Why Setting Boundaries In Dating Is Important
Setting boundaries while dating helps you connect with people who are willing to meet you where you’re at. If you do something you’re not comfortable with to please someone else, they’ll usually take it for granted once they’ve gotten what they wanted.
I recently read a comment on tik tok where a girl said she slept with her now husband on the first date; I replied saying I’m glad it worked out for them. I believe this works for some people, because they had no problem with casual hookups in the first place. When you’re just being yourself and acting naturally, the right people respond to that. In the case of this couple, they were probably both relaxed and were being completely themselves with no expectations and this allowed them to develop a connection naturally. However, if you’re someone who’s closer to the demisexual spectrum, a one night stand won’t be enjoyable for you – when you’re not comfortable with doing something, you’ll seem awkward and closed off. If you stay true to your need to get to know someone before becoming more intimate, you will repel anyone who’s looking for a quick fix and isn’t willing to nurture a gradual connection with you.
That’s why boundaries are so important in dating. You don’t want to waste time on people who will give you the run around (and probably the need for therapy) when you could be spending that time being happy on your own (or dating someone more compatible). It’s a different story when someone rises to meet your standards. However, no one will respect you if you lower your standards in hopes of being loved by them.
Some Helpful Tips For Setting Boundaries While Dating
Please keep in mind I’m writing from the perspective of a straight cis woman, but anyone of any gender or orientation can make use of these tips!
Be aware of love bombing. Love bombing can be hard to resist, especially when you’re new to dating. You’re willing to believe the amazing things someone tells you, because you are certainly those things and worthy of being appreciated. However, the difference between hitting it off with someone and love bombing is that the latter makes you feel stressed, rushed, and quickly attached. It’s like the person literally bulldozed into your life, causing you to abandon your routine and count on them for all your validation. Love bombing is a manipulation tactic that is meant to get you attached quickly so you don’t recognize bad behaviour. It’s often a move from guys to get sex, but in some cases they might be grooming you to be a codependent partner.
Don’t tell people your Instagram/Snap Chat until you’ve been on a few dates. So this one is a personal preference. I read a blog recently where one single lady said she was only giving out her phone # moving forward to weed out the guys who aren’t serious. I think this is a wise move, because sometimes people use online dating as a way to collect new attractive followers to boost their account and have meaningless flirty messages with. It can also mean endless conversations that go nowhere – as an introvert with a reasonably busy life, I don’t want to waste my time on that. The true connections always happen offline in person.
Be comfortable clarifying things. Did he say something that seemed a little rude? Do you want to confirm where you two stand? Do you want to know what his values are? It is well within your rights to clarify things that are important to you. Be calm, but confident when you ask for clarification. This is a great way to avoid arguments and fights, because clarifying isn’t making assumptions or blaming.
“Hey, so I heard you say such and such earlier. I just wanted to know what you meant by that.” No one who cares about you will be offended if you want to clarify what they meant – they will be happy to explain.
Be willing to end things if they disrespect you. No one’s perfect, but everyone knows when they’re being disrespectful. Even children know when they’re being mean, so don’t try to justify a grown adult’s behaviour. We’re talking about the kind of treatment you would never want to be given nor would you ever give to someone you really cared about. I don’t think I need to list specific examples – anything that is considered to be reasonably uncomfortable, insulting, or rude by most people is not something you need to tolerate. If you think they are genuinely sorry and will change their behaviour after one mess up, you can give them a second chance if you want, but tread carefully. Once is a mistake. Twice is a coincidence. Three times is a pattern. You have to decide what you’re willing to tolerate.
Give yourself enough space to decide how you feel. You need to decide how often you want to communicate and see one another. For some, once or twice per day is enough to text. For others, a little more often is better. Many people meet on the weekend when they are first dating, but if you really hit it off, you might schedule a dinner date through the week to continue the great conversation. Giving yourself some space from the person you’re dating gives you a chance to assess how you feel about them and it also helps you maintain your boundaries. Even when a committed relationship forms, you are still two individual people.
Determine your non-negotiables. It’s a good idea to know what your needs are in a relationship. These are the things that will make you feel comfortable and loved. Ask yourself questions like: What do you need to feel comfortable with someone? Are there things that you would never be okay with? What is the frequency you are comfortable to text and see one another in a week? In a world that’s becoming a “No expectations, let’s go with the flow” mindset, it’s really important to have non-negotiables so you can determine if you and your date will be compatible.
The good thing is these will be brought to light early on so you aren’t wasting their time. The first few dates (and weeks) with a person will show you a lot when it comes to how willing they are to respect your boundaries (and how willing you are to respect theirs). If you can’t meet one another’s needs, that’s okay. It’s time to move on. You want the kind of relationship that is relaxing, fun, and mutually respectful.
Listen to the other person’s needs. Please don’t forget that there’s two people in a relationship. It’s not all about me or you. We need to listen to what the other person’s needs are. I’ve noticed some people out there believe they are the gold standard and their needs are so important, yet they fail to give the person they’re dating the same courtesy. Make sure you really understand what your date’s boundaries are and be willing to ask questions to clarify if needed. This a great way to see if you’re compatible for the long term and if you are, these conversations will bring you closer together. If you don’t care what the other person’s needs and boundaries are, you should not be dating.
Your personal safety is non-negotiable. You know what you are comfortable with. Don’t kiss on the first date? Don’t sleep with someone until month #3? Don’t go to someone’s home until you know them well? You get to decide how far you want to go and where you want to go. Unfortunately, modern dating and hookup culture has swayed in the favour of players in that they believe they’re entitled to sex, especially if they don’t see things being long term with a woman. I’ve been very clear that I don’t do hookups on my dating profile, but you’d be surprised how many guys are brazen enough to challenge that rather than respect my boundary.
You are not an object to be used. You’ve worked hard to be the person you are today. You don’t deserve to be used by someone who may never be anything but a selfish player.
If casual sex is your thing, then by all means please be safe and you do you. But I know so many women are ready for a real relationship and they feel like they have to forgo their standards to make a guy happy. Let me tell you: The right one for you will meet you where you’re at. They will never demand that you give more than you’re comfortable with.
Once you have decided what you are not willing to do, uphold that boundary and don’t give it up under any circumstances. My advice is to meet people in public and tell at least one person where you are going. If someone is pushy and doesn’t care about your comfort and safety, remove yourself from their life as soon as possible.
Practice Self-Care. Setting boundaries in dating is important, but it can also lead to conflict sometimes. This can bring up feelings of guilt. You should never feel bad asking for respect or for saying what your needs are. It’s important to take good care of yourself especially while dating. Treat yourself, invest time in exercise and eating well, and remember that you’re deserving of good treatment – which always starts with yourself.
Thank you so much for reading me today. ❤
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