Does this scenario sound familiar? You start spending time with a great guy. You are so jazzed about him you even call your mom and get her excited. After a few dates, he casually texts you just to say “Hi.” Within two seconds, you respond to the text with a series of three dings, because your response has exceeded the data limits for one message. The guy texts back, using all the words he has to communicate in a 24-hour period on you. You instantly respond back with another five-paragraph essay. Boundaries in dating? Who needs ’em?!
The Importance Of Dating Boundaries
Well…After a few days or weeks of this text exchange, your guy mysteriously gets carpal tunnel syndrome and stops texting. It’s obvious something is up. Is he losing interest? Your mom conveniently reminds you that men like a bit of a chase and this poor man was probably feeling bogged down by all the emotional effort involved in responding to your texts.
After ignoring your mom’s advice about boundaries in dating, you scratch your head and wonder why all of a sudden after a week or two of heated pursuit, the guy now seems so distant and the messages are becoming more sporadic. So you respond even faster to his messages until they run dry. Then the messages stop altogether. What happened? Was Mom right?
Why Fast Isn’t Better
Imagine trying to play a game of hide and seek and the person hiding stands right behind the seeker shouting “Here I am!” every time they play the game. After a while, the seeker would give up because the person hiding is no fun to play with. In fact, they are downright annoying. There is no suspense, no investment and no finding, which is always the best part of the game.
But this is what we do by rushing relationships, setting poor boundaries in dating, and using technology inappropriately. We overdo it by being constantly available and destroy a budding relationship when it’s fragile and without roots. We covertly cyber-stalk and linger on his Facebook page wondering who he is talking to and freaking out about every girl who posts on his timeline. Insecurity is not pretty, but it’s really unattractive when the world reads it on Instagram.
Men can fall into this trap, too. If a woman feels stalked by too many posts or text messages, she will pull back and retreat. On the other hand, a man might not communicate at all, thus leaving the gal feeling ignored. Finding the right balance of interest towards a woman without obsession or negligence is generally the best option.
Setting Healthy Boundaries In Dating
The best way to promote healthy boundaries in dating is to build respect for yourself and determine beforehand that you are worth waiting for and being treated well. This initiates confident – not co-dependent – behavior from the get-go. When you know who you are and believe in yourself, you won’t let other people treat you poorly. Here are a few ways you can set boundaries in a new relationship:
- Don’t stop dating other people. Why give up your whole life for a new person before you know if the relationship is going anywhere? Take your time and build a flirty friendship and then, if you are both on the same page romantically, pursue a more committed relationship.
- Respect your physical boundaries. Do not get physically involved with someone before you know if they are even dateable. Hookups are not an indicator of compatibility. Sexual intimacy too soon in a relationship will completely cloud your ability to discern their true character and personality.
- Avoid over-texting. When it comes to technology, keep things light in the early stages. If you want to have a more in-depth discussion, talk on the phone or meet in person.
- Do not be too available. Take your time and don’t rush the getting-to-know-you phase. Let the relationship play out naturally and enjoy the romance as it develops gradually.
Remember – real love is a marathon, not a sprint! Take your time in a new relationship if you’d like it to have long-lasting potential.
You might also be interested in: Is Dating More Than One Person At A Time Okay?