Women constantly complain about why the men that they’re dating aren’t willing to put in the right amount of effort. He never calls only texts, never wants to leave the house, never wants to go on a real date or is simply unromantic and aloof. What women don’t realize is the man is putting in effort, as much as he sees necessary for what he wants. I always say if he ain’t tryin’ he ain’t lyin. Establishing boundaries can be a very important thing to do in dating and romantic relationships, especially for women. The boundaries that a woman does set in these situations are based on her values and on what she believes are appropriate behaviors for her in those dating and romantic situations.
- At the beginning, not after a boundary has been crossed. Let the person you are interested in know from the get-go where the lines are drawn when it comes to what you need (and what you won't tolerate). While you two are getting to know one another, let him or her know which boundaries are the most important to you, such as a monogamous relationship, sexual boundaries, or wearing shoes on the carpet.
Be honest. If you're afraid that some of your boundaries will scare that special someone away, talk to them about it before it becomes an issue. If your special someone takes issue with a boundary you feel to be reasonable, then perhaps that someone isn't so special.
Be direct. No insinuations, no hints, no "well maybe, maybe not"s. Be clear and direct if no shoes are allowed on the carpet, ever, period. Be clear if phone calls every ten minutes are unappreciated, and be very, very clear about whether or not you two are mutually exclusive. Once you set the concrete boundaries, talk about the boundaries that are negotiable. Every relationship has problems, and this will never change; however, a compromise allows more effective communication and an overall healthier relationship.
Always be respectful of your partner needs. Don't be a hypocrite; when he/she needs to set boundaries with you, be understanding and open. Respect his/her wishes and be upfront with any questions. Remember, any questions do not have to be voiced with criticism or anger. Mature communication is the best way to talk to your lover or spouse about boundary issues.
Space. Space, space, space. When you need it, take it. When he/she needs it, give it. Always be mindful that as much time as you need to take for yourself, so will your lover. Coming home after a hard day's work to your significant other is often very rewarding, but the both of you still need other outlets of focus. Keeping up with friends and maintaining healthy social activity is vital to a person's well-being. Humans have always been social creatures, and it's meant to be that way. Cultivating other interests is important, too. Spend time doing things you enjoy apart from your relationship, and let your partner do the same. Balancing your work life, social life, and love life are essential to success in those aspects.
- If it's just not working, it's just not working. If you have tried every reasonable way to set boundaries and your lover simply can't respect them, you need to end the relationship. It's very, very difficult to love someone who cannot respect your needs, mainly because you love them and hope they will change. But they won't. Once you have done your best and upheld your responsibilities, but have not been repaid with the same, your loyalty is to above all yourself. You deserve someone who will treat you with the same level of maturity and commitment as you will them, and you should never deprive yourself of this based on the hope that your lover will change.
- We are done letting someone drive us nuts. When you are truly sick of receiving “I need/want you,” texts or phone calls at 1am, tired of complaining that the man you are dating won’t pick up the phone to touch base, or exhausted from continuing to keep men in the queue who flake and don’t call or show up when they said they will, then it is time to set a boundary. I have heard women tolerate various types of situations with men with whom they have not even yet had a first or second date. Yet, often, they put up with it because they don’t know how to set this critical boundary. The truth is this; simply tell them it is not tolerable, and that you aren’t a match because you clearly have different values. Ultimately, you must decide how much nuts you are willing to tolerate. If you want to be treated with respect, and keep your dignity in tact, stop the nutzos from orbiting in your world by setting clear boundaries.
- Let's look at two boundary situations:
- If on the second date a man asks a woman to go away with him for a weekend, I would advise her to reply, "Thank you, but I could never do that until perhaps we knew each other a lot better."
- Another situation: They've been dating and having sex for six months, and he then asks her to move in with him. If the woman desires, ultimately, to marry this man, I would recommend that she reply, "Thank you", sweetheart, but I could never move in with you unless we were married---or at least engaged.
Women put up with this bad behavior for one reason: they’re desperate. When you start dating a man he gets his chance to show you what he’s about. Give him the chance to prove to you that he is a good dude.
In short, remember that setting boundaries is critical to learning how to dating with dignity to get the results we want — a healthy, fulfilling, enjoyable relationship. What boundaries are not are empty threats made in anger, words we leak in an attempt to manipulate, or a last-ditch blatant attempt to exert a power play over someone with whom we are in relationship. Tomorrow we will dig deeper into setting boundaries, and discover what you can be expected to face once you set boundaries, as well as some tips and scripts on how to enforce them with love, compassion, and dignity