Setting The Boundaries In Your Relationship

Written by on July 31, 2013 in Relationships - No comments | Print this page

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Couple KissingTo a lot of people, the word “boundary” sounds very negative, as though someone is trying to control them or deny them something good.

In actual fact, boundaries are an important part of freedom.

For example, most playgrounds have some sort of fence or boundary around them.

Obviously this is to protect the children playing there from getting hit by a car, or running into the woods and getting lost, etc.

Additionally, the children are free to play without having to worry about the cars or the woods or whatever else may be beyond the fence.

Some boundaries are necessary when it comes to relationships, especially romantic ones. Some of those boundaries are set up for us in laws, but some have to be set up by each of us as individuals. There are two different areas of our lives where boundaries are important:

Emotionally

There is a strong temptation, especially when you first start dating someone, to give your whole heart to them. They seem so perfect and so great that you want to share everything with them.

The problem is that you don’t really know them that well. They may take what you’ve given and trample it, or walk away from you, or just be unable to handle it.

Building a friendship takes time, and part of the process is sharing small parts of yourself, learning more about each other as you go along. Most dating relationships end at some point and that break-up is intensely painful if you’ve given all of your heart and all of your emotions to this person.

So, how can I know if I’m giving too much of myself?

  • Have you neglected your other friendships? Have you lost any friends because of neglect?
  • Do you think during the whole day about your partner and/or planning your future together?
  • Are you jealous or hurt whenever your partner spends time with anyone else besides you?
  • Do you (or did you) tell your partner you love him/her after a fairly short time of dating?
  • Does the thought of breaking-up terrify you or fill you with panic or tear you apart emotionally?

If you could answer “Yes” to 3 or more of these questions then there is a good chance you’ve given too much of your heart away in this relationship.

Physically
In today’s world, there are so many confusing messages about sex that it can be very difficult to figure out what’s best for a dating relationship. The reality is that sexual intercourse can be a really great thing, in the right context, or it can be a really bad thing, outside of that context.

Sex bonds two people together in a permanent way and so the only proper context for sex is inside a marriage relationship. Outside of this situation, sex leads to many physical and emotional dangers, not to mention the dangers to the relationship itself.

Regardless of your opinion on this matter, it is always a good idea to decide beforehand how far you are willing to go, physically, with your dating partner.

To make this decision you first have to decide, based on your own value system, what you believe about non-marital sex. For those who believe sex outside of marriage is the wrong thing to do, setting the physical limits becomes fairly simple.

For those who believe they will “just know” when the time is right, the boundaries will remain very difficult to figure out.

A few things to consider when setting your physical limits:

The further you go, the further you will want to go. There is a natural progression to physical sexual behavior, which leads up to the most intimate physical act, sexual intercourse.

There is a point in this progression when your body is highly stimulated and you will not want to stop regardless of previous decisions so it’s best to set your limit somewhere before that. (i.e. for most people, having their private parts touched is a little too much).

The earlier you become physically involved, the further you will progress. The facts show that people who become involved physically early (i.e. 13-15 yrs old) on are far more likely to end up becoming sexually active before marriage than are those who were older (16-18 yrs old).

What you do with one dating partner, you will most likely do with another dating partner. The tendency for most people is to start in a new relationship where they left off in the previous relationship.

Physical intimacy is not a race. When you rush through the early steps of intimacy (like holding hands, hugging, talking together face-to-face, etc.) you miss out on a wonderful part of your relationship and so the foundation of your relationship will be less solid than it could (and should) be.

Kev lives in the UK and offers free dating advice on his website TW Dating

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