent to your partner.

Your partner respects your emotional boundaries by listening to you without upping you and not seeing how they could have handled things better. 

Also, read- New Relationship Advice Everyone Should Follow!

emotional boundary

Intellectual Boundary:

The third boundary would be the intellectual boundary. Not all people are aware of everything that you might be aware of. It is important that you treat your partner with gentleness and affection when they are unaware of an idea or topic that you might know. For example, your partner is a doctor, and you work as an artist. That doesn’t mean that you are intellectually inferior or a lesser person.

Neither of you can make the other person feel that they are lacking in intelligence or knowledge. Instead, it is important to appreciate each other’s unique perspectives, skills, and expertise in your respective areas of work. 

Also read: Enhancing Emotional Intelligence in Relationships: A Key to Deeper Connections

Sexual Boundary:

The fourth boundary, and a very important one, is a sexual boundary. Both partners need to have a serious discussion regarding what they expect from sexual intimacy. Some might be uncomfortable with unwanted sexual touch or comments; some might not like some acts of sex.

It is important that both partners consent to any act of sex, be it foreplay, oral sex, or intercourse itself.

If you are triggered or uncomfortable with sex, you say NO. It’s crucial for your partner to respect your non-consent. If your partner threatens, forces, or abuses you for not engaging in a particular form of sexual activity, it’s imperative you seek help. You should talk about it with family, friends, and your support group. Additionally, there are organisations and hotlines for domestic violence and sexual assault that help and offer support. 

Also read: How to leave a toxic relationship- Identify one and walk away!

sexual boundaries

Financial Boundary:

The last, but not the least, is a financial boundary. Both partners need to be honest about how they want to spend, save and invest their finances. Discussing finances can keep conflicts from happening.

For example, if you want to take a trip, but your partner feels it is a waste of money, both of you can save little by little and plan on the trip. In that way, you respect your partner by not overspending, and your partner respects you by not rejecting the idea of a trip altogether.

financial boundaries

Some tips for setting boundaries in relationships:

A few tips for setting boundaries in a relationship would be: 

  • Communicate clearly and directly about your needs and limits.
  • Be specific about what is acceptable and what isn’t.
  • Start setting boundaries early in the relationship.
  • Practice saying no without feeling guilty.
  • Recognize and respect the other person’s boundaries.
  • Address violations of your boundaries promptly.
  • Give yourself permission to adjust your boundaries as needed.
  • Understand that setting boundaries is a process that involves ongoing communication.
  • Use empathy and understanding in discussions about boundaries.

If you are planning to get married, it is very important that you discuss what to expect and what not to tolerate in a marriage because marriage constitutes a huge responsibility when you are living with another person 24*7.

Being dishonest and hiding what you truly want because of fear of rejection can cause enormous conflict or even break a marriage. So it is very important that both partners, even if they have different opinions, are going in the same direction and have the same life goals. If one partner is looking to have a lot of kids while the other doesn’t want any, it can cause great strife and anger in the relationship. So, consider those things before forming a lifetime partnership.


To conclude, in a romantic relationship, setting boundaries helps both partners function in an effective manner. When you notice that you are feeling disrespected or insulted, you can set a boundary to improve your relationship. Knowing the limits of one’s tolerance can strengthen a relationship and even filter out people with whom you are not compatible.