What are your dating boundaries? Do you even have any or do you let your partner walk all over you? Setting dating boundaries is an essential part of any healthy relationship. The following are several dating boundaries that you should live by, if you want to avoid heartache.
Why Do I Need Dating Boundaries?
Establishing dating boundaries is an important aspect of any healthy relationship. Boundaries are your personal limits as regards both the type of behavior that you expect from your partner and also the limit of bad behavior that you are prepared to tolerate.
Clear boundaries help ensure that you are treated with the respect that you so rightly deserve. Failure to set any dating boundaries sends out a signal that you are more or less prepared to put up with almost anything, in order to be loved.
7 Healthy Dating Boundaries
Healthy dating boundaries include:
- I Respect Myself and My Boundaries
This should be fairly self explanatory and means not making excuses for your partner’s behavior when your boundaries are crossed. These boundaries establish a level of behavior which, in the cold light of day, YOU predetermined was unacceptable and a deal-breaker. The more you relax your boundaries, the more they will be tested. If your boundaries are not non-negotiable, then what is the point in kidding yourself that you have any?
- I Will Not Date Anyone Who is Married or Has a Significant Other
Nobody ever enters a race wanting to finish in second place. In reality, we all want to be ‘first past the post.’ So why on earth would you even entertain dating someone who already has a partner? Do you really want to live your life being second best? Are you really prepared to sacrifice your life for crumbs?
Of course not! So this boundary is something of a no-brainer. You may also wish to consider adding recently separated, divorced or widowed individuals to this boundary also. The last thing you need is to be someone else’s rebound relationship.
- I Will Not Tolerate Any Emotional or Physical Abuse From a Partner
In the heat of an argument it is perfectly natural to say things that will hurt your partner’s feelings. Let’s be perfectly honest about it…we are all guilty of hurling verbal abuse at one point or another! You might not be proud of your behavior and you may take offence at what is being said. You may regret your actions and wish that you had bitten your tongue. Nonetheless, this does not necessarily mean that you are being emotionally abusive towards, or are being abused by, your partner. However, are there several tell-tale signs of an abusive relationship.
If the verbal abuse is constant, with your partner belittling, criticizing, or humiliating you, then this is not a healthy relationship. Alternatively, your partner may be controlling or manipulative. If you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around your partner, fearful of his or her volatile reaction, then this too is unacceptable.Physical abuse would appear to speak for itself. If you saw a couple walking down the street and one of them shoved or slapped their partner, then you would be visibly shocked. Nonetheless, behind closed doors, you would be surprised at the level of tolerance that is shown towards physical abuse. I should also stress that this applies just as equally to men, as it does to women. We all have a right to feel physically and emotionally safe in our homes and relationships.
- I Will Not Tolerate Lack of Trust and Respect
Mutual trust and respect are the foundation of any healthy relationship. However, even if someone loves you, it does not necessarily mean that they will treat you with the degree of trust and respect that you deserve. They may lie or cheat on you. When you are unwell, they may make no effort to care for you. When you suffer a loss, they do not comfort you. In a healthy relationship, your partner will be compassionate and genuinely care about your feelings. This is definitely an instance where actions speak louder than words.
- I Respect Myself and My Boundaries
- I Will Maintain My Independence
Understandably, you will want to spend quality time with your partner. Even so, just because you believe that you have met the ‘love of your life,’ does not mean that you should suddenly drop all of your hobbies, interests and social circle. These are an important part of your life and shape who you are. Also, if you ‘dump’ all of your friends, who are you going to turn to if things go awry? It is much easier to recover from a breakup when you already have your support network in place.Remember, you both need your own personal space and neither should be made to feel guilty about doing things on their own, or that simply do not involve their partner.
- I Will Not Waste My Time Waiting for the Phone to Ring
Do not allow yourself to be at the mercy of some ‘Game Player.’ If someone is genuinely interested in you and wants a relationship, then they will not want to risk losing you. This means that they call when they say that they will and do not cancel dates at the last minute…unless there are extremely extenuating circumstances of course! Also be wary of someone who tends to communicate predominantly by text or messenger type services. If they cannot make the effort to pick up the phone and speak to you, then they are really not all that interested in you. It is a lazy, albeit modern means of keeping you hanging on.
- I Will Not Chase After Someone Who Has Rejected Me
Rejection is hard and it is perfectly natural to want what you cannot have. However, if someone is not interested in you, then you need to move on. It’s their loss! Things happen for a reason and it simply means that there is someone far better out there, just waiting for you.This means no calling, texting, stalking or accidently ‘on purpose’ bumping into them. It is important that you maintain your dignity and self-respect.
The above is not an exhaustive list of boundaries and you will probably wish to add some of your own. However, whatever you do:
Set your boundaries, know your boundaries and stick to your boundaries!
What Is Friends With Benefits?
For those of you who have not had the pleasure of watching the romantic comedy of the same name, starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis, you may be wondering what on earth the term ‘friends with benefits’ dating means. In the 21st century, ‘friends with benefits’ (FWB) refers to two good friends who have a casual, ‘no strings attached,’ intimate relationship.
There is no commitment, no romance or future obligation. Both parties are free to date whoever they want, when they want and they simply meet up for friendship and to fulfil their innate desires. FWB could be construed as being the ideal solution for a commitment phobic individual who is afraid of tying themselves down to one individual. You get all the benefits but without the hassle.
Friends With Benefits Rules
Unsurprisingly, FWB dating is more often than not a recipe for disaster. One partner inevitably ends up getting more involved than the other. This can lead to feelings of confusion, rejection and even jealousy. Often, the person getting hurt is the woman. At the risk of stating the obvious, men and women are wired differently. For men, they are committing a physical act that does not require love or commitment. Women, on the other hand, are far more emotional creatures and tend to associate intimacy with love.
Ultimately, whether they are conscious of it or not, a woman is typically seeking a permanent relationship. ‘Getting busy with it,’ without all of the romantic trappings, often results in them feeling cheap and used. The emotional consequences for a woman engaging in a FWB relationship can be considerable. Indeed, the woman may find the ‘matter of fact’ approach adopted by the man to be rather heartless. ‘Giving themselves’ to a man tends to change everything for the female of the species.
Finding Friends With Benefits
There are many dating websites which are now specifically targeting this relatively new market. They match up like-minded individuals who are essentially looking for a no commitment physical relationship. Typically however, FWB refers to a pre-existing friendship that shifts from a platonic level. It usually suits people at certain stages of their life, often before or after a committed relationship.
Although the term is commonly associated with people in their twenties, there are an increasing number of divorcees getting in on the act. Regardless of age, both parties need to open-minded and on the same wavelength as regards their ‘non-relationship.’
A friends with benefits relationship is fraught with potential problems. Below are some of the most common.
Anyone who is not in a monogamous relationship needs to be sensible about the risks of catching a multitude of diseases and must take sensible precautions. Even if you are not sleeping with anyone else, the arrangement allows your friend with benefits to sleep around should he, or she, wish.
- Unplanned Pregnancy
Even for those who are being sensible, there is always that small risk that your contraception fails. You both need to consider in advance what you would do, should this occur. You may discover that you both hold entirely opposing views on the matter.
- Your Family and Friends Will Disapprove
Well, most of them will. There are always exceptions to the rule! On the whole, they will not approve of your friends with benefits dating arrangement. They will struggle to understand the nature of your relationship to the extent that you may be too embarrassed to tell them and may feel compelled to keep it a secret.
- You Both Have Different Expectations Of The Arrangement
One of you may be viewing the arrangement as a short term stopgap whilst the other sees it as the start of a permanent, long term relationship.
- One Of You Will Have Stronger Feelings Than The Other
In fairness, this can probably be said of most relationships and the dynamic does tend to change over time. However, you are signing up to an arrangement whereby you are unable to get romantically involved. This can lead to feelings of jealousy, resentment and hurt.
- It Can Stop You From Finding A Committed Relationship
Whilst you are involved in a friends with benefits relationship you may, albeit unconsciously, be preventing yourself from finding Mr or Mrs Right.
- It Can Destroy The Friendship
A pre-existing friendship can be destroyed and may result in animosity between the two parties.
Given the potential for such a relationship to cause such harm, the question begs to be asked, why would anyone enter into a friends with benefits relationship in the first place?
The FWB arrangement is clinical and cold. Whilst it may suit some, it is definitely not to be recommended for the majority of individuals out there.
What are your thoughts? Have you ever been in a friends with benefits arrangement?