What Should Healthy Boundaries Consist of in a Romantic Relationship?

The unfortunate reality is that sometimes we just don’t seek out people who treat us right. We (or our loved ones) bring home verbally, physically, or emotionally abusive partners, and it can make a person feel more vulnerable than ever. Kathryn Patricelli, MA and previous editor of Mentalhelp.net, provides a number of reasons why this cycle of abuse often occurs: 1) the person was raised around abuse, 2) children are involved, and a parent doesn’t want to put their child through a divorce, 3) religious or cultural reasons, 4) the abuser consistently makes “amends” through gifts, sex, apologies and more, which confuse the person and reel them back in. Healthy boundaries must always be set in relationships so that each partner knows what they can expect from one another.

Healthy boundaries are considered the backbone of a relationship – they are the foundation, the “ground rules” by which partners must abide by if they’d like their partner to remain with them. Breaking these boundaries means that their partner can/will leave with no regrets, or, at the very least, stern actions will be taken to highlight that this event is to never occur again. Whether you’ve decided to break the cycle of abuse or you’re simply wanting to ensure your safety in a relationship, the following are some examples of healthy limits you want to set forth in any romantic relationship you have:

  • What you’re allowed to call each other – some couples are able to joke and call each other names, while others may find this quite offensive. Knowing what to call each other can help establish those respectful boundaries.
  • How you will argue – is it okay for you to walk away from your partner if you’re in the middle of a heated argument? Will you make it a rule to not raise your voice at one another?
  • How you each interact on social media – how will you each post on social media about your relationship? Some partners may be fine sharing intimate details online, while others may feel completely uncomfortable.
  • How often you’ll communicate – does your partner insist on calling or texting you all the time, even when you’re out with family or friends? If you prefer not to be bothered during this time, or while you’re working, you need to express this.

Healthy boundaries help ensure a relationship runs smoothly. By setting these ground rules (and seeing your partner respect them), you’re much more likely to feel safe and secure with the person you love.

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