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Healthy boundaries allow us to monitor all sorts of things in our lives, including our own behavior and which behaviors we will accept from others. We believe the most commonly discussed boundaries include limits around physical touch and sexual behavior. What we know is that boundaries can also apply to things such as language, time, spiritual beliefs, money, etc.
Categories of BoundariesThere are a few different boundaries we want to cover:
- Time-Specific: Our boundaries can change over time depending on how long we have been with a person. They can also change based on the "label" we have given someone. What you would do with your "partner" is probably not something you would do with a "stranger." So as a relationship progresses through time, our labels change through time as well.
- Context-Specific: Context means your environment, the things around you, the time of day, and all of these little descriptors we would use do describe our day. For instance, some may say, "I'm never ok with Public Displays of Affection (PDAs)." Or they may say, "I only want to kiss in private." These boundaries depend on WHERE you physically are, not necessarily how close you are to the person.
- Behavior-Specific: These boundaries are primarily to identify behaviors that are never ok. "You will never hit me." "You will never put me down and call me names." These boundaries are super important to think through, because no matter if that person is a stranger or your partner, these behaviors should never be seen as acceptable!
Know Your BoundariesThink about some of the following questions and get a sense of your own boundaries. When you know what they are, you are aware when they are being pushed and you will know when you need to speak up.
- What counts as cheating? (Think about physical AND emotional cheating)
- What am I comfortable with in terms of a physical relationship?
- How do I feel about the person I want to date (I am dating) drinking or using drugs?
- Should a person I want to date have similar spiritual beliefs?
- How much time do I want to spend with my partner?
- How do I want to spend time with my partner when we are together?
- Is it important that my friends and family approve of who I’m dating? Why or why not?
- How does money affect a dating relationship? (Who should pay? If someone pays for something, do they deserve something in return?)
- What are some reasons that I do or do not want to date right now?