Setting boundaries in dating will help you navigate the risky dating arena.
Dating is a wonderful activity for single people which helps them learn more about themselves, the opposite sex, and how to build relationships. That´s why I never recommend kissing dating goodbye even if you may experience pain through the process.
It´s true that you can get hurt. If you´re attracted to someone and if that person isn´t feeling the same way for you, you may feel rejected and thus, get hurt.
However, there´s a difference between hurt which you can easily recover and feeling the kind of hurt which is the result of abuse as you lose yourself in the dating experience.
That´s the reason why boundaries in dating are necessary. Boundaries, or standards, are a fence protecting your property. In dating, your property is your soul, your entire well-being.
“Boundaries surround the life God has given you to maintain and mature, so that you can become a person He created you to be”, say Dr. Cloud and Dr. Townsend in their book, Boundaries in Dating.
Boundaries are the key to keeping your very soul safe, protected and growing. They will help you avoid unnecessary pain and they are important in achieving healthy, successful and happy dating and relationship.
Only you are responsible in what´s inside your boundaries, however, I believe that these six boundaries in dating are non-negotiable for everyone.
1. Not allowing someone to control your love, emotions or values.
They say that when you´re in love, you´re unable to eat and sleep, you only think and day dream about the person who captivated your heart. To some women, the guy they love becomes the center of their world that they give him total control of their love, emotions and values.
They do whatever their loved guy says; they are ready to sacrifice their values, they numb their own feelings which could be giving them red alerts, they sacrifice everything all for the name of love.
It sounds heroic, but in reality, this action poses more harm than good heroism.
If someone controls your love, emotions and values, it is not his problem. It is your inability to set limits on his control that is the problem.
2. Having the freedom to express your true self.
Sometimes, in order to attract the guy you date, you pretend to be someone you´re not.
It´s true that you need to present your best self—it´s the important goal of first date, anyway—in order to encourage him to take you to a second date, but it´s entirely a different story if you pose with pretense.
A good example is the case of my husband´s female best friend. A highly intelligent woman, she was almost close to finishing her master’s degree when she dated a guy who introduced himself as a university graduate professional.
They fell in love and became an item. But during one of her visits to her boyfriend´s mom, she discovered that the guy actually never attended university. His entire academic story was a lie.
Pretending to be someone you´re not is sacrificing your freedom to be who you are, and that only brings harm to a relationship.
In order to be happy in your future relationship, you should never hide your true identity, interests and lifestyle while dating.
3. Choosing the kind of people to date based on values, not past hurts.
If you grew up with a controlling dad, you may idolize him and therefore you look for an equally controlling man, or you may hate him and therefore you look for a passive, compliant man. This is a form of dating based on past hurts instead of desirable values.
If you notice a pattern in the kind of men you date or in the series of failed relationships you had, examine yourself, do past hurts influence the kind of people you attract?
You may need to read therapy books in order to unlock and heal from those hurts, or you may need to see a professional.
4. Knowing how much to give, and when to stop giving.
Many women complain about how they put their lives and happiness on hold for the man they date, only to find out that he is not ready to commit. They give and give, and he takes and takes, but he does not give as much as he takes.
[Tweet “When it comes to giving in your relationship, only reciprocate how much he gives you.”]
Don´t give more than he gives you. That also means don´t give him babies if he can´t marry you. Don´t play house with him—cook his dinner, wash his laundry, clean his house and share his bed—if he can´t give you his name, much more the benefits of a wife.
5. Learning to say “No”.
Saying “No” doesn´t mean you´re mean, it only means you have standards, that you respect yourself, and you won´t tolerate men stepping on your boundaries.
You say “no” to any form of abuse, deception, disrespect and poor treatment from your date. You don´t tolerate mistreatment or you don´t wait and hope that he will stop or change. Saying “No” forces him to take responsibility of his actions.
6. Keeping appropriate physical limits.
Many women want to save their body for their future husband and to give their virginity to him as a gift on their wedding night. However, while dating, they experienced pressure to engage on inappropriate physical intimacy and eventually, they give in.
It´s difficult to avoid sexual impropriety in dating if you´re not clear within yourself on this boundary, or if it´s only you who step on the brakes.
But it´s important not to ignore the deeper issues that drive you to consider engaging in this activity. Will you (or do you) give in to sex in order to keep him? Does he enjoy your body through pre-marital sex while he still clings to his freedom?
Dating is a risky but worthwhile journey as long as you are clear in your boundaries. Sometimes, men pull away in early stages of dating simply because of your lack of boundaries.
Boundaries in dating will help you avoid unnecessary pain, protect your well-being, and build a healthy relationship. Having healthy dating boundaries refers to your ability to say “no” if you have to save yourself, or even the relationship, from harm.