On the first date – Really?

“They danced slow circles in the sand, Javier singing the words to the Spanish version of the song, the melancholy music putting a strange ache in his chest, an ache he saw reflected in her eyes. Was she feeling what he was feeling?” 
 Pamela ClareFirst Strike

In Spokane, it is warmer down by the river and it was a beautiful morning for a walk.  A group of us gathered to explore People’s Park and then meet at the Elk for lunch and conversation.

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Most of us are single and so we had a fun discussion about relationships. Organically, the conversation drifted toward former relationships, dating and intimacy.  It makes sense that how one behaves on a first date depends on values, religion, feeling safe, past behavior and I am sure a boatload of other reasons. Note to self – boatload – great Scrabble word.

Keeping with the theme of relationships, after we shared what we enjoyed about past relationships and what we wanted to create in the future, I created some questions to ponder.

  • If you meet someone and there is strong physical attraction, do you kiss on the first date?
  • How long do you need to know someone before you become sexually active?
  • How many dates before you become exclusive?
  • Once you are exclusive, is it okay for him/her to stay friends his/her ex?
  • What do you do to scratch the surface and see what he/she is really made of?
  • What do you do when he/she says they love you on the first date?
  • When you first meet, do you believe what he/she tell you or do you wait to meet his/her friends or family?
  • How do you tell him/her you are not interested, without hurting his/her feelings?

What are your beliefs about first dates and relationships?


Collapsed, Rigid and Healthy Boundaries

“No” is a complete sentence.”              ― Anne Lamott

Entering into the New Year, we find ourselves getting out more, getting fit, eating better, spending time with old friends, and meeting new friends.  Often though with amazing technology we also connect through our phones and computers, using social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and dating sites.

In my mental health counseling office, recently a client shared with me she saw her boyfriend change his relationship status on Facebook from single to being in relationship with another woman.  A different client shared she couldn’t create a separate email from her husband because he checked her phone everyday to see who she texted and emailed.

A woman I know met a man on line and fell in love. They talked on the phone and Skyped for months and then he had a crisis and needed some financial support. She sent him money and didn’t hear from him again.

These situations lead me to reflect on the impact technology has on boundaries. It appears there is an intimacy created online that is not grounded in reality. Take this opportunity to assess your own boundaries.

Do you have rigid, collapsed or healthy boundaries?

Are you more likely to allow others to cross your boundaries or do you cross others boundaries?

Do you find you get too close to people physically and you see them back away?

Do you find yourself alone in a corner in a group and not reaching out to others?

Note that the way you set your boundaries changes over time. You also may behave differently depending on the situation and how you feel at the time. This is a general guideline you can use.

Collapsed Boundaries can be identified by: 

  • Sharing too much personal information too soon.
  • Saying yes when you want to say no for fear of rejection.
  • Doing anything to avoid conflict.
  • Having a high tolerance for abuse.

Rigid Boundaries can be identified by: 

  • Saying no to a request if it will involve close interaction.
  • Staying so busy you don’t take time for intimate relationships.
  • Being unable to identify you own feelings, wants or needs.
  • Making little self-disclosure and holding people at a distance.

Healthy Boundaries can be identified by:

  • Having the ability to say yes and to say no.
  • Being able to hear no from others and seek other resources to get your needs met.
  • You reveal information about yourself gradually and self-disclose appropriately.
  • You have relationships with shared responsibility for the relationship without blaming.

Check out the full Boundary Self-Assessment.