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Emotional Boundaries When it Comes to Dating

Madissyn Fredericks, Licensed Professional Counselor, Symmetry Counseling

We all have our personal boundaries when it comes to dating; however, there are times when our boundaries can get in the way of making the connection we desire. Ideally, our boundaries should be flexible, yet firm. They should not be so rigid that emotional intimacy is prevented, but they shouldn’t be so loose that you risk getting hurt. When you are dating, you want to pace the rate at which you disclose information about yourself in a manner that fosters trust and safety. There are so many different layers to you, so share them at a rate that feels comfortable, yet safe. When a relationship gets too deep too soon, it makes you more vulnerable to emotional upset and heartbreak. Below are a few tips to help you maintain healthy boundaries when it comes to sharing and opening up as you date.

Assess Your Boundaries

Take some time before going on dates to think about what your boundaries might be. Write them down and continue to assess how well you are sticking to them or what needs to change. We have all been through emotional relationships and experiences so it is important to reflect on these and consider when you are sharing these things in new relationships. Maybe you need to take a little more time to open up then you have in the past or maybe you feel you are too closed off and need to share more. Simply taking time to think through these boundaries and experiences will help you be mindful of what is best for you as you date.

Conversations for First Dates

Maintaining boundaries when it comes to first date conversations can be easy for some people and difficult for others. When you feel a strong connection with someone, it can be easy to let your guard down and open up too quickly. To be on the safe side, try to keep the first several dates light and refrain from topics such as relationship history, politics, religion, family issues, etc. Some good first date topics include conversations about hobbies, interests, travel, goals, jokes, etc. The first few dates are intended to be a time to get to know each other and have a good time!

Pace Yourself

Pace yourself physically and emotionally to ensure you are building trust and not moving too fast. Some things you can do to pace yourself physically include ending the date at an appropriate time, maintaining time with friends, and getting physical with someone when you are ready. In terms of pacing yourself emotionally, it is important to make sure you are sharing when you feel safe and comfortable, and assessing that the personal sharing is mutual. Ask yourself “Is the other person sharing personal stories and information as well?”. Make sure you pace yourself and build trust as you become emotionally intimate with someone.

If you are finding it difficult to stick to create and stick to your boundaries and would like some support, it may be useful to connect with a therapist. Contact Symmetry Counseling at 312-578-9990 to set up an appointment with one of our very skilled therapists today!

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