Part 6: Setting Boundaries in Dating
Since this is a marriage blog, dating isn’t discussed much. But dating is a part of life, either before marriage or after divorce. So, let’s talk about boundaries in dating.
Dating is fun and complicated. Most everyone would like to find true love but not everyone has the same beliefs and expectations.
Boundaries are a great way to keep you and your partner on the same page. They also help with setting expectations.
The goal of boundaries in dating isn’t to control the other person. It’s to establish respectful limits and healthy interactions.
The Benefits of Boundaries in Dating
Boundaries make it possible for you and your partner to take care of your own needs, enjoy your space, celebrate your individuality, and protect your health. Most of all, they help with determining if someone is a good “fit” as a romantic partner.
Here’s how to set productive boundaries while dating:
Have Non-negotiable Boundaries
When it comes to dating, it’s easy to get swept away with feelings of romance and passion, and overlook certain details.
So, before you put yourself out there, make a list of your non-negotiables. What are some things you will NOT tolerate, allow, or participate in? Also, included in your non-negotiables is what you absolutely need/expect for a relationship to work.
Communicate Your Boundaries Early
When is the best time to communicate your non-negotiables? At the beginning of the relationship when you’re getting to know someone.
Assuming your non-negotiables are reasonable, if they’re breached or not respected by the other person, it’s a warning sign that something needs to change.
Questions for Creating Non-negotiables
In creating your non-negotiables, ask yourself, What do I absolutely want in a relationship? What do I need to feel emotionally and physically safe? What are some things that my partner could do or believe that would be an immediate deal breaker? How do I expect my partner to behave and interact in the presence of men and women? These questions help with creating reasonable non-negotiables.
Communicating Your Non-negotiables
Once you’ve decided on your list of non-negotiables, share them clearly but lovingly with your partner. Unless they know your non-negotiables, they might accidentally break your boundaries without knowing. So let then know as soon as possible.
When Boundaries aren’t Well-received
If your prospective partner doesn’t like, agree with, or respect your boundaries, then maybe they’re not a good match; be prepared to walk. Think twice about making exceptions to your non-negotiables.
Any person who is unwilling to respect and honor your boundaries is someone who cares more about themselves than you.
When Your Boundaries are Broken
What if they agree with your boundaries but break them? It’s a definite red flag. Discuss and explore the issue further with them. It’s up to you to identify their motive for doing so, and whether trusting them is possible moving forward.
At the end of the day, there are worse things than not being with someone, like being with someone who’s selfish and doesn’t fully respect your beliefs, wishes, values, and standards, which are expressed in your boundaries.
So, date with an open mind until you find a good match that offers the best chance of having a healthy, happy and satisfying relationship!