I realize that setting physical boundaries with your significant other can sound a little…lame, unromantic, stifling, restrictive etc. And I used to agree! What about spontaneity? What about embracing the moment? What about enjoying that perfect movie moment? Sure, those things all hit you like a ton of emotional bricks when you’re a teenager in love. But the truth is, setting boundaries, both in a physical and social sense, can save your relationships in the long run.

First I’ll tackle the physical. When I was in high school, I remember asking my girlfriend if we should set boundaries, as this was both of ours first “serious” relationship. Wanting to get everything right my first time around, I suggested setting some physical boundaries. I remember her words vividly, “I agree completely, but I feel like setting boundaries only encourages you to break them, so what’s the point?” She did have a point. Restrictions, especially when it comes to something brand new and exciting, feel claustrophobic. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work toward making those boundaries a reality, through open communication and accountability.

Males, you have to be the leader in this area, as difficult as it is, especially as a teenager, I believe you have to be the one leading this charge.

Females, seek males who have the strength to do this. Talk openly about it, figure out what works best for you as a couple and ask your friends or mentors to help keep you accountable.

The point is, this conversation with your significant other will only benefit you in the long run. You know that very Christian’y thing that people say “Be careful, because one day you’ll have to tell your wife or husband EVERYTHING that you’ve done.” As much as I hated hearing that when I was younger, it’s absolutely true, and it sucks. Even if you’re not married or you haven’t told your significant other everything, you still have to live with it in your own mind. Of course you can be redeemed, you can be forgiven and you can move on, but it’s not an easy or quick process. You’d always be willing to trade those memories that now mean nothing for the chance to go back and erase them.

Social boundaries are something that I think are largely overlooked in teen relationships. If you’re dating someone you go to school with, then things get a little tricky. You’re going to see them at the very least five days a week and sure, the school setting isn’t exactly the best place for your relationship to progress and grow in a meaningful way, but what you should be mindful of is the sheer number of hours you spend together.

I remember guys walking their girlfriends to class then hugging or talking until the very last bell, acting as if they wouldn’t see each other for months after the door closed. You’re teenagers, I get that, it’s fun and new and exciting. There’s nothing wrong with that. But you have to keep in mind that there is a line of unhealthy amounts of time spent together. For one, you’ll get sick of each other! There’s only so much to talk about! Plus now we have texting so you can be plugged into the other person 24/7 and not miss a single event! What fun is that when you do come together for date night?

A healthy relationship has to have boundaries, agreed upon and discussed by both people involved. I can’t stress enough how many mistakes are made by ignoring that simple advice.

Check out the below link for some funny and informative thoughts on setting boundaries in a relationship.