Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dating and Boundaries

Many people abhor dating. I did too, until I discovered the power of boundaries and thoughtfulness.

I did a lot of online dating to find my husband. I found that the better my boundaries were, and the more I understood my own motives for doing things, and what I really wanted, the easier dating became.

In this article, let's just get started with discussing what boundaries are, why they're important in dating, and what they do for you.

So what are boundaries in dating?

Another word for boundaries could be 'limits'. Boundaries are basically decisions - what is acceptable to you and what isn't. It could be knowing what your limits on physicality are, on how much you'll spend on dating, and on how much time you wish to spend on it. I encourage you to actually ask yourself these questions and write down the answers in order to clear your head.

Why Are Boundaries Important in Dating?
Well, actually, boundaries are important not just in dating, but in every aspect of life. Knowing your boundaries is a part of knowing yourself. And that is especially important in dating.

When you're looking for a mate, how can you know what you're looking for without knowing yourself? You've got to figure out what you can stand, what you can't stand, and what's negotiable. Otherwise, you're just fumbling around in the dark or, worse, settling for whomever is willing to hang around for a while. That results in a lot of drama and hurt feelings. Who needs that?

Boundaries in dating give you options.
Setting boundaries and sticking to them is a form of acceptance of yourself. When you accept yourself as you are, then you have options. Setting boundaries in dating helps you avoid that icky feeling of having betrayed yourself, helps avoid resentments later, and helps your confidence. When you respect yourself, your confidence grows as you face fears.

Here's an example. At one point, when I was dating, I was always afraid of rejection. Of course everyone fears this, but I avoided facing that fear - I did not act in a way that was true to myself, believing that saying no to anything would result in that person not 'liking' me anymore.

Actually, it was quite the opposite. Saying yes to everything that your date wants may seem nice to your date at first. But soon, he or she will catch on that you really aren't into this stuff. At that point, they will feel like you are fake, emotionally immature (red flag) or are a game player who will, if they fall for you, change into your true self once you feel that you've 'got them'.

Once you've learned to say no a few times and survived, you will start feeling more confident and valid. Your dates will notice this characteristic.

And, not only that, but once you know it's ok to say no, you will also start saying no but learning to compromise too. This is a mark of emotional maturity that everyone recognizes and appreciates.

What's most important to know about boundaries is basically knowing what yours are, and then sticking to those, so that you preserve your integrity and avoid that 'icky' feeling of having just made a mistake that you now must live with.

You can start setting boundaries from the moment you write an online dating profile, or even start chatting with people online.

How do you know what your boundaries are? You decide them in advance and you write them down if you must.

Check back for more in my next article about Dating and Boundaries.

Questions? Super Dating Coach has answers. Just contact me via the blog and I will answer your questions - it's free so why not?

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