If you are anything like me, you have probably heard about and or had your share of dating nightmares! It is ironic that we justify, make excuses for and gloss over bad behavior from a date when we would not accept the same treatment from someone else, yet this is the person we hope to spend our lives with. I developed healthy self-esteem, learned to trust my gut feelings and establish and enforce personal boundaries only after I was raped on a date and years later, entered into a domestic violence relationship. Read on if you would like to be safer than I was and avoid dating nightmares! Here are my top three tips for women who are dating:
- Healthy Self-Esteem
- Trust Your Gut Feelings
- Personal Boundaries
Part 3 – Personal Boundaries
Establishing and enforcing personal boundaries entails determining what is acceptable and unacceptable to you and standing your ground when your boundaries are threatened. When you hear someone say, “She got in my space,” or “He crossed the line,” the space is their personal space and the line is their boundary line.
Funny enough, if you ask the person who made the above statements, it is doubtful they would know anything about personal boundaries but rather spoke from a feeling they got.
Dating and Personal Boundaries
We would not ordinarily allow the things we do when we are dating. We seem so focused on making the pieces fit that we ignore the fact that they may be pieces to two different puzzles. Since we teach people how to treat us, if your date speaks to you disrespectfully or makes jokes at your expense and you don’t stop him, you just told him it’s okay. You have just welcomed verbal, mental, emotional abuse and a disrespectful relationship. If, however, you let him know the first time he does it that it is unacceptable to you, he will either leave or change his behavior and have more respect for you. Which would you prefer? If you prefer peace of mind, respect and better guys to date, read on.
Establishing Personal Boundaries
Picture yourself inside a giant bagel (or donut if you prefer). Visualize a line 18-24 inches from your body all the way around you. This is the outside of your bagel and the proverbial line in “He crossed the line.” See the space between you and the outside line of the bagel? This is your personal space or the proverbial space as in “She got in my space.”
You get to protect and control your personal space. You decide what is acceptable to you (between you and the line) and what is unacceptable to you (outside the line). Examples of acceptable dating things might be respectful communication, men who have a lot of friends, non-smokers and healthy activity dates. Unacceptable things might be disrespectful communication, men who bad-mouth their exes, smokers and bar dates.
Congrats! Now you have begun to establish your personal boundaries. Continue and include people, places and situations. Do this with a clear, unemotional head. Use your gut feelings.
Enforcement of Personal Boundaries
Decide what you will do when an unacceptable person or situation nears your boundary line and personal space. Will you remove yourself from the situation, say something in a non-emotional way or respond physically either to protect or defend your space? Determine how you will handle the unacceptables before something happens. That way, if you are in an emotional moment, you can think back to what you decided (with a clear, unemotional head) to do and follow through.
Can you see the tremendous value in establishing and enforcing personal boundaries? Children, teens and adults need to begin immediately. Combining personal boundaries and trusting gut feelings can make you and your loved ones up to 95% safer from creeps and criminals.
As “Your Personal Safety Trainer,” one of my top three tips for women who are dating to avoid dating nightmares is to establish and enforce personal boundaries.