Before we dive into the types of boundaries that might be helpful for single women, particularly while navigating the dating scene, let’s cover a few basics about what boundaries are:
What is a Boundary?
Boundaries are personal rules that define what is acceptable to you. They aren’t about controlling others, but about caring for oneself. When healthy, they foster mutual benefits even if others don’t always agree. Boundaries are foundational to thriving relationships.
Knowing and Communicating Boundaries
You don’t have to communicate every boundary to everyone. They can serve as a personal guide to when to say no or distance yourself from others. They’re effective when you understand your values and live by them, and when needed, communicate them clearly.
A crucial part of boundary-setting is what action you take when your boundaries are ignored. It’s not just about stating your boundaries but about dealing with transgressions.
Types of Boundaries
Boundaries can extend to different aspects of your life such as your time, resources, physical space, mental and emotional well-being, and more. They serve to honor and support your overall good.
Handling Boundary Pushbacks
If your boundaries are met with resistance, that’s the other person’s issue, not yours. It’s important to observe how you feel when your boundaries are challenged. If you find yourself questioning your worth or feeling uncomfortable, remember that boundaries are there for a reason. Those worth having in your life will respect your choices.
Now that we understand the basics, let’s explore three boundary-setting practices specifically beneficial for single women navigating the dating scene.
3 Boundaries to Support Single Women
1. Physical Boundaries – Your Body is Sacred
You are precious, in every way. Your soul, your personality, your strengths, your weaknesses, your mind, your creativity, your intelligence, your heart, and… your body.
The physical aspect of who you are is sacred. And you, and you alone, get to choose what your physical boundaries are.
Whatever boundaries you set for your physical body need to align to your values in a way that supports and uplifts your self worth, self confidence and self esteem.
It’s important for you to know, for your sole benefit, what your boundaries are when it comes to a) your body and other people, b) your body when first meeting/dating people, and c) your body and intimacy when dating someone in a situation that isn’t yet a committed relationship.
So as you navigate your daily life as a single woman, particularly in any scenario where you’re dating, go into each day knowing what you will and won’t accept in terms of how other people treat you physically, what feels right for you and where you would draw the line at behavior being “not acceptable”.
Remember – anyone worthy of you, anyone you would want to have in your life, will see your boundary or hear you express your boundary, and will honor you for it. Anyone who doesn’t “get it” can keep on moving!
2. Time Boundaries – Your Time is Valuable
A key boundary in life, to respect ourselves and other people, is how we value time. Let’s look at time related boundaries and how these might serve you as a single woman:
- No one wants to be kept waiting. If you agree to meet someone (e.g for a date), and they keep you waiting, it’s not a great sign. There may well be instances where someone being late is unavoidable, but repeated instances of someone forgetting to be on time, not being organized enough to be on time, or simply just not caring and not even realizing they aren’t on time… that calls for boundary setting and clear communication.
- Not replying to messages and leaving you waiting. Time is valuable and respect for self and others includes replying to messages in a timely way. This allows people the space to plan their time, days, lives and to know where they stand. If someone doesn’t reply to your messages, and doesn’t communicate in a reasonable way, leaving you unsure where you stand, or in a difficult position unable to make plans, that isn’t ideal. You deserve to have clarity.
- Endless dating, no commitment, and no intention or communication. If you’ve been dating someone for a while, and you want to progress the relationship, but someone isn’t showing or communicating their intention and doesn’t appear to be valuing you in their life or valuing your precious time and life, then it may be time to set a boundary.
3. Emotional Boundaries – Your Emotions are Not to be Messed With
It doesn’t matter what stage of life you’re at, whether you’re single or not, every person deserves to be treated with dignity and respect as a human being. People who do not treat you with foundational respect, don’t deserve to be in your space.
Dating is not a game. Real emotions are involved. Real people, with real hearts, with desire for love, joy and connection.
It’s important to know what you will and won’t accept when it comes to how people treat you (dating or otherwise), speak to you, what words they use and what you won’t put up with.
The more you understand yourself and your core needs, particularly as a single person dating, the more you’ll know what your emotional boundaries need to be, and what you won’t accept.
This will make it easier to clearly identify people that are not values-aligned for you, and equally easy to identify the ones who are.