The HUD Love Club

Boundaries and why you need them

By The HUD App Team

Casual dating is about liberation, empowerment, and self-discovery, giving people the freedom to explore their desires without the constraints of traditional relationship expectations. What casual dating is not about is having "loose morals", doing whatever you want to whomever you want, or treating other people like doormats. You still need to have boundaries, and you still need to respect other people's boundaries, even if you are more liberated than the average dater.

What are boundaries, really?

Boundaries are, at their heart, for YOU. You can't set boundaries for other people and expect them to adhere to them. Your boundaries inform your behavior, not other people's behavior. Here's an example:

Not A Boundary: You can't talk to me that way.

Boundary: I don't want to be with someone who talks to me that way, so I'm going to peace out.

Whether the other person should or shouldn't talk to you "that way" is irrelevant when it comes to boundaries - because you can't control other people's actions or reactions, you can only control your own.

Boundaries are about honoring your own self-worth, autonomy, and authenticity. They give you a framework to navigate relationships with by centering what you want and being clear about what you don't want. But boundaries are not a means to try to manipulate others. And that can sometimes be a difficult distinction.

Boundaries are about self-advocacy

Women arguably have to deal with a lot more than men do when it comes to dating. Expectations around how we look and behave can be misogynistic and limiting of women's autonomy. But being clear and upfront about your boundaries is an act of self-advocacy; it means you prioritise yourself and your safety and wellbeing. And when we're used to being encouraged to subjugate our needs to everyone else's, this is an important act of self-care. Having boundaries means standing up for yourself, not putting others down.

Your boundaries are personal to you

Your boundaries can be about anything that is important to you as an individual. Relationships - not limited to romantic ones - the way you want to be treated, sex, intimacy in any form, communication, what you will and won't do in the bedroom.

For example, you might decide that communication is an important area where you need some boundaries. Maybe you've been burned before by dates who seem slow to respond, or who make you do all the labour when it comes to keeping in touch or planning when to meet up. So you might set a boundary for yourself that you're only going to date people who are good communicators, who respond to your messages in a timely way, and who share the load of planning dates.

So how do I get my needs met?

The truth is, people will either respect your boundaries or they won't. You can't change other people's behaviour or actions - they have to want to do this themselves. So if you decide that you want to be with someone who communicates better, and the person you're seeing isn't able to meet that need, you need to decide what to do - for yourself. You can explain how important communication is, ask if they're willing to do some work along with you to improve your communication as a couple, and see where it goes... But you need to be prepared for the strong possibility they won't want to change, or see the need to change.

Boundaries are about saying no to things that don't serve you, and yes to things that do. They let you assert your agency and reclaim ownership over your romantic needs.   By prioritising your intentions, desires, and limits, you're fostering your own self-respect - and also being upfront with others about what you expect, is they have a guideline to how you should be treated, and be able to decide whether they can treat you that way. Boundaries are a tool for self-protection as well as empowerment. Define yours and be unapologetic about them!

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