Boundaries in Relationships?

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Jonathan95

Puritan Board Sophomore
I'm trying to keep in mind a list of boundaries between men and women who are dating. Also, the relationship I am currently in is long distance and so what should long distance boundaries look like?

Whatever you think of, even obvious things, I would appreciate reading. Thank you!
 

Afterthought

Puritan Board Senior
See Boundaries by Henry Cloud for general thoughts about the subject.

The exact boundaries will vary from couple to couple. In general, don't do things that will create greater emotional attachment than the commitment in the relationship allows. I'm not sure I can think of specific things, since they vary so much (talk with those who know you; they will likely ask you what things you have talked about so far, how often are you talking, how much time are you talking one on one versus in group chats, etc.). However, I can think of some general areas that people can trip over, which you can think about and define with someone who knows you/is watching you in this relationship and with the girl.

1) Don't talk too frequently. Too much communication can move a relationship along too quickly without giving enough time for the parties to process the conversations. (But also don't talk too infrequently...)

2) When you do talk, don't talk for too long. This is for the same reason as above.

3) Don't spend so much time on the relationship that it becomes all-encompassing such that other areas in your life are eclipsed, e.g., withdrawing from friends, family, jobs and duties.

4) Talk about appropriate topics for the stage of the relationship. I like Dr. Krabbendam's book Shoulder to Shoulder (free online) in general, and on this topic, he recommends roughly dividing the topics into talking about the past first, then the present, then the future. Each of these levels of conversation builds greater degrees of intimacy and attachment. There are also degrees of emotional intimacy in how you talk about a topic, e.g., sharing just the facts is less intimate than sharing how you feel about things.

5) Since this is an LDR, I highly recommend finding a way to incorporate each other into group chats/group video chats: it is very helpful to see how each other interact with others in a group setting.
 

Jonathan95

Puritan Board Sophomore
This was incredibly helpful, thank you. Yes this is why I felt compelled to ask this question. I feel like we've done all of the things that were cautioned against as you mentioned. With Covid locking everything down and slowing time, we have talked every single day for more than a couple of hours every day.

Having just left my church, I don't have/have never had any guy friends. So whatever comes up involving my thoughts and feelings all goes directly to her. And I can see that this might have been a big mistake.

It's weird to now say that I want to turn back the dial on our relationship and go back to being less close and less committed than we are currently.. so I feel I have put myself in an awkward position.

Thank you. I'll be sure to keep all of this in mind going forward.

See Boundaries by Henry Cloud for general thoughts about the subject.

The exact boundaries will vary from couple to couple. In general, don't do things that will create greater emotional attachment than the commitment in the relationship allows. I'm not sure I can think of specific things, since they vary so much (talk with those who know you; they will likely ask you what things you have talked about so far, how often are you talking, how much time are you talking one on one versus in group chats, etc.). However, I can think of some general areas that people can trip over, which you can think about and define with someone who knows you/is watching you in this relationship and with the girl.

1) Don't talk too frequently. Too much communication can move a relationship along too quickly without giving enough time for the parties to process the conversations. (But also don't talk too infrequently...)

2) When you do talk, don't talk for too long. This is for the same reason as above.

3) Don't spend so much time on the relationship that it becomes all-encompassing such that other areas in your life are eclipsed, e.g., withdrawing from friends, family, jobs and duties.

4) Talk about appropriate topics for the stage of the relationship. I like Dr. Krabbendam's book Shoulder to Shoulder (free online) in general, and on this topic, he recommends roughly dividing the topics into talking about the past first, then the present, then the future. Each of these levels of conversation builds greater degrees of intimacy and attachment. There are also degrees of emotional intimacy in how you talk about a topic, e.g., sharing just the facts is less intimate than sharing how you feel about things.

5) Since this is an LDR, I highly recommend finding a way to incorporate each other into group chats/group video chats: it is very helpful to see how each other interact with others in a group setting.
 

Afterthought

Puritan Board Senior
Having just left my church, I don't have/have never had any guy friends. So whatever comes up involving my thoughts and feelings all goes directly to her. And I can see that this might have been a big mistake.
I recommend talking about this subject with that pastor (hers, If I recall correctly?) that you mentioned in the other thread. He will be able to offer more specific counsel on the matter. Talking every day is too frequently for some but not for others. There are ways to slow the pace of relationships down too, but it is tricky to do and communicate properly. Definitely talk with that pastor to get his counsel (and then with the girl) before making any decisions on what to do. You sound like the sort of person who might be prone to making snap decisions (I tend to make decisions too slowly and have to fight against that)--if that is so, then all the more so, please talk with this pastor before doing anything. Remember that with dating relationships, there is no need to rush; there's always time to get counsel and think through what needs to be done. :)
 
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Jonathan95

Puritan Board Sophomore
I have a meeting with him this Monday so I'll be sure to bring all of this up. Thank you again Sir!

I recommend talking about this subject with that pastor (hers, If I recall correctly?) that you mentioned in the other thread. He will be able to offer more specific counsel on the matter. Talking every day is too frequently for some but not for others. There are ways to slow the pace of relationships down too, but it is tricky to do and communicate properly. Definitely talk with that pastor to get his counsel (and then with the girl) before making any decisions on what to do. You sound like the sort of person who might be prone to making snap decisions (I tend to make decisions too slowly and have to fight against that)--if that is so, then all the more so, please talk with this pastor before doing anything. Remember that with dating relationships, there is no need to rush; there's always time to get counsel and think through what needs to be done. :)
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
Let's get practical . Don't swap immodest pictures of each other. Remain modestly attired while Zooming/Facetiming/etc.
 

Joshua

Administrator
Staff member
Establish ahead of time, should you marry, cats are a big No. Cats are the devil, and you will not have them in your home. This is key.
 

Joshua

Administrator
Staff member
You speak from personal experience I see!
When I was a youngin’, still livin’ with Ma and Pa, we had a few good cats, cuz they killed rats, and otherwise acted like dogs. I had no say in the matter. Since my age of independence, I’ve been devil free. Cats are the devil.
 

Jonathan95

Puritan Board Sophomore
When I was a youngin’, still livin’ with Ma and Pa, we had a few good cats, cuz they killed rats, and otherwise acted like dogs. I had no say in the matter. Since my age of independence, I’ve been devil free. Cats are the devil.
I'll be sure to keep that in mind ;)
 

W.C. Dean

Puritan Board Sophomore
I am sitting in our family room reading. I am surrounded by 3 cats. I believe I am surrounded by angels :cheers:
They must act differently on the bottom of the planet. Up here in the northern hemisphere anything beyond a barn cat is a nuisance!

Serious advice to Jonathan, however. Not talking too much! For the first time in the conversations about your love, I can actually speak from experience. A few years ago I had strong feelings for a girl who was also a close friend. We did not see each other face to face too frequently, so we texted each other way too much. I texted more than her. I think it contributed to the absolute ruining of that relationship, friend or otherwise. Just another aspect of my life when I was 14-16 I despise. I went from being 'depressed', having panic attacks, and feeling lonely all the time to becoming an arrogant Nazi in a short period. The Lord wrecked me before I was 17. Anyway, don't be a loser like me! Constant, perpetual communication (at least, communication that is not face to face) creates a false intimacy. I believed I was close with this girl because we texted. I never was!
 

Joshua

Administrator
Staff member
Cats are fine. Just don't try to argue with them, and do what they tell you and everything will run smoothly. Unless they get bored.
I've heard that with diligence, one can train cats to do exactly whatever they want.
 

Jonathco

Puritan Board Freshman
Some great advice has already been provided by Ramón; very wise counsel indeed.

To add to that, when I was young, still dating and seeking a spouse, there was always a tendency to drift conversations into marriage too soon (e.g. "if" we get married ABC or XYZ scenario). As Christians, we understand that dating is geared toward finding a spouse; however, don't let those conversations occur too soon. Get to know her, interact with her in a group (group chats/video calls with her/your friends), get to know her friends and have her get to know yours (even if it is just via video because of COVID19), and don't be too quick to rush conversations toward marriage or deep emotional topics. I am always reminded of Maple trees here in the North, which if not properly watered, never develop deep roots and are often toppled when a good storm blows through; relationships are like that. Let your relationship develop deep roots in being an addition (not a replacement) for her and your other friendships.

Here's a tree from my home state that looked strong and firm, but as you can see, had no roots to hold it firm.


Jonathan, brother, you've started several threads on this young woman and it certainly would appear that you care deeply for her and are seeking answers - this is encouraging to see! I would also advise that you get yourself under some shepherding and personal accountability; online brothers are excellent, but a pastor, elder, or Christian mentor who is fostering a personal, deep relationship with you will go much farther to help you honor the Lord in this relationship and also exhort you to guard this relationship in physical and emotional purity.
 
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Jonathco

Puritan Board Freshman
I've heard that with diligence, one can train cats to do exactly whatever they want.
I've got three barn cats; the two females earn their keep eating rodents around the farm, but I'd shoot the mangy, lazy Tom cat if it weren't a waste of a perfectly good bullet to do so.
 

Phil D.

Puritan Board Junior
No. CATS. Not THE Lion of the tribe of Judah.
Well, seeing how God zoomorphically compares Himself to a cat (never a dog, interestingly enough...) shows they must possess significant qualities that help describe him, right? I also enjoy seeing how wild lions' actions and traits are often quite similar to housecats'. Also this...

 

W.C. Dean

Puritan Board Sophomore
Well, seeing how God zoomorphically compares Himself to a cat (never a dog, interestingly enough...) shows they must possess significant qualities that help describe him, right? I also enjoy seeing how wild lions' actions and traits are often quite similar to housecats'. Also this...

Concerning your video, often times the devil conceals himself as an angel of light brother.....
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Well, seeing how God zoomorphically compares Himself to a cat (never a dog, interestingly enough...) shows they must possess significant qualities that help describe him, right? I also enjoy seeing how wild lions' actions and traits are often quite similar to housecats'. Also this...

That was close. Surprised the cat let that dog live.
 
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