Healthy relationship boundaries are important to keeping every relationship alive and full of spark but they are something that aren’t often part of relationship building.
Healthy boundaries come in many shapes and sizes, depending on the couple, but there are 5 basic boundaries that should exist in every relationship.
#1 – It is important to spend time apart.
When they are falling in love, couples want to spend every available minute together. The feelings that accompany falling in love are addictive and hard to walk away from even for a short while.
It is important, however, that you spend time apart from the one you love.
You know the old saying ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder?” It’s true!
Think about how you feel when you go on a diet. How you can’t eat ice cream for a month while you lose those 5 pounds and, man, do you miss your ice cream. It’s the same thing in a relationship. Stepping away from your partner, even for a bit, makes you both notice the void that is created in his or her absence.
And then the heart grows fonder.
So spend some time apart. Miss each other. Value each other. Keep that spark alive.
#2 – Don’t let either of you be in charge.
In many relationships it happens that at some point one person becomes the one calling the shots. And while this seems to work on one level, ultimately the relationship will become uneven. And when things are uneven a relationship changes.
So make an effort to keep the decision making even in the relationship. If you are good at organizing your social life then do that but give him opportunity to choose events. If he is good at managing the finances let him do that but continue to have input into where the money goes and why.
Not letting any one of you be in charge is important. And it leads to #3.
#3 – Respect each other.
One of the biggest romance killers in a relationship is lack of respect and contempt.
The saying ‘familiarity breeds contempt’ is an accurate one and something that happens in many committed relationships.
It is important in every relationship that you each respect each other. Respect each other within the confines of your relationship by speaking to each other honestly, sharing your feelings and needs in an open way. By not attacking each other personally and criticizing each others’ behaviors and actions.
Furthermore, it’s important to not criticize your partner out in the world. The general rule of thumb is that you not tell something about your partner to anyone that you haven’t already shared with your partner.
When I was married, I talked to my friends WAY more about the problems in my marriage than I did to my husband. This didn’t do our relationship any good because we weren’t communicating and giving our relationship a chance to improve. And when we were together I treated my husband with contempt because I no longer respected him.
I am no longer married.
So make sure you treat each other with respect, both inside and outside the relationship.
#4 – Keep the personal hygiene stuff personal.
Um so, what do I mean by this? Personal hygiene stuff?
I want you to think about what things you do around your partner. Are you willing to brush your teeth? To floss them after? To put on your makeup? To wear a face mask to bed? To pee as needed?
All of those things are, of course, necessary parts of life. And when we get familiar with our partners we are okay with doing them in front of them.
But I would suggest keeping personal hygiene stuff personal because doing those things in front of them can demystify you in the eyes of your partner.
I don’t mean that if your partner sees you doing those everyday things he will love you any less but if he doesn’t see you doing those things then you will continue to be that somewhat mysterious woman he fell in love with.
So do your bathroom chores by yourself. Keep that mystery, and the romance, going.
#5 – Be your own person outside of the relationship.
So many women, when they are in a relationship, become less of themselves.
Many women take on their partner’s friendships, their hobbies and their ways of doing things.
It is VERY important that all women stay themselves when in a relationship.
Why? Because every healthy relationship is based on truth and if you are anything other than your true self your relationship will never be really healthy.
It is also important that you continue to respect yourself and you will respect yourself by being yourself. By continuing to have your friends, to do your own hobbies, to have a career that you love and a healthy lifestyle that serves you, you will wake up every day feeling good about yourself.
And when you feel good about yourself your partner will love you even more because he knows you are being your true self, someone who is ambitious and smart and willing to take risks to get what she wants.
So be yourself in your relationship. A healthy relationship requires it.
Every relationship needs healthy relationship boundaries to keep the romance going.
Most couples don’t put thought into boundaries until things start to go wrong. Don’t be that couple. Set boundaries ahead of time so that you can stay on a positive track as you move forward together.
So spend time apart, share the power, treat each other with respect, keep personal hygiene personal and stay yourself. All of those things will lead to the healthy romantic relationship you have always longed for.
I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.