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Why setting boundaries is the key to a healthy relationship. By: Larica Urbina, LPC

Like everything else in your world, your credit cards, your cute puppy that loves to eat socks, and the food you order from Mc'Donalds on your cheat day. You set limits, and boundaries and these boundaries set the tone for how things should go, and how you would like them to continue to go. This is why setting boundaries just might be the key thing that keeps relationships healthy.

I wanted to talk about this because there has been a very common theme in my therapy session thus far, where the client comes in and feels terrible about setting a boundary. Whether it be with a girlfriend, or mother, pet, or a coworker. Guilt creeps in when they have thought about setting limits with people in their lives.

If this has happened to you, I hear you and validate you for having these feelings because you are human and well, you might have plenty of reasons as to why you feel guilty about setting boundaries. I also would like to invite you to explore life without boundaries. What sort of things might come up for us if we do not have them.

What are boundaries?

They keep us in check with others, literally. They exist to help us avoid miss treating others or ourselves. For example: If your family member knew that it was unacceptable to come to your home and put their feet on the table because you have told them before or modeled it in some way. They would know not to go to your home and do that. This way, you wouldn't have to tell them, or feel resent for them and be a each others thoat about it. Boundaries are a healthy way of asserting your expectations of someone. It's also imports of us to have boundaries for ourselves. In relationships, boundaries are the rules and code of conduct made while conducting in the relationship. Just as having stop signs are in traffic. I like this analogy, because one thing about traffic lights and signs is that, they are consistent. Any time you come to an intersection, you will always see it. And this is also important to remember when we conduct ourselves in relationships

Being consistent is the key to healthy relationships.

Having that constant boundary is important so that no matter how things go, your message is consistent and predictable and thus conveying to your partner or other party about what you are willing to accept and what you are not.


Being open and honest about your expectations, and communicating your limits can and will present challenges. My tip is to be firm, practice it in the mirror or with your counselor or trusted friend. Be confident and stand in your truth and what you value. You must seek counseling if you are struggling with this. The alternative to not setting boundaries is having your boundaries exploited by others.


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