The key to dating with dignity has everything to do with setting boundaries in relationships.
You’ll not only have to set the boundaries, but you’ll also need to stick to them–which can be the hard part.
We tell clients all the time, “It’s all fun and games when we’re talking about theory, a new idea, or an ah-ha moment. But it’s somewhat meaningless until you put your new behaviors into action!”
At Dating with Dignity, we have three “must keep” boundaries that should definitely be present in your romantic relationships. If you can set appropriate boundaries, you’ll be on your way to a successful and happy relationship and one where you can be yourself.
1. I do not drop my life for anyone.
We call this going on “Boyfriend Hiatus!” For example, when you’re dating someone you like (especially when it’s new), you find yourself on a Friday afternoon contemplating movie plans with friends on Saturday because you’re waiting for your man to ask you out for the weekend.
If you find yourself changing around your life to accommodate him, things are going to end badly in the long run. To begin, you aren’t “teaching” your man to make plans in advance. (Which, admit it: you prefer that, especially if you’re what we call a “Planner Girl.”) Second, it’s not fair to your friends. And finally, the ultimate result of a long-term Boyfriend Hiatus is that if the relationship doesn’t work out, you may find yourself deserted on “Friendless Island” as a result of ignoring your relationships for far too long. And that is simply disastrous.
Make sure you don’t neglect the life you have! Not only will it ensure men respect you and meet your needs, but it will ensure you always feel complete from the inside out. Remember, “you complete me” needs to stay on the big screen where it belongs.
2. Say what you mean, not what you think they want to hear.
As humans, we’ve all probably been guilty of this at least once or twice. You know: the flippant “Yes that outfit looks great on you!” when it doesn’t really. When you’re dating a relationship-ready man and feel like you ALWAYS meet at his house, sleep at his house, drive to his house, etc., but would love it if you two could spend the weekend at your place once in awhile, it’s time to speak your truth. If you find yourself doing the “fake smile” while telling him you love always sleeping at his house, you’re doing a disservice to the relationship.
Remember, the “Cool Girl Mentality” is not a long-term approach. If you choose this option consistently, you’ll feel unsatisfied and resentful without giving him a chance to hear you out. Maybe he thinks you prefer his place to yours because you haven’t taken the time to communicate what you really feel.
Don’t avoid the “Bullseye Conversation.” Instead, learn how to have it in a powerful but feminine way to make sure that you are being authentic. We know it’s counter-intuitive, but men love a woman who’s not afraid to gently speak her mind.
3. Remember the boundaries that you set are yours.
Sometimes as a relationship evolves, you may find you need to re-evaluate your boundaries. Perhaps at the start of the relationship you had something you would say no to, and now you’ve come to a place where you’re ready to say yes. It could even be something as simple as having a talk about where you are in the relationship. Maybe you thought you wanted to simply see where it was going, and you’ve arrived at a place where you’re now ready to feel out where he is (and if that matches where you are).
Boundaries are flexible, and it’s important to always be in choice about what you need and want. When you feel uncertain, take 30 seconds to check in with that intuitive, wise self inside. Most often she knows what you want and need; it’s your responsibility to respond appropriately.
You don’t have to be abrasive to set boundaries. In fact, it’s actually possible to communicate your needs in a way that’s sexy, feminine, and will ultimately make you more attractive to the right man. Click here to get proven dating scripts that will guide you towards better communication, better boundaries, and more fulfilling relationships.
Marni Battista, founder of Dating with Dignity, has professional training in dating and relationship coaching as well as training in the Core Energy Coaching Process from the Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching (IPEC). A certified Life Coach through the International Coaching Federation, Battista is also a Master Practitioner at administering an Energy Assessment—“The D-Factor”—which helps clients pinpoint exactly why they are or are not "date-able" and what types of messages they unconsciously broadcast to men based on their thoughts, feelings, actions and attitudes.