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Boundaries in a Relationship: Examples of Healthy and Unhealthy Boundaries

Are you tired of all the drama your relationships bring into your life? Have you ever wished for 1-day relationships could be just like what movies portray them to look and feel like? Well, let’s get real: no relationship is perfect and without some struggles, but it is possible to maintain a healthy and functional relationship by making sure that those boundaries are clear.

The idea of having “boundaries in a relationship” may sound slightly strange to newbies in this sphere, so we will try to make things more easily understandable with examples. Here, we will tell you what a healthy relationship looks like and why boundaries are important in a relationship. Also, we will give you 10 examples of proper relationship boundaries to help you build happier life with your partner. Let the journey begin!

What are boundaries in a relationship?

Let’s start with the definition of personal boundaries. Boundaries in a relationship are often referred to as an imaginary line that exists between two people who care about each other. Setting boundaries is essential in developing a healthy, happy and successful relationship, as it helps establish emotional security. There are many types of boundaries that need to be set in a relationship in order for both parties to communicate effectively and feel safe and heard.

Boundaries can range from how often friends or partners see each other, the types of activities they engage in together, the types of conversations they have, etc. At the end of the day, setting reasonable boundaries helps create an open environment where two people can safely enjoy their time together and not be afraid to speak up and let their partner know if something isn’t working for them. And hey – if all else fails – maybe just take turns calling “boundary” so you can both get what you want out of the relationship!

Types of boundaries in relationships

Creating healthy boundaries in relationships is essential for establishing and maintaining connectedness. According to psychologists, there are 5 main types of boundaries in relationships:

  • Emotional boundaries involve actively communicating your emotional needs and understanding the emotional needs of your partner.
  • Physical boundaries set limits on what partners are willing to do with each other physically.
  • Financial boundaries involve setting limits on how you spend money as a couple and whether one or both people work.
  • Time boundaries revolve around balancing spending time together while still respecting each other’s individual goals and interests.
  • Sexual boundary refers to being aware of and communicating about both your and your partner’s sense of comfort when it comes to sexual activities.

What are healthy boundaries in a relationship?

Healthy boundaries in a relationship can be the key to keeping both parties healthy and happy. Boundaries provide that healthy dose of personal space so that individuals in the relationship can still function on their own as well as together. So, how to set healthy boundaries in a relationship

Establishing healthy boundaries in relationships is important for respecting each individual’s needs. A great example of a healthy boundary is setting aside specific time for work and family, so both partners have the necessary space to pursue their hobbies and individual interests without feeling guilty or burdened. It also allows each partner to have time alone, which can be essential to feeling autonomous and respected.

Moreover, it’s important to build boundaries not only in a relationship but beyond it too. Setting boundaries with friends when in a relationship, for example, sometimes can be tricky. But it is possible. Again, communication is a powerful tool. One should think of the most comfortable ratio in time spending with one’s friends and partner. The next step is to discuss it with both of them. Quite predictable, isn’t it? But the fact is that not so many people pay attention to such kind of boundaries. Having conversations that are open, honest and respectful enables us to express ourselves without fear of judgment or criticism.

Those are only a few representations of what examples of personal boundaries are. It might sound unusual, but establishing healthy boundaries usually requires a healthy relationship boundaries list. This list helps you remember what behaviors you’re willing to accept, and how much personal space each person needs. It doesn’t have to be complicated – it just needs to clarify your limits. Establishing healthy boundaries early on will save lots of misunderstandings and make sure both people know where they stand.

Unhealthy Relationship Boundaries

There are different types of relationships between couples. Navigating relationships and understanding healthy boundaries can be tricky. For first example, casually flirting with a stranger at your local bar might seem totally harmless and an enjoyable thing to do – until your partner finds out, of course! Crossing that line can be a definite boundary violation, even if it happened innocently.

Other examples could include spending more time hanging out with friends than with your partner; snooping on their social media; having too close of a relationship with someone at work or school, etc. In the age of Netflix binging and social media scrolling, it’s important to be aware of what counts as crossing the line in a relationship – because otherwise, someone might take things “offline”. Beyond that, being attentive and respectful of other people’s boundaries is key to maintaining any healthy relationship.

Unhealthy relationship boundaries can sneak up on us without warning, leaving us feeling overwhelmed and confused. Take, for example, the boundary of communication. Everyone has a different comfort level when it comes to how often they want to text or check in with a partner, so being mindful of what works best for each person is key. Seeking more frequent communication than you are willing to provide may lead to feelings of resentment down the road.

Compromise is essential— find a way to set boundaries meaning to make sure both parties feel safe and secure without sacrificing too much of your own needs! That said, always remember that if someone isn’t respecting your wishes then it’s time to take a step back and deal with these unhealthy relationship boundaries head-on!

Unhealthy boundary setting can often lead to conflict and feeling overwhelmed or taken advantage of. If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to setting your own boundaries, try this exercise: identify three things that you are uncomfortable with or that make you feel unhappy in your current relationships. From there, you can begin to set healthier boundaries by communicating your needs to your partner or partners. What do you think are the ground rules in a relationship? Have you ever struggled with maintaining healthy boundaries? This list can help you to find all the answers!

10 examples of boundaries in a relationship

Establishing boundaries in relationships is an important building block for a strong and healthy connection. Examples of boundaries may include “say no”, setting expectations, having financial autonomy, communicating about goals, respecting friends and families, respecting personal privacy, agreeing on presence, and acceptance of differences. Having these conversations won’t be the most exciting part of your relationship but they will ensure that you are setting yourselves up for long-term success! In that spirit: let’s get boundary-ing!
Northern County Psychiatric Associates have prepared a list of examples of relationship boundaries:

  1. Communicating

    When it comes to communicating in your relationship, open and honest dialogue is key. It’s important to clearly share any expectations that you have for yourself and your partner. A healthy conversation about what is and isn’t accepted in the relationship can help avoid potential conflicts down the road.  Taking the time to communicate can bring two people together on a much deeper level than before; after all, relationships thrive on shared understanding!

  2. Say “No”

    Healthy boundaries in any relationship are essential; saying no is a key part of this. Refusing to say yes to things that don’t feel right can be difficult if you tend to put your own needs last; but by standing up for yourself you are showing respect for both yourself and the other person. Knowing where the boundaries lie in a relationship can help create understanding and maintain trust, so it’s important to establish what you’re comfortable with early on. When needed, don’t hesitate to say no politely but firmly – maintain your strength and self-confidence while also staying mindful that respect goes both ways.

  3. It’s OK to have other interests than your partner has

    Every person has differences, preferences, and beliefs that make them unique, which means differences are natural between individuals in a relationship. Relationships flourish when differences are embraced and used to learn more about each other.

  4. Privacy

    Each individual needs to have their own sense of personal privacy. Privacy provides each person with the space they need to continue developing their own interests while also growing as part of the relationship.

  5. Mutual respect

    The foundation of any strong relationship is mutual respect. Understanding differences, preferences, and the need for privacy are huge components of this. Every person evolves and changes in their own way; it’s important to recognize and appreciate those differences in each other and not expect either person to be exactly like the other. Having respect for differences makes it easier to accept variance in opinion or preference while also showing trust that they’ll keep things that you share with them privately. When respect is mutual, it can create a healthy environment in which both parties can be themselves without expectations of change or worry of being judged or betrayed.

  6. Intimacy boundaries

    Establishing and maintaining healthy sexual boundaries in a relationship is absolutely necessary in order to protect both partners’ safety and sense of security. Respecting one another’s wishes and needs regarding sex is key to having a healthy relationship, regardless of how casual or committed the relationship may be. It can be hard to open up about one’s feelings and desires, but honest dialogue between partners prevents misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and potential resentment down the line. Setting clear boundaries allows both partners to feel comfortable being themselves during intimate moments without feeling pressure or guilt. Communicating openly, setting mutually agreeable limits, and being willing to compromise can help couples create a foundation for rich, deep connection.

  7. Agreement on presence

    Establishing a clear boundary in a relationship is certainly not easy, and many couples can struggle with this. However, when it comes to facing agreement on presence, things become much simpler. All parties in the relationship may benefit from knowing the expectations of being around one another. Perhaps a limit of ‘quality time’ together is mutually agreed upon, while they pursue different interests as time apart. Regardless of specific details, any agreement should be respected as a sign of genuine respect for both partners and their respective needs. Discussion around presence needs to be handled carefully – and sometimes even spontaneously – to ensure the relationship stays healthy and vibrant!

  8. Financial autonomy

    One common example of a boundary is financial autonomy. This means that each partner has their own finances and can spend it as they see fit without feeling pressure from the other person. Sure, a lack of shared finances can mean it’s harder to shape big plans together, but also respect each other’s right and responsibility to manage their own money, no matter what that looks like. Plus, not having to account for every penny you spend can really help keep the peace in your relationship!

  9. Common goals

    By openly sharing your dreams and aspirations with your partner, you may find yourselves not only understanding each other on a whole new level but getting closer as a couple while doing so. Making sure your relationship’s shared goals are also discussed can save time and frustration by helping both of you decide on the right path to take in terms of achieving them together – because let’s face it: if one of you dreams of scaling Everest and the other wants to travel around the world, well… how do you make that work? Communication about goals can definitely lead to mutual support and a healthier relationship, no matter the size or shape it takes.

  10. Expectation boundaries

    Expectations are simply expectations that you and your partner have agreed to honor and uphold, such as frequency of communication, physical touch, or spending quality time together. They are formed by talking through each other’s needs, validating those requests, then embracing them or compromising on a mutually agreeable solution. Setting expectations helps to keep relationships strong and meaningful – if both parties know what is expected of them, it allows for open communication and lessens misunderstandings or disappointments down the line. With clear expectation boundaries in place, couples can create harmony and balance within their relationship.


Defining and setting boundaries is an important part of any type of relationship, be it personal, professional, or romantic. Boundaries help us to feel safe and secure, and give us a sense of control over our own lives. When we have healthy boundaries, we are able to assert our needs and wants in a way that is respectful of both ourselves and others. Remember, you have the right to set your own boundaries! If you’re feeling unsafe or uncomfortable in your relationship, reach out to a friend, family member, or therapist for support.