It’s very smart to want to know a list of dating boundaries. Knowing – and setting – your boundaries from the start allows you to lay the foundation for a healthy relationship.
In this article, you will learn more about boundaries especially as they relate to dating. You will also be provided a clear list of dating boundaries at the end of the article.
Understanding Boundaries to Know Your Personal Dating Limits List
When relationships are healthy, they always include boundaries – this includes a dating relationship. Fundamentally, boundaries exist for a sense of respect and safety in relationships.
Boundaries apply to every aspect of your life including your physical health, your emotional wellbeing, your work, and your sexuality. For each type of boundary, there are important things to consider to identify your personal limits.
What are Boundaries in Dating?
There are specific boundary considerations when it comes to dating such as how much time you invest in a new relationship and your expectations around commitment.
Of course, when healthy, your boundaries are flexible. They are not a wall or non-existent. You can make exceptions in this flexibility when it feels right for you. For example, you may need your time respected but if someone you’ve been on a couple dates with needs to push back your meeting time, you can be flexible if that works for you.
Boundaries are Personal
Only you can know what you need or want in a relationship. Therefore, your boundaries are personal to you. Your boundaries are connected to your authentic self. This article will help you brainstorm, and identify, your needs when dating.
Once you are aware of your boundaries, you will want to set them consistently to feel emotionally secure. And only you can identify, when and how to make exceptions based on how you comfortable and secure you feel.
Knowing Your Dating Boundaries
As you read the rest of the article, take your time to consider each prompt to identify your personal needs. Again, these limits can only come from you.
Other people in your life are likely to have different boundaries when dating someone at times. Therefore, to reduce confusion or uncertainty, take your time to listen to yourself. You may journal as needed as well to discover your truth.
Dating Boundaries List Consideration #1: Time
Your most precious resource is your time. Therefore, considering what limits you want to set when you’re first dating someone around your time is important.
While it’s completely natural to be excited about someone when you connect early on in dating, you may want to take your time to feel safe and secure. This can help you not feel prematurely invested in a relationship too.
For example, if you rush to spending all your free time with someone you just met, you will likely feel more devastated if it ends after a couple of months than you would have with greater time boundaries.
Your Time Limits are Personal
Again, only you can decide what boundaries feel best around your time when you’re dating someone. However, you will want to consider what makes you feel safe. Of course, it’s still a risk to get to know someone as it may not work out. But it helps consider what you need to feel protected as you build trust with someone.
For your time boundaries when dating someone, you will want to consider these questions. Also, you can use these questions as journal prompts:
- How much time do you feel comfortable investing in communicating with someone before you meet if you meet on a dating app?
- How much time do you feel comfortable investing in getting to know someone in the beginning to ensure you – and they – have time for other important things like work and friends as you build your relationship?
- Have you ever gone against these boundaries i.e., rushed into a relationship when you knew not to, and it hurt you?
Dating Boundaries List Consideration #2: Privacy and Vulnerability
Boundaries when you are dating and in general, exist for a sense of safety. Another important consideration is around your emotions and personal information.
Part of this process is identifying how, and when, to open up to ensure you are safe and respected. At the same time, developing close relationships does require vulnerability. Finding this balance is important for your emotional and mental wellbeing as well as to establish a healthy relationship.
Boundary Issues Related to Vulnerability
A common sign of porous boundaries related to emotions is getting overly invested in someone you just met. You may find yourself fantasizing about this person is perfect for you and all the details of your life and marriage together. This is understandable yet can risk premature and unnecessary hurt if you go all in when you meet someone new.
It’s also a sign of a porous boundary if you share too much personal information with someone right away. An example of this is telling someone on a first date your trauma history. You can feel acceptance with your history and be proud of who you are while still practicing self-protection. It takes time to build trust with someone. You can’t rush this and early on, someone hasn’t shown themselves to be safe to hold this kind of personal information.
Finally, it’s a sign of walled off boundaries though if you never open up. Healthy intimacy does require increasing vulnerability as you build trust.
Boundaries List Questions Related to Your Wellbeing
For emotional boundaries when dating someone, take some time to journal or consider the following questions:
- Do I ever get super invested in someone early on? How has this worked out for me?
- What boundaries do I need to set if I have a pattern of getting invested early on i.e., limit time with someone, don’t text too much, or stay busy with hobbies to not overly invest?
- If I have a hard time opening up or trusting people, what’s something personal I can work on sharing after a few dates i.e., that I’m interested in them or hoping for a committed relationship?
- Is there anything personal that I need to wait to tell someone until I trust them?
- What are signs that someone is trustworthy?
Dating Boundaries List Consideration #3: Sex
When you are dating someone, it’s important to consider your needs around sexual intimacy as well. You may find that you are primarily seeking a sexual relationship for example. Or you may want to wait for sex until you feel closer or more committed to someone.
The most important thing is to become clear on your true needs and wants regardless of what you think you “should” do here. For example, maybe you were raised religious, but you want to have a sexual relationship now – you have this right! Or maybe you aren’t interesting in rushing into sex even if others you know are.
Identifying Your Sexual Limits
When it comes to your sexual health, and emotional wellbeing, here are some considerations to identify your boundaries:
- Am I comfortable having sex with someone I just met? If so, do I need to talk to them about things such as using condoms?
- What’s my relationship with casual sex? Do I want a casual fling?
- What are my needs when it comes to protection and birth control?
- What do I need to discuss with someone related to our sexual health before having sex?
What to Do about Sexual Pressure
While it’s often not discussed, sexual pressure is very common in dating and committed relationships. If you are experiencing any sexual pressure, please know you have the right to your boundaries! Your limits are not the problem. Rather the key issue is a lack of respect by your dating partner.
Someone shows you they are trustworthy if they respect your boundaries. Otherwise, this is a sign you may not be compatible long-term when you are dating.
For more support, please read: What to Do if Your Boyfriend Pressures You Sexually
Dating Boundaries List Consideration #4: Your Personal Needs
Other boundaries you will need to set when dating someone are related to your personal needs in a relationship.
Fundamentally, you will want to ask yourself what am I looking for by dating? Maybe you just want companionship, or maybe you want to get married, or just have a committed relationship. Whatever is your authentic reason for dating, you will honor this and communicate this when you feel ready. Finally, if/when you discover the other person is looking for something very different, it’s important to respect yourself and your dating partner by moving on.
It’s a boundary violation to try to convince others to want the same things we do. There are dating partners out there who are compatible with what you want and others who are not. You save yourself a lot of time and heartache by respecting the difference.
What Do You Need and Want?
To date in a mentally healthy way, you will need boundaries around what you need and want. You will want to consider or journal about the following prompts:
- What are my non-negotiables in a dating partner? For more information on this, please read How to Make Dating Easier: A 5-Step Guide to Dating Success,
- What are things I can be flexible on i.e., how tall someone is or if they are funny? (Remember these are personal to you)
- Have I ever denied what I needed in a relationship such as commitment? If so, what was the consequence of denying my needs?
- What are the positive outcomes of being honest about my needs – and walking away if needed – with a dating partner?
You Have a Right to Your Dating Boundaries
When you are dating and meet someone you really like, there’s a natural urge sometimes to forget all about your boundaries to make them happy. If this arises, please honor that it’s understandable you may fall into people pleaser habits to build a relationship with someone.
At the same time, please keep in mind that if you deny your needs and boundaries to make someone happy, this relationship can never be truly healthy or happy. To have a secure relationship with someone, you must both feel safe and respected. Your boundaries ensure that this is possible for you.
Finally, if you are dating someone and you find they try to change your mind or violate your boundaries, please know this is a sign that they are not an emotionally safe person. When someone shows themselves to be unsafe or manipulative please know this is not your fault – and you have the right to a relationship with someone respectful.
Simple Dating Boundaries List
In this article, you have learned about your dating boundaries to create a list that’s clear for you. All the questions in this article, you can use as journal prompts.
These boundaries to consider when dating someone include your:
- Time limits,
- Your needs around disclosing your emotions and personal information,
- Sexual limits, and
- Honoring the genuine reasons you are dating
Boundaries Require Practice
Please bookmark and come back to this article as you need. Sometimes we need a refresher on our limits when they feel shaky.
Other times, our boundaries change over time. For example, these boundaries will likely change as you begin to get more serious in a relationship. Finally, if you want extra support identifying and setting healthy boundaries, even as they change, you can practice with 100 different activities in my book Setting Boundaries: 100 Ways to Protect Yourself, Strengthen Your Relationships and Build the Life You Want…Starting Now! (Therapy Within Reach).
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About The Author
Krystal Mazzola Wood, LMFT is a practicing relationship therapist and author with over a decade of experience. Currently, Krystal sees clients at her private practice, The Healthy Relationship Foundation. She has dedicated her entire career to empowering people to find their voice, deepen their ability to self-love, and improve their relationships.
Her newest book, Setting Boundaries: 100 Ways to Protect Yourself, Strengthen Your Relationships and Build the Life You Want…Starting Now! (Therapy Within Reach), gives you the tools necessary to identify, set, and stay firm with your boundaries.
Her other books, The Codependency Recovery Plan: A 5-Step Guide to Understand, Accept, and Break Free from the Codependent Cycle and The Codependency Workbook: Simple Practices for Developing and Maintaining Your Independence have helped many overcome people pleasing, self-neglect, and resentment to have a healthier relationship with themselves and others.
If you have any personal dating or relationship questions, Krystal is happy to provide advice using her expertise and compassion. If you feel comfortable, feel free to leave any questions in the comments of this post. Otherwise, you may send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or DM her on Instagram. Your name and any other identifying information will always be kept confidential.