In a relationship, there can be times when you have to stand up for yourself and make your position very clear about the things you would be happy to accept, and the things you won’t.
It shows that you’re prepared to define your boundaries and put your foot down on the things you strongly disagree with.
Also, it reveals to your partner that you take your expectations seriously in the relationship, and you are looking to help them get your needs met.
How do you put your foot down in a relationship?
To put your foot down in a relationship. You start by respectfully expressing your expectations early along with the consequences if these expectations are not met. You need to be very clear about your feelings and perspective, also the things you will and won’t accept in the relationship.
Let’s take a look at how to put your foot down in a relationship without causing further issues and arguments with your partner.
What Does It Mean To Put Your Foot Down In A Relationship?
Putting your foot down in a relationship means that you are taking a stand because you know your needs, and are prepared to ask for better from your partner. Usually, you will put your foot down about issues of high importance in the relationship. Such as loyalty, money, and life-changing decisions.
For example, if your significant other asks you out of the blue if you can both book an expensive holiday together.
You may not want to go on an expensive holiday due to your current finances, ability to get time off work, or strong feelings about not wanting to go.
In this instance, you may feel the need to put your foot down and respectfully tell your partner why you’re not happy to book a holiday right now, and list your reasons why.
You aim to take a stand, express your needs and wants, but also mention any consequences if there are any. This is especially true if your partner chooses to ignore your wishes or do anything behind your back.
In the ideal scenario, you can both discuss the issue and come to an understanding or agreement. Alternatively, make a compromise both you and your partner are happy with.
When it comes to putting your foot down in a relationship. It’s mostly about setting expectations early which are clearly understood and respected by your partner.
However, it’s important to find a healthy balance and not exert too much control over your partner.
You should put your foot down, express your expectations respectfully, but also respect your partner’s wishes and viewpoint too. Don’t make it one-sided, and avoid any controlling behavior towards your partner.
How To Put Your Foot Down In A Relationship (Step by Step)
When you want to know how to put your foot down in your relationship. It’s first important to realize that it’s mostly about expressing your expectations early and clearly from the start.
In a relationship, from the start and throughout. You should try to have open and honest discussions with your partner about the kinds of things you are happy to accept in the relationship.
Also, the things that you definitely won’t.
This makes it much easier to set healthy boundaries in the relationship. Also, it allows your partner to understand why you might be taking a stand over something they are doing you are not happy with.
Here’s a summary of how to put your foot down in a relationship (Step by Step):
- Set your expectations early
- Express your expectations clearly
- Have frequent open and honest discussions
- Discuss possible consequences
- Put your foot down
- Seek understanding and agreement from your partner
- Follow through with consequences
Let’s take a look at each step in more detail and how it applies to you putting your foot down in the relationship.
Step 1. Set Your Expectations Early
Setting any expectations you have early in the relationship is seriously important. The earlier you do this the better, as it allows your partner time to ensure your needs are met and understood.
If you don’t reveal your expectations early, and you wait until an issue arises to communicate your expectations with your partner. There’s a good chance you won’t get your needs met.
Your partner may be surprised by these things you want or need and it could cause needless tension in the relationship.
Putting your foot down in a relationship without revealing your boundaries or expectations early beforehand is also likely to cause unnecessary arguments.
For example, when you make it clear to your partner early in the relationship that you want to go traveling together as a couple.
If your partner knows you want to go traveling or have romantic holidays away together. They are going to be a lot more likely to meet your needs and expectations in the relationship.
On the other hand, if you don’t reveal your expectations early. Your partner won’t know how important this is to you. Also, they won’t have a clear understanding of what your wants or needs are.
They may unintentionally do things that go against your expectations and upset you because they did not know.
It can be common in relationships for one partner to get upset with the other simply because they didn’t meet an expectation that was never clearly expressed and understood.
If you want to avoid putting your foot down in a relationship and have your partner fulfill your wants or needs. Try to respectfully express and expectations with them early.
Step 2. Express Your Expectations Clearly
Expressing your expectations clearly to your partner can be just as important as letting them know these early.
When you want to express your expectations in a relationship. You should communicate them as clearly as possible with your partner to ensure they are understood.
Try to avoid expressing broad, confusing, or vague expectations. This will only lead your partner to second guess and not understand what your expectations are. So it’s crucial to be clear from the outset to help you avoid needing to put your foot down in the relationship.
It’s also important to remember that your partner needs time to process what you have told them. Especially if it involves a large commitment of time, energy, or money on their part.
For example, if you’ve told your partner that you would like to have more date nights together. It’s a good idea to elaborate and give more details about what it is you would like.
Try not to ask them broadly or vaguely as there is a good chance you won’t get your needs met. Give them a clear explanation of your expectations, and provide clear examples.
You could provide your partner with more clarity by telling them:
- Why you think having more date nights is a good idea.
- How often you would like to have date nights together.
- How elaborate or simple the date nights need to be.
- What your expectations are for the date night.
- What you would like to do.
- The time or money commitments that may be needed from your partner.
- Why having date nights matters to you.
Asking them in this way leaves a lot more room for open discussion or back and forth to take place between you and your partner.
Being clear about your expectations also stops you from having to put your foot down when your partner is second-guessing what you are asking of them.
If you want your expectations and needs to be met in a relationship. You need to be clear and provide details upfront about exactly what it is that you want or expect from your partner.
Step 3. Have Frequent Open And Honest Discussions
Having frequent, open, and honest discussions about the kinds of expectations taking place in the relationship is also a good idea.
In a healthy relationship, you should always aim to have honest conversations about the things each of you expects the other partner to be doing. This helps to ensure your needs are met and understood.
It also helps you to avoid the need to put your foot down when your partner is confused with or misunderstands what you expect from them in the relationship.
It’s crucial to express your expectations early, clearly, and have continued conversation about them. This is also true if your expectations happen to change or develop over time.
For example, if you tell your partner that you would like to have a date night together once per week. If they are happy to agree to this and commit to it. Then your needs and expectations are being met moving forward.
However, If something changes for you, and you can only commit to having a date night once every two weeks, or once per month. Then you need to communicate this change with your partner.
If you fail to communicate changes in your expectations, wants, or needs with your partner. This will only ever lead to confusion, misunderstandings, and avoidable arguments.
So aim to have continued conversations about expectations with your partner. Especially if you want to avoid the need for having to put your foot down in the relationship.
Step 4. Discuss Possible Consequences
The simple fact is, expectations with consequences attached are much more likely to be met by your partner. If they genuinely care about you, then a clear consequence will be enough.
If you want to increase the likelihood of your partner meeting your expectations, needs, or wants in a relationship. Make it clear that consequences are attached to your expectations. Usually, these consequences can involve your disappointment or dissatisfaction with what they are doing.
Most of the time when your partner cares about you. Knowing that there is an obvious consequence for their actions that go against your expectations will be enough.
This is especially true if they know you will put your foot down and take a stand as a result of their actions.
However, for a partner that does not care about you or your expectations of them in the relationship. No consequence will ever be enough.
Some actions that go against your expectations relating to loyalty, honesty, or faithfulness in a relationship may require more severe or drastic consequences.
For example, if you’ve made it clear from the start that you expect your partner to be faithful and never cheat on you. A consequence of them cheating on you or being unfaithful in the relationship could be breaking up, divorce, or the subsequent end of the relationship.
It may seem strange to attach consequences to expectations this way. However, most relationships have them in some way or another. It’s just that not everyone openly talks about them with their partners.
Many of the consequences in a relationship will remain hidden until one partner severely goes against the expectations of the other. This is also when one partner takes a stand or puts their foot down.
That is why it’s so important to be transparent and clear about consequences if there are any. You should set your expectations and boundaries early from the start.
If you do not give clear consequences along with your expectations to your partner. It’s much less likely you will get your needs met. As there is no consequence for behaviors or actions that go against your expectations.
Step 5. Put Your Foot Down
Putting your foot down in a relationship is a crucial step to take if your partner is severely working against your communicated and clear expectations.
The best time to put your foot down in a relationship is at the beginning or early once you realize something your partner is doing is not living up to your clearly explained expectations.
Why? Simply because the sooner you put your foot down in the relationship about something you are not happy with. The more likely your partner will be to make a change for the better.
Putting your foot down in this way helps to ensure you get your needs met. Also, it prevents your partner from continuing actions or behavior that work against your expectations or cause avoidable arguments later.
For example, if you have clearly expressed your expectations with your partner about trust and loyalty. Along with what you would consider cheating in the relationship and what the consequences are.
If you happen to catch your partner flirting over text messages. This clearly goes against what you have talked about with them. So it’s a reason to put your foot down, reemphasize your expectations, and take a stand against what they are doing.
In this instance, your partner will know what your expectations of them are. Also why you think it’s bad behavior and any possible consequences you have given for it.
The next step is either to seek understanding and agreement from your partner. Or to follow through with the consequences.
Step 6. Seek Understanding And Agreement From Your Partner
This step is crucial if you want your partner to understand your expectations when you put your foot down. Also, if you want them to improve on or stop any behavior that is not allowing you to get your needs met by them in the relationship.
Ideally, when seeking understanding and agreement from your partner when you put your foot down. You will both express your thoughts, feelings, and come to an understanding about the matter at hand to help ensure you both get your needs met.
Your aim is to get your partner to understand how it works against your expressed expectations. Also what the possible solutions or consequences might look like.
For example, if you caught your partner flirting with someone else over text. You need to express your feelings and thoughts about it and why it goes against your expectations.
You need to make it clear that what they are doing is not meeting your needs or expectations.
Then you need to be prepared to listen to your partner and have a conversation about why they are doing it.
But make no mistake, this is not always easy if the things they are doing go against your non-negotiable expectations. Especially if these relate to trust, loyalty, or honesty.
When seeking understanding and agreement from your partner. They will hopefully understand what you need, what you want, why it’s wrong, and how it can be fixed or changed moving forward.
However, no partner is perfect. No partner can meet your needs or expectations 100% of the time. All you can do is try your best to explain them and ensure they are understood and agreed to by your partner.
If on the other hand, certain expectations you have of your partner are non-negotiable or go entirely against what you expressed your relationship together should be.
It’s time to follow through with the consequences for anything your partner has done that goes clearly against your expressed expectations.
Step 7. Follow Through With Consequences
Why should you always follow through with the consequences if these are expressed beforehand to your partner?
It’s crucial to follow through with consequences when putting your foot down in a relationship because it makes it clear to your partner that you are serious about your expectations. You attach consequences to your expectations to show your partner that there are repercussions for their actions.
If you put your foot down in the relationship, but do not follow through with any consequences. This gives your partner no incentives or motivation to change their actions and behavior.
When you fail to follow through with the consequences. It makes it a lot more likely that they won’t understand what they are doing is wrong, and you’ll continue not to get your needs met.
For example, if your partner starts lying to you after you clearly expressed your expectations and consequences about doing it early on in the relationship. A possible consequence for them beginning to lie to you could be to break up or end the relationship.
You reinforce your expressed expectations by making sure your partner knows there is a clear consequence if they work against it.
Otherwise, with a lack of any consequences, your partner may choose to simply continue or keep doing things that go against your expectations.
When you choose to follow through with large or small consequences. You let your partner know that you are serious about your expectations and needs in the relationship.
You also show them that you expect better, and you are not happy to settle for someone who consistently goes against your expressed and clearly defined expectations or boundaries in the relationship.
When Should You Put Your Foot Down In Your Relationship?
When you are putting your foot down in a relationship, picking the right time to do it is crucial.
Ideally, you should put your foot down at the beginning of the relationship or as soon as your partner does something that goes against your expectations of them. The earlier you do it, the better.
It’s far easier to start putting your foot down about something you are unhappy with at the beginning of the relationship, rather than doing it in the middle or once you have been together for a while.
Why is it better to put your foot down early or at the beginning of a relationship?
Simply because your partner will be a lot more willing and open-minded to ensuring your needs are met in the relationship. They are a lot more likely to change behavior or do things to meet your expectations.
If you don’t put your foot down early and allow the relationship to continue without any clearly defined expectations or boundaries. It’s going to be a lot harder to express these to your partner and follow through with them.
What To Put Your Foot Down About in Relationships (13 Examples)
What things should you put your foot down about in a relationship?
While there can be many things you can set your expectations early about and clearly define with your partner in a relationship. What you choose to put your foot down about depends entirely on your relationship, the circumstances, and your partner.
Are there any topics or issues of high importance you should strongly consider setting expectations for?
Here are some examples of things you should consider putting your foot down about in relationships:
- Loyalty & trust (what trust or loyalty means to you, how to gain your trust, etc.)
- Cheating & infidelity (what you consider cheating, flirting, etc.)
- Communication (texts, phone calls, etc.)
- Attention (how much, how often, etc.)
- Affection (how much, how often, etc.)
- Intimacy & sex (when, how much, how often, etc.)
- Health-related issues (smoking, alcohol, illnesses, etc.)
- Money & finances (sharing, how you spend, what you spend it on, etc.)
- Chores (sharing chores fairly, who does what, when to do it, etc.)
- Personal privacy (snooping on phones, private conversations, etc.)
- Friend & family (when to meet them, getting along, making an effort, etc.)
- Life-changing or big decisions (who has a say, what things should be considered, who has the final word, etc.)
- The relationship’s future (living together, having kids, getting married, etc.)
If any of these topics are of high importance to you. It’s a good idea to set your expectations early and communicate them with your partner.
This helps them not come as a shock or surprise to your partner once you are further along in your relationship. You are much more likely to get your needs met if they know where you stand from the start.
Some topics such as getting married, or having kids can obviously wait to be expressed until you are further along in your relationship.
However, if something like this becomes an expectation you feel strongly about, it’s important to tell your partner early.
You essentially want there to be no surprises for your partner down the road in your relationship. It’s also important to listen to your partner’s expectations or viewpoints on these topics.
Where Should You Put Your Foot Down? (In Public Or Private?)
When you want to put your foot down in a relationship, picking the right place to do it is seriously important.
It’s usually best to discuss your expectations and put your foot down in a private setting. This is because the conversation is likely to include personal issues, relationship grievances, and things your partner may not want to be aired in a public setting.
When talking about sensitive issues with your partner. It usually feels more comfortable for you both to talk about these in a private setting, such as your home or apartment.
However, there are still some semi-private settings that can work for these kinds of conversations. Places like the park while going on a walk, or having a meal in a restaurant at a relatively secluded table might also work.
Having these kinds of conversations and putting your foot down in a private setting works better simply because there is less chance for others to become involved.
Try to have these discussions or put your foot down in a place where it’s just the two of you.
If you put your foot down and have discussions about your expectations in a public setting, or a place with your friends or family present. Your partner is a lot less likely to feel comfortable, want to talk, and may feel under pressure or “ganged up on” by the others who are present.
So when considering where you should put your foot down and express your expectations with your partner. It’s highly recommended to do this in a private setting where you both feel comfortable and it’s just the two of you.
How To Put Your Foot Down Later in a Relationship?
What should you do if you missed the opportunity to bring up an expectation early in the relationship, or have new expectations that you still want to bring it up to your partner?
One of the things that can make expectations and putting your foot down later in a relationship harder to enforce is that expectations can often develop over time.
You might have more expectations of your partner now than you did early on in the relationship. It’s normal, as it follows the natural progression of how most relationships work and develop over time.
The key to putting your foot down later in a relationship is realizing what your expectations are and expressing these as early as possible with your partner.
You can’t expect your partner to realize that your expectations, wants, or needs have changed. So it’s crucial to communicate any changes to ensure you get your needs met.
If you are unsure how to put your foot down later in the relationship, or communicate any changes in your expectations, wants, or needs you wish to see met by your partner.
Here’s how to put your foot down later in a relationship, and communicate or express your new expectations with your partner:
- Approach the discussion with your partner calmly, be gentle, and realize they might be surprised hearing your expectations.
- Clearly express your expectations and desires early respectfully and lovingly.
- Acknowledge openly that you are expressing a new expectation, want, or need you would like to be met by your partner.
- Consider apologizing to your partner for not discussing it earlier if it feels called for.
- Listen to and validate your partner’s feelings on the matter (especially if they disagree or are shocked).
- Be prepared for your partner to be confused, not fully understand, or not fully agree.
- Realize they may need time to process what you are telling them or to show a willingness to make a change.
- Avoid giving ultimatums or listing consequences if they do not agree to your new desires (these can be discussed after they have come to terms with what you are saying).
- Don’t threaten to end the relationship (unless what they are doing severely goes again your non-negotiable expectations for the relationship).
These guidelines for putting your foot down later in a relationship tell you how to effectively communicate new expectations and desires with your partner.
While this does not guarantee that your partner will accept and agree to meet every expectation you have. It’s a step you need to take later in the relationship to ensure your needs are met.
Final Thoughts On “How To Put Your Foot Down in a Relationship”
When it comes to putting your for down in a relationship. There is a right and a wrong way to do it. But it’s not all about demanding that your partner does what you expect. Open communication is the real key.
The right way to put your foot down in a relationship is by expressing your expectations early. The earlier the better. Open and honest communication is the key. You also need to realize that putting your foot down should be warranted and based on prior agreement or understanding by your partner.
If you put your foot down in a relationship. It should be done respectfully to help you bypass avoidable arguments or tension in the relationship.
The ideal outcome from putting your foot down and expressing your expectations will always result in an improvement in communication and understanding.
Listing, talking, openness, and honesty all play a role in helping you to get your needs met by your partner in the relationship.