Boundaries are the limitations that we set and enforce with all of the people in our lives. Our boundaries are often shaped by our culture and the way that we were raised. When it comes to your relationship, it is important to establish and communicate your boundaries with your partner. This will answer the question: what constitutes “crossing the line”?
Relationship boundaries apply both to how you treat one another, as well as those around you–addressing issues such as fidelity, finances, and interactions with friends and family members. For example, some people may feel comfortable with their friends or relatives showing up at their residence unannounced–while for others, this could feel intrusive. When you are in a partnership that includes a shared living space, having an understanding about these boundaries will prevent you from breaching them unintentionally. In some cases, this may require both partners to compromise
Some of the most important relationship boundaries to clarify are those surrounding fidelity, or “cheating” behaviors. While it may feel intuitive or obvious to you, everyone’s threshold for cheating behavior is different. Some individuals may feel uncomfortable with his/her partner having a close friendship with a member of the opposite sex, while others may draw the line at flirtation or intercourse. Surprisingly few couples take the opportunity to clearly spell out this boundary at the beginning of their relationship, and sometimes boundaries do not get asserted until after they have been crossed.
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Written by Joanna Aslanian, LPC, ATR-P