Boundaries In A Relationship – Why Are They Important And How To Set Them

Who are you within the context of your relationship? This may appear to be an abstract question, but it is as important a contemplation as any that a couple can have. Exploring each other’s boundaries is a fascinating way to begin addressing this query. When you set a boundary, it delineates where your partner ends and you begin. This is part of what makes boundary-setting so important. 

Boundaries get a bad rap — as if they are only used in times of trouble. In reality, when properly utilized, they will decrease the amount of conflict you have in your relationship.

A Few Reasons Why Boundaries Are Important In A Relationship

  • Respect: No matter how hard you try, you will not see eye-to-eye on everything. When boundaries are set and respected, this empowers you to disagree with respect. 
  • Less Blaming: Boundaries affirm that we must each always take ownership of our emotions.
  • Balance: As touched on above, boundaries promote balance. Each partner is viewed as an individual with their own unique needs. 
  • Consent: Yes, even long-term partners must understand the importance of consent. When boundaries are present, they must always take their partner’s feelings into account.
  • Trust: When you’ve both laid out your personal feelings, it allows for more trust. You’ve been vulnerable and don’t have to just “hope” that your partner can read your mind.
  • Setting Limits: Established boundaries set limits. Let’s say, for example, one of you says cheating is unforgivable. Declaring this upfront makes the consequences clear. 

How to Set Boundaries In A Relationship

Frequent, Direct, and Honest Communication

This is the key to virtually everything a couple does. It is particularly vital to something as potentially contentious as setting boundaries. Of course, it can feel tricky to set limits with your significant other. Therefore, you can begin by writing them down. Get comfortable with your needs and with respecting your partner’s needs (see next tip). 


Your first discussion about boundaries is actually your first conscious experience of setting and respecting boundaries. Use this opportunity as a chance to start practicing healthy listening skills. Set a healthy precedent that you are willing to remain open-minded, curious, and receptive — even when things are not going your way. 

Choose Respect

Yes, mutual respect is a big reason why boundaries are important in a relationship. And it is also a crucial way to start setting such boundaries. Practicing respect as your relationship’s default setting helps to deepen and strengthen your bond. It lays the groundwork for healthy conflict resolution in those inevitable times of disagreement. 

The Only Win is Win-Win

Never forget that you are interacting with the love of your life. This is not a contest. The only reason you are putting in the time to set boundaries is because you both want nothing more than a healthy, happy, sustainable connection. So, resist the urge to compete.

Take Breaks and Space When Needed

If you’re struggling with specific boundary-related issues, appreciate how important this is. That means you take a time-out when needed. Nothing positive will be gained if you insist on powering through when one or both of you needs some space. Honor the process with your patience. 

What If Boundary-Setting Feels Like a Tug-of-War?

First of all, it means you are not alone. Many couples struggle with this work at first. Hence, many couples seek out the support of a couples therapist. Discussing, setting, and respecting boundaries in the presence of an unbiased professional can make the process run more smoothly. If you’d like to learn more about this crucial part of your partnership, let’s connect and talk soon about relationship counseling or couples therapy.

Creative Arts Therapy Source offers in-person therapy on Long Island. Online therapy is available across New York & New Jersey.