12 Core Boundaries To Live By in Life, Dating, & Relationships
Posted Nov 22 2010 2:17pm
Over the past few years I have written about boundaries, your personal limits of what you will and won’t put up with, many times. Yet, every day I hear from women who even in reading about boundaries and knowing the importance of them are afraid to actually have them. When you have little or no boundaries, it means that you will put up with pretty much anything in the name of being ‘loved’ and getting attention and validation, however actual love and a healthy, decent relationship never requires you to have no boundaries. So I’ve put together 12 core boundaries that every woman, in fact, every person should live by.
1. Under no circumstances will I date someone who is married or has a partner.
This also rules out people who have just separated, have been long term separated with no actual divorce on the horizon, and who are not over their ex. You are not a buffer/emotional airbag. You’re not someone to pass time with while they figure out what they do and don’t want, and the moment that you involve yourself in any of the above situations, the person knows that they don’t really have to do anything. If they lie to you and let you think they’re single, abort mission.
I should also remind about ‘lender awareness’ – do not allow yourself to be in a situation where you are sharing your man, whether it’s because you turn a blind eye to his cheating, or you keep letting him break up with you and then take him back once he’s got her/them out of his skin…which brings me neatly to…
2. I will not spend my time waiting around, whether it’s for their calls, or for them to show up after they’ve disappeared, waiting for them to come back, waiting for them to turn into The Man I Think He Could/Should Be, or waiting for them to decide if they want to be with me – I’m not putting my life on hold for anyone.
When a man is interested, you are in no doubt about their interest and they don’t run the risk of losing you. You have to stop acting like every guy could be the one and like there’s a fire – there isn’t. You deserve better than someone’s half hearted interest and there is no excuse for any man keeping you waiting around. He snoozes, he loses. The sooner they experience this, the sooner they learn to treat the women they date with more respect.
This also means you will avoid being in barely there, ‘non-relationships’.
When someone’s interested in you and wants a relationship, you know you’re in that relationship and it’s not ambiguous or a secret.
And never, ever, ever, ever, ever, wait around for someone to decide whether they want a relationship with you. Don’t demean yourself!
3. I will not continue engaging in any relationship where either they or I don’t treat me with love, care, trust, and respect.
Start as you mean to go on. Even though love is not there from the outset, there is no excuse for someone not to treat you with care, trust, and respect. It’s called integrity and decency. By the same token, if loving them means you can’t love you, always choose you. Do not erode your self-esteem by disrespecting yourself in a relationship. If you don’t treat you decently, others won’t. This is a fundamental part of having boundaries. If you can’t date with self-esteem, don’t date until you can.
4. I will not continue dating someone who reveals themselves to be a Future Faker or a Future Avoider.
Whether they tell lies about the future to get what they want in the present or they just refuse to talk about the future, if you’re involved with Pinocchio or you’re with someone who can’t see their way to making plans with you, cut them off as soon as this becomes evident.
Some people just can’t help but talk themselves up a storm at the beginning. They believe their own hype and overestimate their interest and end up making promises they can’t and won’t deliver on. Watch how quickly their personality switches or they disappear when they’re expected to deliver. Don’t waste your life waiting for them to become the Person They Were In The Beginning.
If someone is reluctant to talk about the future, it’s because they don’t want to give you the impression that you’re in it or they don’t want to accidentally commit and give you the wrong idea.
5. I will not date someone who controls the relationship on their terms – I must be in mutually fulfilling, balanced, healthy relationships.
Plain and simple, if you are not on an equal footing in the relationship and one person is dictating the temperature and pace and deciding what does and doesn’t happen, you are in an unhealthy relationship. You’ll know it’s only their terms when you try to instigate your own or balance things out – they’ll shut down/disappear/get confrontational or pretend to agree and then revert back to doing their own thing.
6. I will not allow someone to use me for sex, devalue me sexually, or treat me in a less than manner.
It’s your prerogative to have casual sex but you should only be doing so if it’s what you actually want and are not building up feelings. You cannot work your way up from booty call to girlfriend. Likewise, if your relationship is all about the sex and you want more than this, opt out. Don’t let someone use you as a sexual plaything or degrade you – you must have limits. 7. I will drop guys who manage the bulk of the communication in our relationship by text, email, or instant messenger, like a hot potato.
There is no excuse for this lazy communication and it’s the hallmark of emotionally unavailable people who want to keep themselves distant. It’s not modern relationships and dating – it’s modern booty calls and half hearted interest. It says, I’m not interested enough to actually make a proper effort with you.
8. I will not allow lies to foster my interactions, whether it’s being in denial or listening to bullshit, being fed lies, or getting the truth distorted.
Feet in reality, shed the fur coat of denial and keep yourself on a Bullsh*t Diet. Don’t let anybody dripfeed you the truth, twist it around, or repeatedly lie to you and get caught out. If you accept it, they’ll think they have license to keep lying to you. People who have integrity and respect you don’t lie to you.
9. I will not pursue someone who has either directly or passively rejected me.
Trust me, you know when someone is not interested or is half hearted and using you for what they can get, or has outright turned you down. If they were interested, you wouldn’t still be chasing them!
This means no pursuing them after they have turned you down, been half hearted in their interest, shagged around on you, not bothered to call you, pit you against other women and certainly no chasing someone to convince them that they should be interested in you. You have more self respect than this and you don’t need to be the equivalent of a used car salesman forcing yourself on someone.
10. I will not play Florence Nightingale because it is not my job to fix/heal/help the Walking Wounded, which means no partners with substance dependency/abuse and no partners that have issues that prevent them from healthily engaging in a relationship.
Everyone has issues but there’s baggage and there’s baggage. Let them sort out their own problems and don’t hide behind theirs. Always acknowledge the red flag that is a dependency on something or emotional/behavioural issues that prevent a healthy relationship. If you ignore, you’ll make the ill advised assumption that your feelings cancel out your concerns – they don’t.
11. I will not date an assclown – someone who is unkind/cruel, lacking in empathy, and at best takes advantage and at worst, abuses me.
When someone treats you poorly, it’s not going to get better because you claim to love them but it will get worse if you stick around. Check out my post on red flags as well.
12. I will not make up excuses for other people’s behaviour or make exceptions to my boundaries. My boundaries are non-negotiable!
Do not treat your partners like children even if they act like it. Don’t make it up as you go along either and come up with your own reasons for why you think they behave as they do. That’s projection. Respect your own boundaries, so that either others do, or you recognise when they don’t. But do not make exceptions because you will keep lengthening your yardstick. This guideline also applies to when they ask you to make an exception to your normal rule of behaviour – someone who genuinely has your best interests at heart will not expect or demand that you do something outside of your normal behaviour.