You need some boundaries, girl. Here's how to set them
When I was 29, I was madly infatuated with a man I met at the gym. We connected instantly.
He was charismatic, exciting and free-spirited. Our chemistry was off the charts.
I naively believed his words and blindly went along with whatever he wanted.
You can imagine that it didn't turn out very well.
What happens when we don’t set boundaries:
It never occurred for me to set boundaries because I wanted him to think I was cool and easy-going. But by not setting boundaries, I…
Ultimately, I had pursued a “never meant to be” relationship that left me feeling ashamed of who I'd become.
If you’re like I was, you may be going along with what a man wants because you want him to like you, and perceive you a certain way, like as the "cool girl".
But when you don’t set and enforce boundaries, your needs won’t be met, you’ll be taken advantage of, feel bad about yourself, and lose your self-worth.
Having healthy boundaries increases the likelihood for a healthy relationship.
So if you tend to do whatever a man wants and aren’t getting your needs met, it’s time to determine and enforce your boundaries.
Three ways to establish your boundaries:
1. Determine how you want to be treated, and only accept the treatment you desire.
For instance, if you want to be treated with respect, only date guys who treat you respectfully.
If you want to feel cherished, let your man do things for you that make you feel cherished.
Never settle for less than how you want to be treated.
2. Identify and stick to your needs.
It’s essential to know what you need from a man and in your relationship so that you don’t neglect what’s important to you, or default to saying “yes” all of the time and “whatever you want”.
You’ll want to determine and stick to what you need.
Let’s say you have a need to feel connected with your man. Let him know that, for instance, connection means talking on the phone (and not just texting) in between the times you see each other.
(A need is something you must have. It’s different from a want, which is more like something you wish for.)
3. Turn unhealthy patterns around.
Identify the patterns that continue to keep you from what you most want.
For instance, let’s say you tend to sleep with guys too soon, yet you’ve always wanted a lasting relationship.
You’ve realized that having sex early on has resulted in short-term connections.
A boundary you can set to keep this from happening is to wait until you both get to know each other on multiple levels (e.g. mentally, emotionally, spiritually, etc.) and only have sex when you feel a meaningful connection.
This may mean dating for 2-3 months where you are seeing each other consistently and communicating in between dates.
When you love with boundaries, you won’t sacrifice your integrity. You’ll increase your self-esteem and self-worth, and feel great about yourself.
How to enforce your boundaries without becoming too controlling:
Establishing your boundaries is just one part of the equation. The other part is enforcing them.
If you’re not used to speaking up and expressing your needs, enforcing your boundaries may at first make you feel like you are being controlling.
Men who are used to being with women who go along with whatever, the so-called "cool girls", they may perceive your healthy boundaries as being too controlling.
But the truth, is it’s all in the way you express yourself.
For instance, let’s say you have a need to feel connected with your man.
If you say to him, “You have to call me every day,” it will feel like a command and most men don’t like being told what to do.
You’ll come across as demanding and controlling. And his natural tendency will be to resist doing what he’s been told to do.
So here’s how you can express that same need in a way that doesn’t make you controlling:
You can say something like, “I really value connecting in between the times we see each other because it makes me feel closer to you. I just wanted you to know when you call me, it makes me happy to hear your voice.”
A good man who likes you will want to make you happy, and will pick up on what you’re saying and call you more.
As you honor your boundaries, your love life will shift towards what you desire.
Guys who are wrong for you will fall by the wayside and more of the right men will show up.
The struggles you once faced will diminish and you’ll experience your journey to love with more ease. In the process, you’ll learn what you’re made of and grow into your best self.
So ask yourself this: What boundaries will you start to enforce?