One subject I have heard often over the years is that we as women need to have standards and boundaries. I didn’t know what this meant exactly years ago. I had some basic standards and boundaries naturally but I lowered these standards every time I started a new relationship with someone. Does this sound familiar? That is why I wanted to explain what standards and boundaries are and how they affect our relationships.
What are Standards?
Standards are not superficial things that you want, like how a person looks, what car they drive, or how tall they are. Standards are essentially the requirements that you set for a relationship. I like to imagine it as the bar we set that must be reached in order for a relationship to form with someone. These are the qualities, behaviors, and values that you require from your partner in your relationship. They are non-negotiable. If these standards are not met then a relationship cannot be developed.
Some examples of Standards
- A guy must have certain religious beliefs
- A guy must be employed
- A guy can’t be a smoker or do drugs
- He must be on the same page when it comes to starting a family
- He must want to get married
Standards Are Not Preferences
One thing that many people misunderstand when it comes to this topic is the difference between standards and preferences. As explained earlier standards are non-negotiable. Preferences on the other hand are negotiable. They can include the superficial things we want in a partner or the things we prefer our partners to have or not have. These things don’t make or break a relationship, but they are just wants. There is nothing wrong with having preferences because we all have them. Just remember they are only preferences and a great relationship can develop even if the guy does not meet all of your preferences.
Some examples of preferences are:
- Wanting a guy to be a certain height
- Wanting a guy to be super attractive
- Wanting a guy that dresses a certain way
- Preferring a guy that can cook
- Preferring a guy that has never been married
What are Boundaries?
I like to think of boundaries as the imaginary line you draw that other people can’t cross. Boundaries establish the things you will and won’t tolerate from other people. It also establishes the things you will and won’t do.
Some examples of Boundaries
- Not tolerating a guy that disrespects you
- Not agreeing to do something that goes against your morals or beliefs
- Not staying with a guy that cheats on you
- Not staying with an abusive guy
- Not allowing a guy to cross your sexual boundaries
How Standards and Boundaries Affect Our Lives
Even though standards and boundaries are different they are both very necessary in your life. They go hand and hand.
Standards keep you from wasting your time with someone you are not compatible with and boundaries keep you from tolerating behavior from guys that affect your happiness. Far too often women lower their standards because people tell them their standards are too high or they feel like no man will ever meet their standards. This might cause you to feel impatient and decide to lower your standards due to loneliness or desperation.
Also if you tend to be a people pleaser that can make it very difficult to enforce standards and boundaries. I was a people pleaser in the past and because of that I would lower my standards and didn’t have many standards to begin with. And when it came to boundaries I let men cross the line over and over again. I wrote a blog post that talks more about people pleasing if you would like to check that out here.
Even though you can’t control the types of people that enter your life you can control who remains in your life by creating standards and boundaries. This will help increase your happiness because you are sticking to your wants and needs.
How to Enforce Standards and Boundaries in Relationships
Enforcing standards usually comes early on when you start dating someone. When you discuss the things you want in a relationship your standards usually come up. A guy might ask you what are your dealbreakers. These are your standards because if these are not met you should not move forward with dating this person.
When it comes to boundaries it is very important to communicate what you are ok with and what is not ok. The thing that is not ok for you might be ok for another woman. So it is a good idea to let your partner know when something crosses the line.
Usually, when I am dating someone and they do something that crosses my boundary I bring it up to them and see what their response is. To offer an example one boundary that I have is not allowing a guy to curse at me. A guy I was dating cursed at me and I let him know that I was not ok with that. Cursing was a bad habit he had, so I tried to give him a second chance to correct this issue. He kept doing it, so I had to stop dating him. There were other reasons as well, but the reasons all centered around disrespect. So my advice would be, when a boundary is violated communicate the issue, see the response, and remove yourself from the relationship if change doesn’t happen. Always remember you can’t make a person change. They have to want it for themselves.
One important point I want to emphasize is if the boundary that is crossed is something serious, like abuse, you need to remove yourself safely from that situation and not give it a second chance.
Are You Ready To Create Standards and Boundaries For Your Life?
If you are ready to create some standards and boundaries in your life then you will want to check out my free ebook called 5 Ways Women Can Stop Being a People Pleaser. This ebook provides you with 5 tips on how to reduce your people pleasing tendencies. Download that free ebook here.
Also, I have created a coaching program called Enforce Standards and Healthy Boundaries Program. This program includes 4 coaching sessions with me over the phone or on zoom. In these sessions, we will go over your past relationship experiences and how standards and boundaries have played a part in your life. From there I will guide you in creating standards and boundaries for your life and relationships and provide some tips on how to enforce those standards and boundaries created. If that sounds like something you would be interested in click here so you can sign up for the program.