Setting up personal boundaries is important in all types of relationships, but in intimate ones, it is all the more important. As with the closer the relationship will become it is easier for those lines to blur. You may ask yourself what is a boundary and why setting, or recognizing them do for me. Boundaries are personal limits we have with other people emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Often we already have these built-in, but sadly we often ignore them because we were taught to be nice to everyone, or that our desire to be in a relationship may outweigh how we behave.
There are at least three different categories of boundaries: physical, emotional, and spiritual. The easiest to understand is the physical boundary, as we experience this one literally on a daily basis. Think of this has if someone is standing too close to you, and how that makes you recoil inside slightly. If you were to apply this to a relationship or someone you may be dating it may take place in terms of a forced physical intimacy before you are ready. Often when these initially happen we get an uncomfortable feeling, it can be a shortness of breath, a sense of being violated, or something like a sinking feeling in your stomach. These are all signs our boundaries are working, and we need to pay attention to them.
Emotional boundaries can impact us in every day life as well. These typically take place in situations where we know the other person. This can be something like a co-worker making an emotional appeal for you to by trash bags for their child for fundraising. This can be our potential dating partner trying to force emotional intimacy through revealing too much about themselves, or asking us to do the same for them. A violation of an emotional boundary could be a potential mate trying to secure a commitment in a relationship before we are ready. Once again if we feel uncomfortable when these things happen, its time to pay attention, and ask ourselves what is making us feel this way.
Spiritual boundary violations can be very devastating. A very easy example of this may be when a child seeks approval from a parent for something they have done, and then that child is met with criticism. These violations tend to run deeper than an emotional one since they feel like an attack on us. This could be a partner making an overly harsh comment, or if someone is putting someone else down and making you feel uncomfortable. When these transgressions happen you should take note, other people should not make you feel bad, and attacks on the spirit can be difficult to get over.
When your boundaries are violated, you often have a negative reaction and my not know why. Learning about where your personal limits are is a wonderful way for you to set expectations in a relationship, and learn about yourself. There is no better time for you to do this than before a relationship starts, or in beginning of a relationship. Re-setting your boundaries in older relationships is possible, but it will come with a longer adjustment period. Take time to establish what your personal expectations are, so you are always comfortable in your relationships.