I met my husband online and when we first started dating things began to move pretty fast in terms of liking each other and wanting to spend time with each other.
Still, I had been down that dating fast and furious dating path before and I always ended up in a relationship that crashed and burned. So this time I made sure that I put up very specific boundaries to protect myself. One of the big ones was I would not let him pick me up and see where I lived for at least five dates.
I can tell you, he did not like this boundary one bit and he voiced his displeasure too. But I stuck to my guns as I knew that if he could not handle this requirement and pressed too hard, then I was willing to lose him.
It was my boundary and he had to respect it or he could just move on. In the end, he did respect the boundary (and others I had too), we fell in love, and we are now happily married.
Setting boundaries is so important to the dating process, not only because they can protect you from getting mentally, emotionally, or even physically hurt.
But also because boundaries allow you to have clear and identifiable ways to say “No” in order to get exactly what you want and need from a partner and a relationship. So here are the top 5 ways to establish boundaries when Conscious Dating.
Be Honest With Your Date & Yourself
This may sound like a no-brainer, but I find that many daters don’t like to reveal their true feelings or objectives to a potential suitor in fear of not be liked or unfairly judged.
But good dating is about being vulnerable and truly authentic and when it comes to boundaries that make you a happy and healthy dater, honesty is always the best policy.
That means revealing your boundaries even if it means by doing so, you will lose interest from the person sitting across from you. Remember, if a potential special someone takes issue with a boundary that you feel is reasonable, then guess what,they are not that special after all.
State Your Boundaries at the Right Time
When you first meet someone, you don’t want to sit there and rattle off a list out all of your boundaries, but at the same time, it’s preferable not to wait until after a boundary is crossed to reveal it’s been crossed either.
For example, if you’re about to go on a date with someone and want to let them know that you prefer to only meet in public places for a few dates then by all means let him know. Or if sex is something you prefer only to engage in when in a committed relationship, then it’s preferable to voice that after a date or two, not weeks or months into dating.
Use “I” Statements Exclusively When Indicating a Boundary
By using the words “I” instead of “You”, it means you not only take personal ownership of the boundary, but also keeps the other person from feeling like you think they did, or could do, something wrong.
The goal when delivering boundary guidelines is to let the other person know you trust and respect them, but these are requirements you must have to make you feel safe and comfortable when developing a relationship. The tone is also important, so you should be direct, but calm and come across being authentic, non-judgmental, nor accusatory in any way.
Practice Flexibility While Discovering Boundaries
Growing and learning means setting boundaries that are not rigid and allow for some flexibility. Above all else, the goal for any given boundary is to help make you feel safe by protecting you from people or situations that may not be in your best interest.
So when you reach a point where a boundary is no longer needed, then by all means change it or drop it entirely (Note: this can only happen if you are truly conscious about the dating choices you have been making and your dating partner has been given your complete trust.)
For example, maybe you say you don’t want him to see where you live until at least the 5th date like I did, but he has proven himself by date 4 so you let him pick you up at home then. If boundaries are set too rigidly, you risk isolating yourself from the person you’re involved with because every person and every situation is not the same.
End the Relationship if Things are Not Working
This last one is oh so important because it’s one thing to set up boundaries, but without acting on them when they’re crossed they’re pointless.
Once a boundary is crossed no matter to what degree or what magnitude the boundary, there needs to be consequences for the person who crossed it.
Those consequences are up to you and may just mean he loses some of your trust or if significant, like the person showed extremely ugly, controlling behavior towards you then you have no choice but to end it.
Sticking to your boundary’s guns and trusting your choices is the key to smart dating even if it means that choice keeps you single a little longer.
If you’re struggling with understanding and communicating boundaries, I’d love to help. Schedule a free Relationship Readiness Review here and let’s talk.