Sex and Relationships

It’s Not You, It’s Me: Setting Personal Boundaries

Stay True to You With Relationship Rules- For Yourself

By: Lauren Silverman

Regret is common in relationships between people with a low sense of self.
(Credit: theodysseyonline.com)

Entering a new relationship means journeying into unfamiliar territory, sending our hearts and brains into overdrive. Our hearts tell us how we are feeling and encourage us to act on instinct, whereas our brains try to analyze and plan every situation. This could become tricky when the two are at odds.

All healthy relationships include boundaries. Ideally, both people respect the other’s limits and rely on consent to ensure comfort and security.

However, it is equally important to set personal boundaries for yourself. By respecting both your heart and your brain, you will feel confident in your relationship, whether or not it is your first.

So what are personal boundaries?

They are the limitations you set for yourself about your partner, depending on how comfortable you feel. When you set boundaries for yourself, you are setting personal reminders of what feels safe and what does not.

It goes beyond sexual consent and can include something as small as holding hands or walking together at night.

Most importantly, they involve only one person: you.

Your boundaries are a tricky balance between emotion and logic and they could change quite often. You must decide what you are comfortable doing in a relationship while avoiding over-analyzing and undermining these situations.

If you let emotions dominate this process, you might push yourself into an uncomfortable situation.

For example, if you are about to have your first kiss, several emotional factors might override your brain’s warnings that you do not feel ready. You might be excited because you like the other person, or you could feel pressured by societal standards that expect some relationship “firsts” much earlier than college.

This could cause a variety of results. You might feel insecure or regretful because you did not respect your own wishes and in turn, forced yourself into an uncomfortable situation. If you push yourself too far out of your comfort zone, you may feel violated and unsafe.

It is important to challenge ourselves and strive beyond the safe haven of our comfort zones, but this is not always the case with relationships. It is much better to ease yourself into situations until you feel completely secure and ready for the next steps.

However, giving your brain complete control can also have disastrous results.

Logic is an essential tool for functioning, especially when considering the tough problems you might face in a relationship. However if it completely blocks out emotions, you would be planning and analyzing too much to act at all.

Overthinkers, especially people with high levels of anxiety, tend to have this problem. A new relationship can be frightening, especially if it is your first, but if you spend too much time thinking of every possible situation and outcome, you will likely be too nervous to contribute to a healthy partnership.

While safety and comfort are essential, it is also important to remind yourself that you are human.

Emotions are telling. If you enjoy someone’s company but are too nervous to date them because you are afraid of the potential outcomes, you must take a step back and get in touch with your feelings.

You like this person for a reason- don’t let logic ruin a wonderful opportunity.

It’s difficult to determine what is safe for you. After all, you might want to try something first before deciding how it makes you feel.

The best way to set personal boundaries is to judge your past experiences, if any, and build upon your feelings from those moments. If you are still waiting for your relationship firsts, then you must remember not to rush yourself.

Consent is vital in any relationship. Partners must communicate with each other to understand personal limitations. The importance of consent carries over into your sense of self. In order to prepare for the unknown, you must trust yourself to know what you feel ready for.

When you respect your well-being, your confidence will soar, and you will be prepared for a fulfilling relationship.

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