What Are Good Boundaries to Set Before You Start to Date?

Clear, assertive communication is essential to setting healthy personal boundaries.
... Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images

Healthy boundaries help you preserve your identity by protecting and differentiating yourself from others. They can be physical, emotional, sexual and even spiritual. You can identify them by paying close attention to attitudes and behaviors that bring joy and comfort -- or make you uncomfortable, according to Psychology Today. Being aware of your personal boundaries allows you to effectively enforce them.

1 Topics of Discussion

Consider topics, ideas and opinions you would be willing to discuss with a dating partner. For instance, you may not be interested in disclosing personal information such as your salary, history of trauma or your estrangement from your siblings. You may opt to refrain from indulging in the controversial issues of religion and politics. These are delicate matters you can address should the relationship become more serious, but could create tension on a casual date. If an off-limits topic does arise, you can politely assert your boundary by saying, "I'd rather not discuss that," or "I prefer not to have this conversation."

2 Physical Boundaries

In her article on personal boundaries for PsychCentral, therapist Darlene Lancer highlights the importance of implementing physical limits. Planning how physically intimate you intend to be with someone prior to a date can prevent spontaneous decision-making you may regret later. You may be at ease with hugging and hand-holding, for instance, but decline further physical contact. You may reserve the decision to consent to sex based on how well you connect with your date. But you might decide prior to the date that you will not spend the entire night with him or her.

3 Emotional and Psychological Boundaries

Emotional and psychological boundaries separate your thoughts, desires and worries from those of others, according to Lancer. They can prevent you from giving or receiving unsolicited advice and feeling the need to rescue others from their problems. They also remind you to take responsibility for your own emotional fulfillment. Boundaries are relevant when your principle values and beliefs are threatened or offended. You can opt not to tolerate racist, sexist or otherwise discriminatory remarks. You also have the right to enforce these boundaries if your date treats you in a condescending manner, criticizing your musical preferences or career choice.

4 Logistical Boundaries

Make careful logistical arrangements if going on a date with someone you hardly know or recently met. You might decide not to allow your date to pick you up at your home. Driving your own vehicle also allows you to depart when you wish without depending on your date for transportation. You may agree to only spend time at well-lit public places -- and not isolated locations where you feel vulnerable, such as a beach or private residence.

Jill Avery-Stoss is a graduate of Penn State University and a writer and editor based in northeast Pennsylvania. Having spent more than a decade working with victims of sexual and domestic violence, she specializes in writing about women's issues, with emphasis on families and relationships.