10 Relationship Boundaries You Need To Have In Place To Protect Yourself

Although the word “boundaries” can feel pretty heavy, when it comes to having a healthy relationship, they’re really important. Without them, you open yourself up to getting hurt in more ways than one. Here are a few boundaries your relationships need in order to keep you safe.

  1. What type of relationship you’ll have You need to decide on what type of relationship works for you and your partner. In a world where monogamy isn’t the only option, you need to discuss what’s best for you. You just can’t assume you’re in an open relationship without discussing it with your partner because your partner isn’t psychic. Just like they can’t assume you’re polyamorous because last you checked, you weren’t a mind reader either. While it might seem like the answer is obvious, you never really know for sure until you talk about it and make sure you’re both on the same page.
  2. How much is too much information Do you really need to know the intimate details of your partner’s ex’s life? I don’t think so. Does your partner really need to know that you used to love Nickelback? Probably not. It’s important to decide sooner rather than later what’s OK to share with each other and what should absolutely be kept to yourselves.
  3. How you’ll argue When things get heated and people argue, sometimes all decency goes out the window. Before you know it, you’re dishing out low-blows and you’re getting further away from a resolution and closer to a breakup. Even before your first argument, you should discuss what’s considered fighting fair. Some people have thicker skin than others and you should know what’s OK and what isn’t. Arguing is supposed to be healthy; it can’t be healthy if it’s mean and dirty.
  4. How you’ll have sex While pushing the boundaries in bed can definitely be fun and exciting, everyone has their boundaries and they should! What you might be comfortable with now may change in the future, having sexual boundaries won’t just protect you but keep you out of awkward situations too.
  5. What counts as cheating Similar to what type of relationship you’ll have, what counts as cheating might seem obvious, but it really isn’t. From things like micro-cheating to emotional cheating to having an office husband, acceptable behavior can get grey really fast! If you think your partner confiding in another woman about you is cheating then you need to be upfront about saying so. For some, cheating is just the physical stuff but for others, it isn’t. It’s important to know what’s what.
  6. What’s OK for social media It’s 2019, so of course social media boundaries have to exist. I mean, do you really want your partner posting updates on Facebook about things you’d prefer to keep quiet or suddenly see a video of yourself snoring on Instagram? No way. But because some of us are comfortable sharing more than others, you absolutely need to talk about this with your partner. You really don’t want to be that couple that broke up over some dumb photo one of you posted without the other’s permission.
  7. How you’ll handle money If women make 80 cents to every dollar a man makes, should your partner, if he’s male, always pay for dinner? If you happen to make more, should you be paying more of the bills? Although no one wants to talk about money, if you’re in an adult relationship, these things will need to be discussed at some point. While you can assume in the beginning how things will go and play it by ear, as things get more serious, money talk becomes a must. It’s all about what’s fair and equal; every relationship should be equal in one way or another.
  8. How you define independence If your idea of being independent means having a completely separate life from your partner and just seeing them on the weekend, that might not fly for someone else. While it’s extremely important to embrace your independence and not let yourself get swallowed by your relationship, it’s also important to compromise. You can’t have a successful relationship without compromise.
  9. How involved you’ll be in each other’s life Yes, being thoroughly involved in each other’s life is important, but do you really want your partner calling your mom to defend you after you get into a fight with her? Do you want your partner turning to your friends when they need advice about you? You have to draw a line in the sand when it comes to boundaries regarding involvement. While it’s great to have a partner who has your back about things, you really don’t need them emailing your boss for not giving you a raise. I mean, that’s just weird.
  10. When enough is enough While you may not want to think about it, there’s always a chance that a relationship will come to an end. Because of this, you need to decide at what point you’ll throw in the towel. Will it be cheating that breaks you? Will it be when you stop evolving as individuals? Or will you stick it out no matter what through thick and thin? (Yes, there are those who literally hang on forever and ever.) How your relationship will end, if it ends, may be years down the road, but it’s still a good idea to know when enough is officially enough and it’s time to take your leave.
Amanda Chatel is a sexual health, mental health, and wellness journalist with more than a decade of experience. Her work has been featured in Shape, Glamour, SELF, Harper's Bazaar, The Atlantic, Forbes, Elle, Mic, Men's Health and Bustle, where she was a lifestyle writer for seven years. In 2019, The League included Amanda in their "15 Inspirational Feminists Every Single Person Should Follow on Twitter" list.

Amanda has a bachelor's degree in English and master's degree in Creative Writing from the University of New Hampshire. She divides her time between NYC, Paris, and Barcelona.

You can follow her on Instagram @la_chatel or on Twitter @angrychatel.