How to succeed at setting strong expectations and boundaries in dating

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Setting strong expectations and boundaries in dating is crucial to building healthy relationships. It is essential to set up clear boundaries and expectations early on in a relationship to ensure that both partners are on the same page. In this article, we will share how to set strong expectations and boundaries in dating with relevant examples that you can start applying right away. 

How to set strong expectations and boundaries in dating

Setting and communicating clear boundaries and expectations early on in a relationship is essential to ensure that both partners are on the same page. When I approached my wife for the first time to express my love to her, she was quick to ask for clarity on what I meant by love; she wanted to know my motive right away. Since I had taken time to investigate and learn who she was, I was clear from the onset that I wanted a serious relationship with a high potential for marriage. Abbigail, my wife who was single then, did not want to waste time dating without clear intentions, and since I am a principled person, it was not hard to make clear my intention. The rest is history: I have been happily married to Abbigail for about 18 years now and blessed with four kids. Setting and communicating your boundaries early on is significant in determining the health of your relationship. It helps you build trust, respect, and mutual understanding with your partner. It also helps you avoid misunderstandings, conflicts, and disappointments. 

What are boundaries and why are they important?

Firstly, it is important to understand what boundaries are and why they are important. Boundaries are the limits that we set for ourselves in our relationships. (“Healthy Boundaries for Women – The Ultimate Guide”) They define what we are comfortable with and what we are not. According to Neil Wilkie, founder of online couples therapy platform, The Relationship Paradigm, “Clear boundaries are essential for our own mental health and self-esteem.” Boundaries help us to communicate our needs and desires effectively, and they help us to avoid situations that make us uncomfortable.

Healthy boundaries that you can set when dating

Physical boundaries: This includes setting limits on physical touch, such as holding hands, kissing, or sexual activity. It also includes respecting your partner’s personal space and privacy.

Emotional boundaries: This includes setting limits on how much emotional energy you can give to your partner, as well as how much you expect in return. It also includes respecting your partner’s feelings and not trying to control or manipulate them.

Time boundaries: This includes setting limits on how much time you spend with your partner, as well as how much time you spend on your own or with other people. It also includes respecting your partner’s time and not expecting them to be available to you 24/7.

Communication boundaries: This includes setting limits on how you communicate with your partner, such as how often you text or call each other, and what topics are off-limits. It also includes respecting your partner’s communication style and not trying to force them to communicate in a way that makes them uncomfortable.

How to set boundaries in dating

When it comes to dating, setting boundaries can be challenging. Knowing what to say and how to say it can be difficult. However, it is important to remember that setting boundaries is not about being difficult or demanding. It is about being clear about what you want and don’t want. Here are some tips on how to set strong expectations and boundaries in dating:

Be clear about your values and priorities: Before you start dating, take time to think about what is important to you. What are your values and priorities? What are your deal-breakers? Knowing these things will help you to set clear boundaries and expectations.

Communicate your boundaries early on: It’s important to communicate your boundaries early on in a relationship. This will help to avoid misunderstandings and ensure that both partners are on the same page. Be clear about what you are comfortable with and what you are not.

Be assertive: Setting boundaries requires assertiveness. You need to be confident in yourself and your needs. Do not be afraid to say no if something makes you uncomfortable.

Be consistent: Consistency is key when it comes to setting boundaries. Stick to your boundaries and do not compromise on them. This will help to build trust and respect in your relationship.

Be open to compromise: While it is important to stick to your boundaries, it is also important to be open to compromise. Relationships require give and take, and sometimes you may need to adjust your boundaries to accommodate your partner’s needs.

Use “I” statements: When communicating your boundaries, use “I” statements. For example, instead of saying “You need to do this,” say “I feel uncomfortable when this happens.” This will help to avoid blame and defensiveness.

Listen to your partner: Setting boundaries is not just about communicating your needs. It is also about listening to your partner’s needs and respecting their boundaries. Make sure that you are open to hearing their perspective and that you are willing to make some compromise where necessary.

Be Patient: It’s important to remember that setting and reinforcing your boundaries takes time and sheer determination on your part. It may require being patient with yourself as well as your partner as you learn and grow.

What to do when one person’s boundaries clash with the other person’s

Communication is key in any relationship, especially when it comes to boundaries. If there is a conflict between one person’s boundaries and the other person’s, it’s important to communicate about the conflict and come to an understanding. Sometimes, this may mean agreeing to disagree and finding a compromise that works for both parties. In some cases, however, the conflict may be among the deal breakers, and in such cases, it takes the courage to peacefully part ways. 

Conclusion

If you are struggling to set boundaries in your dating life, consider seeking the help of a professional therapist or a relationship coach. They can help you identify your boundaries and provide the tools to communicate them effectively. Remember, setting boundaries is an essential part of any healthy relationship, and it is important to be assertive and confident in communicating your needs. As Paulo Coelho once said, “When you say yes to others, make sure you are not saying no to yourself.” 

About the author

Stephen Nderitu Muiruri is the Founder and CEO of IRI Coaching in Seattle Washington, a Certified Professional Coach and Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner (ELI-MP) trained at the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC) USA. He is a Transformational speaker and Relationship Coach who helps women overcome dating challenges and find lasting love. He is also an international keynote speaker at various mental health and women empowerment events. Stephen has over a decade of experience working with women in the communities as a behavior change and communications program officer and an advocate against gender-based violence. He is the creator of The I Am Factor program, a unique and proven method for helping women rediscover themselves, boost their self-esteem, and attract compatible partners. His mission in life is to promote healthy and fulfilling relationships, thriving families, and flourishing societies. https://iricoaching.org/

References and Recommended Resource

According to Neil Wilkie, founder of online couples therapy platform The Relationship Paradigm, “Clear boundaries are essential for our own mental health and self-esteem” 1. 

The Harvard Business Review provides a guide to setting better boundaries in their article “A Guide to Setting Better Boundaries” 2

Psychology Today offers tips on setting and keeping personal boundaries in their article “4 Ways to Set and Keep Your Personal Boundaries” 1.

Psychology Today also advises setting healthy boundaries in close relationships in their article “How to Set Healthy Boundaries in Close Relationships” 3.

Verywell Family offers guidelines on how to help teens set boundaries in their article “Boundaries: What Every Teen Needs to Know” 4

https://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/relationships/setting-boundaries-in-a-relationship-is-so-important-and-heres-why/ar-AA1gSXfj

The post How to succeed at setting strong expectations and boundaries in dating appeared first on Wellbeing Magazine.

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