To create a relationship that may blossom into long lasting partnership, boundaries must be identified and reinforced from the very beginning. As soon as you connect with someone online and progress towards meeting and officially dating, remain aware of personal boundaries.
A boundary is really an agreement with yourself or your partner about types of behavior and situations that support emotional, mental, and physical health.
Identifying your boundaries is an ongoing process. It requires you to continuously check in with how you’re feeling in different situations and honor the messages those feelings are telling you.
As you begin to live in alignment with your personal boundaries, you will activate a sense of personal empowerment that naturally leads to a tangible sense of self-love. As you may know, self-love is the single most important building block for healthy, loving relationships, and for living a fulfilling life.
I recently attended some very liberating workshops on subjects like consent and opening up to deeper connections. A common theme in these workshops was recognizing personal boundaries, whether they be around receiving touch, the information you reveal about yourself, taking space from someone’s gravity, and so on.
Note that personal boundaries revolve around your own sphere of control, such as your body, your participation in events, and the company you keep. Your personal boundaries do not involve control over another person in any way, including who your partner can and cannot speak to (even though this may impact you emotionally).
When it comes to online dating, it will only support your journey to cultivate a meaningful relationship if you honor your personal boundaries. They might include your readiness around meeting someone offline, where you meet and whether or not you drink alcohol, the personal details you include in your profile, or even if continual compliments about your physical appearance is something that feels comfortable.
If you find your boundaries are crossed, be aware of the feelings arising that reveal this to you. In kind, communicate clearly to the other person that there is a boundary being crossed. A quality date will respect that boundary, however sometimes the message is not fully understood and it may be crossed again. Then it is up to you to decide if you are willing to give them one more chance and assert your boundary one more time, or if this is enough for you to walk away and continue meeting new people.
Remember, you don’t owe anybody anything while dating, aside from respect, honesty, and kindness. By moving on from people who cross your boundaries, you are doing yourself a huge act of kindness. Everything done out of self love can be trusted. And ultimately, you will be attracting a partner who relates with you respectfully, who you can trust to support your mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing.
As soon as two individuals begin dating or forming a more serious relationship, it is wise to form agreements that define the boundaries of your relationship. It is very easy to make assumptions and quietly hold expectations over your date or partner’s behaviour, but beware that if you decide to bypass a conversation about agreements, then you will very quickly run into some problems. The good thing is, problems and conflict reveal where there exists a misunderstanding between you and the other person, marking a gateway to understanding unmet needs and discovering fertile soil for a new agreement.
Agreement examples include: When should you remove your online profiles? Should your profiles be deleted completely or held on to in case the relationship ends? How much intimacy is allowed with other people, whether emotional or physical?
You and your partner will continuously change as individuals, and so it is important to re-approach relationship agreements every so often to ensure they still feel relevant. Sometimes a closed relationship becomes open, or the other way around. Sometimes it is agreed that you may both keep your dating profiles while you are casually dating, but as you become more serious it may help you both to feel more secure if you take them down.
The key to making relationship agreements is to be in tune with your personal boundaries, which reflect your needs, wants, and emotional realities. Communicating honestly with your partner and receiving their honesty with acceptance and love will lead to a fluid yet strong relationship.