Healthy boundaries are an important part of any relationship—whether it’s romantic, platonic, or familial. As traμma survivors, boundaries are important to ensure we feel safe, secure, and able to put our well being first in relationships. This builds a strong foundation for healthy, mutually satisfying love going forward.
When a partner breaks your boundaries, it's common and understandable to feel hurt and betrayed. Consider using this situation, however, an opportunity to revisit a conversation about relationship norms.
To start, it can be helpful to communicate how you are feeling to your partner. This shares how their actions impacted you and why this boundary is important. You may also be able to better understand your partner’s intentions and feelings.
Was your partner aware of your boundary before crossing it? If your partner didn’t know, this can be a chance to clarify relationship expectations and needs. They may want to share their own boundaries too. Communication is key.
If your partner knew about your boundary, and chose to break it anyway—ask yourself why? Are they not respecting you and the limits you’ve established? Depending on the situation, this may be a red flag.
Some of your boundaries might be flexible, and you might feel comfortable adjusting them based on your partner’s needs. Other boundaries might be more rigid and set in stone—both types are important to have. You deserve to feel respected and heard in all of your relationships.
You are allowed to set limits and establish boundaries that protect you and that make you feel safe. You are allowed to expect people to respect those limits—as long as the boundaries don’t cause harm to someone else.
After experiencing abuse in a relationship, research shows that people tend to develop stricter boundaries with new partners. These boundaries typically become more flexible as trust, understanding, and mutual respect develops over time.
While it’s natural for our boundaries to evolve over time, ensuring we voice them is important to develop safety and security within a partnership.