When I was in my twenties, I thought of myself as a strong, independent young woman who expected respect from men – and got it. However, when I was crazy about a guy, that changed a little. I found myself saying yes to things I normally wouldn’t say yes to so I could keep his attention or interest. It was more than just compromising. For example, to avoid unpleasant conversation I rarely disagreed, I went to restaurants I didn’t enjoy, listened to music that got on my nerves and I allowed the sexual advances to advance more quickly than I was comfortable with. I relaxed my personal boundaries because I was afraid of losing him. (Fear is one powerful emotion.) Well guess what? I lost him anyway. And rightly so.
On the flip side, there were men who had no sense of personal boundaries who crashed and burned with me. One guy gave me a $600 purse on the second date just because it happened to be Christmas time; and he wasn’t rolling in dough either. In fact, he valued being frugal and saving his money so his gift made no sense to me. Although I wasn’t that into him, he was way into me. The less available I was, the more he showered me with gifts. He even said, “This is not the norm for me.” His fear of letting me slip through his fingers caused him to forget all boundaries. And guess what? I slipped anyway.
Personal boundaries are the lines we draw in the sand to protect ourselves physically, mentally and emotionally from the behavior of others. Failing to set healthy personal boundaries is a direct result of fear. Fear we won’t be good enough or won’t be loved or accepted as we are. It shows up in several ways. Have you ever done any of these?
• Not communicating your emotional needs in your relationships.
• Saying no when you mean yes or yes when you mean no.
• Going against your personal values to please others.
• Adopting another person’s beliefs or ideas so you are accepted.
• Giving, giving and giving just to be accepted or perceived as valued.
• Letting others define you or believing their opinion of you over your own.
• Feeling bad or guilty when you say no, despite having good reason.
• Not speaking up when you are treated poorly.
• Not sharing your opinion to avoid making someone mad.
• Allowing yourself to be interrupted or distracted to accommodate someone else’s wants or needs.
• Falling "in love" with someone you barely know or who reaches out to you.
• Accepting advances, touching and sex that you don't want or aren’t ready for yet.
• Touching a person without asking.
• Invading someone’s personal space repeatedly.
• Blowing up someone’s phone with texts and calls after the first date.
• Becoming overly involved in someone’s problems or difficulties.
Okay, maybe you haven’t done any of these – at least not that you are aware of. Maybe you set very rigid personal boundaries that keep people at arm’s length. That could be just as detrimental to building good relationships.
No matter what your challenge with boundaries, join us for a discussion on how to become better at setting healthy ones. Please remember to check the website often to confirm if you are on the attending or wait list – and especially check the day before the event. Meetup is inconsistent in notifying people they have been moved to attending so it is up to you to stay in the know. Please respect the Late Cancel/No Show policy which is to update your RSVP no less than 6 hours before the event if you can’t attend – even if you are on the wait list.