With so much content on boundaries floating around the internet, it can be hard to know which non-negotiables to consider when setting boundaries in a relationship. Right now, we all may feel like we should have boundaries, but have no idea how to implement or maintain them.
If you are recently learning about boundaries and realizing that you’ve been living with loose or non-existing boundaries, you are not alone.
Without the proper knowledge of how to set and maintain boundaries, we leave ourselves open to feeling like our boundaries are intentionally crossed or rejected. The result of that can lead to hurt feelings, feelings of invalidation, and confusion.
If these feelings are constant, they can create unhealthy patterns that will negatively impact the relationship we have with ourselves and the people we have relationships with.
Why Firm Boundaries Are Important
Since every relationship is unique, there will be negotiables in a relationship. But there will be non-negotiable values that are needed to feel safe and secure within the many platonic, romantic, and familial relationships we entertain throughout our lives.
Identifying the boundaries you need and incorporating them into your daily life can be difficult and uncomfortable for everyone involved. Regardless of how difficult it is, it is needed to build and maintain healthy relationships that facilitate the healthy, happy, life you deserve.
10 Most Important Things in a Relationship
Before getting into the non-negotiable boundaries needed in a relationship, let’s identify a few relationship characteristics.
It can be easy to confuse relationship qualities with boundaries that you are not willing to compromise in a relationship. Boundaries are one of those concepts that are often confused with a list of dating standards.
To make it more clear, try thinking of it like this: Relationship traits are what your relationship is built on, and boundaries are the restrictions and rules put in place to help you feel secure in a relationship.
- Open Communication
- Physical and Emotional Security
- Quality Time
Now, let’s get into the list of 5 non-negotiables to consider in your relationship.
The Great List of Non-Negotiables
When implementing non-negotiable dating boundaries, always identify what you are and are not comfortable with. Shifting boundaries for those we like, or are attracted to can quickly lead to resentment and regret. It can also negatively alter the way we connect and enjoy our own bodies.
When setting boundaries around physical affection, consider this:
- How often do you want to engage in sexual activity?
- How comfortable are you with public displays of affection?
- How often do you like to kiss, hug or cuddle?
There is so much pressure in the world for women to have children, and so much judgment when a woman decides to become (or not become) a mother. Pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood are serious jobs that take lifelong sacrifice and commitment, and becoming a mother or mother figure affects every single aspect of our lives.
When setting boundaries around children, consider this:
- Do you want to have children?
- Do you want to carry a child?
- Do you want to step/bonus children? If so, under what circumstances?
- If you are a parent or planning to become a parent, how do you expect parenting responsibilities to be distributed?
Unclear financial boundaries negatively affect relationships with friends, family, and romantic partners. Setting hard boundaries around money can help alleviate pressure, stress, and anxiety while allowing you to maintain respectful, trustworthy relationships.
When setting financial boundaries, consider this:
- Are you willing to lend your money when asked? How much are you willing to lend?
- What bills are you willing or not willing to pay?
- Are you willing to cosign on loans when asked?
- Are you willing to share bank accounts or would you rather have your own independent account?=
We know better than anyone how well we handle the emotions of others. Set firm limits around emotional dependency because without them, you will find yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually drained; leaving little room for self-care and happiness. This is where non-negotiables in relationship (platonic) settings can be helpful.
When setting emotional dependency boundaries, consider this:
- Can you be with someone who lacks motivation?
- What do you need to be able to emotionally support someone?
- How much personal time are you willing to give someone who needs advice or an ear? Where do you draw the line?
- What personal topics are you or aren’t you comfortable discussing with someone?
Political & Religious Beliefs
Just like the world, a relationship can become divided when religion and politics come into play. For some people, religion and political views make up a huge part of personality and actions. Engaging in relationships without these types of boundaries can make living your truth a daily struggle.
When setting political and religious boundaries, consider this:
- Are you willing to discuss these topics with anyone? Where do you draw the line?
- Are your beliefs debatable?
- Are you willing to be with someone with opposing views? To what extent?
Tips & Tools to Help You Identify and Maintain Boundaries
- Book Suggestion: One of my all-time favorite books that give clear examples of non-negotiables in a relationship with a mental health professional is: Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself
- Consider using a journal to identify past traumas and patterns that may be remedied with the use of clear boundaries.
- Check out these self-love-guided journals: 15 Self-Love Guided Journals Worth Every Penny
Ready? Set. Boundaries!
That concludes this list of relationship non-negotiables. The most important thing to know about setting boundaries is that it is hard work! Have grace with yourself but remain vigilant when advocating for yourself and setting those non-negotiable needs in a relationship.
It is more than worth the internal and external friction when learning to set boundaries. If ever you need motivation, just remember that setting boundaries are a form of self-love, self-care, and self-respect.
What boundaries have transformed your life for the better? Let us know in the comments below.