How To Set Appropriate Boundaries

By

How To Set Appropriate Boundaries
Once you identify your non-negotiables, you have to be willing to set--and stick to--your boundaries

3. We are ready to let people feel awkward by reminding them they didn’t pay back money they borrowed instead of us feeling awkward when we didn’t do anything wrong. (Thank you, Melody Beattie, for this one; it’s AWESOME!) I can’t tell you how often I hear women who are afraid to ask men, family members or friends to be paid back what they are owed or promised. Mostly they are afraid to hurt the borrower’s feelings or make the person feel bad. This is a critical boundary you must set and extends past money into clothes, CDs or whatever else you have lent people in your life.

4. We are done letting someone drive us nuts. When you are truly sick of receiving "I need/want you" texts or phone calls at 1 a.m.; tired of complaining that the man you are dating won’t pick up the phone to touch base; or exhausted from continuing to keep men in the queue who flake and don’t call or show up when they said they will; it is time to set a boundary. In the work I do with clients, I often hear them expressing this feeling of being driven completely crazy by the behavior they're tolerating from men in their lives--even men with whom they have not even yet had a first or second date. Yet often they put up with it because they don’t know how to set this critical boundary. The truth is this: simply tell them it is not tolerable and that you aren’t a match because you clearly have different values. Ultimately, you must decide how much nuts you are willing to tolerate. If you want to be treated with respect and keep your dignity intact, stop the nutzos from orbiting in your world by setting clear boundaries.

5. We don’t drop our life--what we are doing--or our plans for him. How often have you kept putting off making plans, waiting to see what will shake out for the weekend? Did you wait until Thursday night? Friday morning? Or maybe even Friday at 6 p.m.? Did you cancel plans with your aunt or best friend for Saturday night when Mr. Right Now called at 4 p.m. to "hang out"? Setting boundaries regarding your availability is crucial to beginning to command respect from men. If you stop what you're doing to accommodate his needs or schedule, you're playing with emotional fire. Ensure that you are clear and able to use the word "no" when asked to be picked up at the airport when he hasn’t yet taken you out to coffee, or when he swears he will "never do this again." He will do it again, because you choose to let him.

In short, remember that setting boundaries is critical to learning how to date with dignity to get the results we want: a healthy, fulfilling, FUN relationship. What boundaries are not are empty threats made in anger, words we leak in an attempt to manipulate, or a last-ditch and blatant attempts to exert a power play over someone with whom we are in relationship.

Ask The Experts

Have a dating or relationship question?
Visit Ask YourTango and let our experts and community answer.

FROM AROUND THE WEB