Intimate Relationships and Boundaries

Boundaries are personal rules or ways to interact with people. They help you feel safe and comfortable in a relationship. It is healthy to have boundaries with the people you love.

Different people may have different boundaries based on what makes them feel safe and comfortable. If boundaries are not respected, it might make you or your boyfriend or girlfriend feel bad.

Here are some common boundaries:

Hugging and other touching

People in intimate and romantic relationships often like to touch each other. You and your boyfriend or girlfriend should talk about the kind of touching you want and do not want. It’s okay to get specific. It’s okay to stop if things are moving too fast for you or you don’t feel comfortable. It’s okay to change your mind.


Visiting at Work

When you are at work, you are supposed to be working. You should not have many interruptions. If your boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife wants to see you at work, you should ask your boss first. If your boss says that it is not okay, tell people not to come. If your boss says it is okay, then arrange a short visit for your family or friends. If you think they are staying too long or interrupting the work, tell them you have to get back to work or that it is time for them to leave.


Borrowing or lending money

Your money is your money and you get to decide how to use it. If you live with someone you are in an intimate relationship with, you may need to pay part of the household expenses. Just like with family, you should talk about this and make a plan. Your friends should not be borrowing your money. They should go to their family members or someone on their team if they need money, or they should get a job. If you decide to lend a friend money, you should also tell someone else you trust that you are lending this money. Talk with your friend about when you expect to be paid back. You should not feel pressured to lend money. You also should not ask your friends for money. If you need money, talk to someone on your team. They can help you find ways to get money you need, like getting a job or saving money over time. If you do borrow money, you need to pay it back as quickly as you can.


Borrowing or lending things

Just like with money, your things belong to you. Other people’s things belong to them.



Secrets are conversations that are supposed to be kept private and not told to others. Sometimes people talk to someone they trust and don’t want everyone else to know about it. Sometimes secrets are happy things, like planning a surprise party, or getting a new job that you aren’t ready to tell everyone about. Sometimes secrets are sad or upsetting things. Most of the time, you should not tell someone’s secrets to other people. You should be trustworthy, which means that people can count on you to keep the secret private. Sometimes, secrets are dangerous. If someone tells you a secret that is dangerous, you need to talk to someone you trust right away.


Reading other people’s mail or e-mail

The things people get in the mail, like letters, bills, and documents, are their private property. You should not open or read someone’s mail unless they ask for help or assistance. If you get mail addressed to you, it is your property. If you need help reading your mail or deciding what to do with it, you can ask someone you trust to help you. Email is also private. The email messages that someone gets are just for them. You should not read someone’s email unless they share it with you. You should not share someone’s email unless they say it is okay. Your email is private too. No one should be reading your email unless you ask them to or you show it to them. No one should share your email without your permission.


Personal Space

Personal Space is the amount of space you like to have between yourself and another person. Different people have different needs for personal space. In romantic relationships, people often like to be very close, like sleeping together, having sex, or hugging for a long time.


Talking about Personal Problems

Everyone has personal things that are going on in their life. It can be helpful to talk about your personal life with someone you trust. It can also be exciting to share your personal life with other people when something good is happening.