We live in a culture that encourages us to share most aspects of our lives. Just hop on Instagram for a few minutes, and you will probably find out where the people in your list are, what they had for lunch, what products they are using, and so on.
When most people are expecting us to share personal stories from the beginning, establishing healthy boundaries can be confusing.
Our culture thinks it’s perfectly normal to tell everyone all about you, at least up until the point where they tell you it is TMI (too much information.) If you are trying to fit it, you may also think that revealing personal information is simply the way it is. You don’t need to act on what you think others’ expectations are, especially if you’re not comfortable with it.
Being Genuine Versus Oversharing
Being genuine and honest doesn’t mean that you have to overshare personal things about your life, or opinions that you are not comfortable discussing with someone new. Don’t forget that you have a choice, and the other person should respect it.
Media and peer pressure solutions might not be right for you. In fact, they can easily work against your desire to create the meaningful relationship that you want. Boundaries are a way for you to set limits with a potential partner. They are a way to establish what you are or are not comfortable with and how you want to be treated.
Also, a little bit of mystery goes a long way, as it encourages the other person to actively take an interest in you, ask questions and decide how much effort to put in. This gives you a chance to see how they act and how interested they truly are in you.
Why Are Boundaries Important?
When you answer personal questions before you are comfortable, or have sex prematurely, you can feel more vulnerable. This can hurt the fun and playful aspects of dating. Have you ever become needy or clingy when you rushed into sex? Did you regret answering a personal question, wondering if it would hurt your chances with him? Did you ever lose a man because you got much more involved?
Often, one of the people involved in a dating scenario “catches feelings” quicker and starts needing the other one more. Being unsynchronized in this sense can quickly lead to heartache and a missed chance at a healthy relationship.
A bit of privacy and mystery can keep the chemistry going, especially when you first start dating. Men often need space to realize how they feel about a woman. How can he possibly miss you when you are constantly calling, texting, and asking about his plans for the weekend? Give him space to think about asking you. You need to stop and think about your best strategy rather than rushing to contact him just because you miss him.
Besides giving space to your potential partner to process their feelings and intentions toward you, it’s equally important that you do the same. Allow yourself to put things into perspective and think about what you are in your life. Determine your goals and decide what limits you should put at the beginning of the relationship.
Here are some steps to take to get you to stop and think about creating healthy relationships by setting boundaries:
Boundary Setting Tip #1: Consider Your Goals
If you are looking for a relationship that really works for you, getting to know the man very well before getting emotionally or physically involved is crucial. Take the time you need to determine whether he is really interested in you and has what it takes to make you happy.
Boundary Setting Tip #2: Be Honest with Yourself
Are you conflicted about how to handle a situation? Do you stop and take time to consider how you feel and what the best approach for you to take is? If it is hard for you to do what you think is best, do you make excuses and choose the easier path to take? For example, if you are tempted to text him endlessly, do you tell yourself that you don’t have to worry about it because he loves hearing from you?
You’ll make more progress if you honestly consider your options.
Boundary Setting Tip #3: Get Better at Learning to Say “No”
Setting limits and boundaries requires being able to say “no.” If it is hard for you to say “no” to men, start in smaller, easier ways. Practice with returning a purchase you have changed your mind about or expressing a different opinion from someone. When you begin to feel comfortable saying “no,” it will help you to weed out the men who won’t work out for you and begin to appreciate the really good men who come your way.
Your Next Success Steps
Take this quiz to determine whether you have trouble saying “no” and start getting better at setting boundaries to establish healthy relationships.