I've talked about 2023 dating goals, and a lot of people resonated with the idea of getting better at creating boundaries when dating.
A client of mine even recently brought up, "I'm not sure what my boundaries are or where to begin."
So let's talk about how to create them and questions to help you understand what boundaries would help you!
A boundary is a limit or clear expectation for how someone else can treat you or what you're able to give.
The steps to creating a boundary are simple:
Decide what action or scenario you want to create a boundary around.
Determine if there needs to be a consequence if the boundary is crossed.
Communicate it (which you may have to do several times).
To decide what action or scenario you need a boundary for, think about these questions:
When have I felt uncomfortable or disrespected in the past when dating?
How much alone time do I need to recharge?
What're things I say "yes" to that I'd rather say "no" to?
How do I like to spend my extra money? Do I ever feel obligated to spend it differently?
What am I comfortable doing with someone physically?
How would I act differently if I wasn't trying to please people?
How do I feel when my ideas, beliefs, and opinions are dismissed?
Some boundaries will need a consequence (or resulting action) if it's crossed, such as:
If someone tries to pressure you into something sexual that you said you're uncomfortable with, you leave and cut off contact.
If someone continues to make jokes at your expense, you let them know it's not okay and that you don't feel comfortable being around them.
If you told someone you needed a night to yourself and they unexpectedly show up at your apartment, you let them know they can't come in.
While not all boundaries need a consequence, it's good to understand how you'll uphold a boundary if someone doesn't respect it from the beginning.
As for communicating your boundary, there are three helpful ways to do this:
1. "I" Statements
"I feel ____ when you ____ because ____"
"I need you to ____."
I don't like when you ____. I need you to stop."
2. Politely declining
"I'd love to but I can't."
"I appreciate the offer, but no."
Sometimes all you need is a simple "no."
Hopefully, these help you on your boundary-setting journey! Remember: boundaries aren't meant to keep people out of your life. They're made to keep you emotionally and physically safe. Plus, they'll help you thrive in your relationships!
If you struggle with feeling insecure and overthinking when you date, check out my free dating anxiety journal prompts.
If you want to move towards feeling confident and secure when looking for love, grab your copy of my 30-day dating guide, "From Anxious to Secure."