(3) Knowing, setting and holding healthy boundaries where you didn’t before
EXAMPLE: When I was in my mid 20s I was dating someone I really liked. We had been going on dates, meeting each other’s friends and had already been physical with each other for about 2 months. I knew what I wanted after the first month (exclusivity) but I tried to ignore it, put it off as long as possible and also tried to dance around it. Why? It’s because I thought at best expressing myself and asking for this boundary in our developing relationship could make me feel vulnerable, exposed and awkward and at worst confront me with the truth that the person I want to move forward with doesn’t want to move forward with me. I hated both of those scenarios. So I stayed in this ambiguous thing for a long time and eventually he told me he’d found someone else he wanted to pursue a relationship with. I was heartbroken and so angry.
HEALING: The first layer of processing this kind of situation brings anger to the surface at the other person. Thoughts like, "How could they string me along for this long?!" This initial layer is where many of us stop and over time the sting wears off and we feel ready to try again only to find ourselves back in the same painful scenarios. The next layer of processing allows for deep healing of your relationship with your boundaries. In this layer you recognize where you didn't know, set or hold a boundary you needed in the relationship. You COMMIT TO NOT LETTING THAT HAPPEN AGAIN and if you slip you lovingly recommit to yourself again.
In this act of self-love and taking responsibility you are essentially committing to not breaking your own heart again.
LESSON: Dating and relationships can put you face to face with your relationship with your own boundaries. Take time to get to know what you need and what boundaries to put in place. The stronger your boundaries are the better your love life will be.