How Do You Set Boundaries In New Relationships? 8 Women Reveal How They Do It
If you've ever watched a Brené Brown video, you may already know how to set boundaries in new relationships. If you haven't seen the Texas queen take the stage, please stop everything you're doing and prepare to have your mind blown. I promise you'll thank me later. From, "Don't touch my butt during sex" to "No bringing up my mother when we're fighting," relationship boundaries can look like hard rules, soft guidelines, or anything in between. And while boundaries can ensure comfort and well-being, they can be hard to establish, especially when someone new comes into play.
If the chemistry is hot and the dates are fun, it can sometimes feel a bit formal or "not chill" to also establish some healthy structure with a new boo. It's true, setting boundaries in a new relationship isn't always easy. Yet, setting healthy boundaries in a relationship is exactly that — healthy. And while prioritizing each other's comfort and well-being may take some big adult conversations, having boundaries ultimately can make for hotter sex and more enjoyable dates.
I asked eight women how they set healthy boundaries in new relationships and what they say is sage, strong, and totally helpful.
1. You Get To Choose
"I heard a quote once, 'Boundaries are about power over your own decisions, rules are about power over other people’s decisions' and I think about it all the time. When it comes to dating someone new, it's hard to remember that I get a say or I get to choose, I get to make decisions. It's not just about the other person, or making the other person happy, or meeting their needs. Boundaries to me are putting myself first and remembering I get to do that."
— Myka, 30
2. State Your Needs As They Come
"I try to state my needs as they occur to me, rather than holding them all in, or eventually resenting the new person for not knowing or not asking or not checking in enough."
— PJ, 26
3. They Have Boundaries, Too
"I personally try to be a good and honest communicator. If you you need more or less of something just say it as it comes up, but be willing to adjust your own behavior to accommodate their boundaries as well."
— Jenny, 23
4. Be Specific
"Communicate expectations early on. What you like and don’t like, especially when it comes to sex. Be specific basically, don't leave anything to choice or imagination."
— Ameerah, 24
5. Be Upfront
"Try not to start off with a monologue of 'Do's and Dont's' because that can be intimidating. Just be up front if something makes you uncomfortable or communicate your preferences. The more open you are, the more likely you are to get what you’re looking for.... or not."
— Sara, 34
6. Lie And Say Your Busy
"When I find that I'm always accommodating to their schedule, or that whenever they want to hangout I'll drop everything to do it, even if they will cancel or reschedule on me, I tell myself to lie and say I'm busy. Even if 'busy' is shopping for groceries or writing a poem to yourself. My habit is to drop everything and work around someone else's schedule, and I want to stop doing that so easily."
— Molly, 25*
7. Know Your Limits
"Know what you are never, ever willing to compromise. Know what words or things you will not stand for. Have a place where you will not let anyone go, or not let anyone make you feel."
— Mary, 26
8. Be Unapologetic
Remember you are not needy or whiney or asking too much for taking the space you need or advocating for the things you need to feel supported.
— Kylie, 27*
Establishing boundaries with a new person can take time, but being honest about your feelings and unapologetic about your needs can feel super empowering. You are an amazing queen, and you deserve to feel strong and supported in every relationship, and that's a boundary that is non-negotiable.
*Names have been changed