5 Simple Steps to Setting a Boundary

5 Simple Steps to Setting a Boundary

Orlando Counseling Providing Relationship Therapy

Do you feel insignificant in your relationship? Does it feel like your partner mows over you and your wishes? After an argument, do you wonder, “What the heck just happened?” If this sounds like you, then this series on boundaries will help clarify what’s happening and help you get your feet back on the ground.

As an anxiety and trauma therapist providing counseling in Orlando, I want to help you set and keep healthy boundaries in your relationships. A common misconception around boundaries sounds like this, “I told him not do that anymore and he did it anyway. He is not honoring my boundaries.” While this statement may be true, ultimately, the person responsible for “honoring” or carrying out your boundary is YOU.

In this article, I walk you through the 5 simple steps in setting a boundary. Setting a boundary is actually quiet simple, not always easy, though. Let’s explore the nuts and bolts of setting and carrying out a boundary.

1. Know Yourself

When setting a boundary, explore what is happening within you. Are you feeling run over, disrespected, taken advantage of? Investigate what is coming up for you around your partner’s action. Explore what is important to you in setting the boundary.

Know what action you are willing to take to back yourself up. Is this a deal breaker? Or is it an annoyance? Know where you stand. Make decisions about the action you are willing to take when you are calm and grounded, not when you’re mad. Do not put the relationship on the line if you aren’t willing to walk away.

I suggest you recruit the support of some trusted friends to help you sort out your feelings, where you stand, and what action are willing to take.

2. Be Clear

When setting a boundary, you need to be very clear with your words (how you communicate your boundary) and with your intentions (what you plan to do if your partner does not honor you boundary). It would sound like, “When you get drunk, I feel uncomfortable. I am asking you to stop. If you don’t stop, I will end the relationship.” Or, “When you look through my phone, I feel disrespected. I am asking you to stop. If you don’t stop, I will change my password so you can’t get in my phone.”

3. Give Them a Chance

This is the easy part and where many people stop. After you’ve communicated the boundary, the hope is, your partner will take it literally, honor it, and that is the end of the story. If this is the case, then yay! Give your partner some positive feedback and move along. If not, promptly move on to the next step and take the action.

4. Take Action

This is the hard part and where the rubber meets the road. The action you decided to take in step one and communicated in step two, needs to happen now. Taking this step empowers you. Not taking this step dis-empowers you. This is the “how to” behind the fun phrase, “You teach people how to treat you.” This step moves you out of being a victim in the relationship.

5. Get Support

Taking the action is not easy and can bring up a lot of self-doubt, especially if you’re not use to standing up for yourself in a relationship. Have some trusted folks standing on the side line ready to cheer you on and give you support.

Have you tried to set a boundary in the past and things have fallen short? Do you draw a line in the sand and then move it? If so, check out my next blog post to explore what is preventing you from holding your ground.

Want more on boundaries? Check out these posts:

Boundaries Deconstructed

3 Fundamentals to Boundaries [+ 20 Q Self-assessment to Boot]

4 Boundaries for a Healthy Relationship and 14 Questions to See How You're Doing

Boundaries: 21 to Questions Uncover Your Style

Boundaries: 3 Reasons You Move the Line


Lauran is an anxiety and trauma therapist providing counseling in Orlando, FL. She also specializes in helping people heal old broken relationship patterns that keep them from finding, creating, and keeping healthy relationships with partners, friends, and family. Lauran uses a down to earth approach infused with cutting-edge therapies that go beyond traditional talking to help clients feel calm in their body and mind and find peace within themselves.