It seems there’s a lot of talk and noise about them, and how we need to set them. But when you’re newly separated or divorced, it can be a confusing time and space to be setting new boundaries when there is so much else going on.

Boundaries are a good and healthy thing. And really, they’re pretty simple.

They’re NOT big f-off fences with razor wire or un-scaleable sheer solid walls of rock or ice but simply a line you draw around yourself, your heart, your body, your space, your home, your time. A way of communicating to others information about yourself. What you’ll tolerate and what you won’t. What’s OK for you and what’s not. What you expect. Where you will flex and what’s non-negotiable.

If others respect your boundaries, you won’t even need to make a fuss about them. They’re just there. It’s only when your boundaries are crossed that you need to stand up and speak out. You can do this with grace and compassion. Gently but firmly. As Brene Brown reminds us, boundaries are about daring to love yourself enough, even at the risk of disappointing or challenging others.

Divorce is a time to reassess your boundaries and clearly, compassionately, courageously communicate those boundaries to others.


  • Allow you to make yourself, your needs and desires a priority.

  • Keep your body, your time, your energy, your heart, your emotions, your space, yourself SAFE.

  • Help preserve the health of your relationships - protecting them from becoming unsafe. They are not walls to keep people out, but protective fields around you.

  • Allow you to protect yourself and preserve your emotional energy. If your boundaries are clear, held firmly and calmly, you don't need to expend bucket loads of precious time and energy enforcing them.

  • Help you protect your sense of identity and builds your self-esteem. If your boundaries are non-existent or loosely held, resentment towards others can build as they repeatedly "cross the line" because of your unwillingness or inability to speak up of advocate for yourself.

    BOUNDARIES are simply a way of communicating to others what is and is not OK for you.


Here’s a simple guide I use with my clients to help them set their own boundaries:


Identify your basic human rights, choose to believe in and honour them, then setting boundaries naturally flows.

  • I have a right to be safe

  • I have a right to be treated with respect

  • I have a right to prioritise my own needs

  • I have a right to make my own decisions

  • I have a right to say no without guilt

  • I have a right to choose not to meet the unreasonable expectations or demands of others


  • Your intuition will tell you when your boundaries are being violated or you need to set a new, or stronger boundary.

  • Your body is a powerful tool in honouring your boundaries. It will tell you when a boundary has been crossed or is about to be - your heart may race, your breathing rate increase, you'll break out in a sweat, clench your fists or your teeth.

  • Listen to you instincts and trust your body.


Assertively set boundaries feel firm, fair and kind.

Express your thoughts, feelings, opinions and needs without guilt or worrying what the other person thinks.
Use "I statements" and language that is clear and non-negotiable, without blaming, shaming or judging.

"I feel __________ when _________. What I need is _________________"

Remember, you're simply giving the other person INFORMATION about yourself.


No can be a complete sentence. You can add a thank you, if you like. "No thanks"

There's no need for you to offer an explanation.

Saying no to things that don’t feel right is holding your boundaries around your time, your energy and your emotions.


Setting new boundaries during and after divorce can be especially challenging. So much is changing and shifting and your kids and your ex-partner expect you to be the same as you always were.

Coaching can support you to define your boundaries and then hold them sacred - to learn to love yourself enough to risk disappointing or challenging others.

If you need some support to build and hold your boundaries gently but firmly, sign up for your complimentary coaching call to see how coaching can help you.

You’ve got this xxx

Sallyanne Hartnell