Updated: Feb 25, 2021
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We all want to have a fun and safe relationship with or dating someone. Right? It’s not easy to figure out what a relationship should look like. Personality, values, and beliefs are different for each individual. How can we set boundaries and make sure there is consent for both partners?
Before I start, I want to remind you that being in a relationship with someone is real. It’s important to know boundaries at your age. People often think unhealthy relationships don’t happen to teenagers. That’s not true. I want you to know how you can identify boundaries with a partner.
Serious relationship? Causal? Short-term? Long-term? Long-distance?
Is it necessary to set boundaries in any relationship? Yes! I will explain that would help you and your partner comfortable communicating your needs and develop boundaries without fear of what another person will do in response. It allows you and your partner to know how far you or your partner want to go in the relationship.
You can set boundaries for three systems, which are emotional, physical, and digital.
For emotional boundaries, it’s complex because an individual carries a lot of feelings that can come out differently from their partner. This is challenging to figure out our feelings with someone because verbal expressions of love can happen at different times. For example, if your partner says “I love you” and you are not ready to say it.
Next, physical boundaries can be used to ensure a relationship is healthy and safe. It reflects how ready you feel personally on every level. It’s important to make sure that you are 100% ready for sex and physical touch. Remember sex isn’t a currency.
Your body. Your decision.
Lastly, digital boundaries are important in a relationship too. Almost everyone has a phone and social media. It’s hard to have a private space, right? Have you and your partner discussed electronics and social media? How often? If you never have, I encourage you to talk with your partner about that. You never know if your phone and electronic equipment are being monitored. It’s a way to access your information and monitor your movements.
Is it a bad thing to feel different feelings or to be on a different page from your partner? No, it’s not. That’s normal. What to do? Tell them honestly how you feel. You always have the right to say no to something that doesn’t feel right. It’s not ok if your partner doesn't compromise or respect your decision and feelings. You don’t owe your partner anything. You could say “I’m glad to know how you feel. Thank you for trusting me. I feel I’m not ready. I need some time to think about it.” Your partner should respect your boundaries that you ask for time and space. You need to be clear with yourself what kind of boundaries you ask for.
Next, I want to talk a little about consent and peer pressure. Maybe you heard it from a ton of lectures. I hope so! What’s the consent? Consent is an
ongoing mutual agreement between you and your partner about what you both want to experience. That’s something you or your partner want to try something such as sex that you both agreed on.
Does consenting with your partner feel embarrassing and unattractive? No, it’s not true. You may feel weird or awkward, and that’s normal. However, it should not ruin the mood. That's a misconception. If your partner doesn’t invest their time to listen and discuss consent, then it’s considered disrespectful and unhealthy.
Peer pressure is very common in school. It’s difficult to deal with it. You know that we heard our friends through conversations about sex, relationship, sexting, love, affection, and emotion. I’m pretty sure we heard ‘I did’ (flick hand) many times. That makes us think ‘Am I supposed to experience this now’ and feel unsure what to do. That’s so the pressure to think everything in our head.
Let me tell you, people are not you. You are you. You have the POWER to control your decision. Your body.
Several questions you may need to think about.
Is my partner supportive of me and my decision?
Does my partner show their trustworthiness by showing their action as they say?
What are the expectations for communication through texting or social media?
Is it ok to post about our relationship publicly?
How often do we have open communication about our relationship?
Which boundaries do I feel are missing in the relationship that caused the problem in the past?
If you have any questions about dating or feel unsure if you are in an unhealthy relationship or not. Please contact us anytime. We will provide you with resources to learn more about healthy relationships.