Updated: Jul 11
Boundaries are a way of communicating how we want to be treated.
It’s important to have them right from the beginning of an interaction in online dating.
Boundaries are also important in established relationships. It’s never too late to start!
How the other person responds to your boundary is an indication of their own emotional maturity.
I talk about here about a couple of interactions I had recently with 2 different men.
Both exchanges are in relation to how I like to be communicated with in message exchanges.
I wanted to show I understood the other person’t possible perspective, that I respect that they might not have recognised my needs and I state clearly what my expectations are for the future.
When I sent both of the messages there was an element of discomfort.
Am I asking too much?
Am I being over the top?
Am I being picky?
Am I being difficult?
These ideas come from a lifetime of stories of self-abandon and people pleasing. Of putting the needs of others and protecting them from their own discomfort before thinking about my needs and my discomfort.
It meant that people walked all over me. Didn’t respect me. Spoke to me how they wanted. And I was always there. Ready to accept more.
The thing is, in any relationship, we allow people to treat us to the level of self-worth we have. To our own level of self-love.
Requesting how someone treats you is OK. In fact, it’s more than that. You are saying to the other person, ‘I value myself and my needs, here they are. I don’t expect you to know everything about me so I’m going to teach you what’s important to me and what isn’t.’
The thing that holds us back from boundaries is our fear of how the other person might react.
In both instances, I thought to myself ‘what if they react badly and don’t want to see me anymore?’ And then I check in with myself - do I really want someone in my life that can’t respect my requests on how I wanted to be treated? Actually. No. No I don’t want them in my life, and the sooner that we are both aware of how they will and won’t respond to a boundary, the better. It means I can focus on those who do respect me. Who do value me. And who see the value I have of myself and want to be aligned with that value.
Here I share a boundary I set recently and a healthy response to that boundary:
The wounded response to a similar boundary:
You are worthy.
You are deserving.
Set that boundary.
Carla Crivaro is a trauma-informed and certified Sex, Love & Relationship Coach, she works with men and women internationally to reach their goals in delicious sex, profound love and authentic relationships. Carla helps men and women understand themselves and each other, sexually and relationally, in and out of the bedroom. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.