Setting Boundaries and Emotional Chastity (Exercise and Worksheet included)
- How much should you reveal about yourself at various stages of your relationship?
If you ever wondered how to answer personal questions while on a date this post is for you.
Honest but prudent communication
Healthy, strong relationships are built on a foundation of truth. Lies, manipulation and distraction destroy trust and prevent the possibility of building a happy future. Yet, it's not prudent to promiscuously share details about yourself with strangers. How can you draw the line? What is an acceptable level of sharing for various stages of a relationship?
For men: Don't show any vulnerability or weakness early on in a relationship. The first one in a relationship to show emotions is the submissive one. Bitterness is weakness. Never show bitterness when things aren't going your way, instead be resilient.
For women: Be thankful when the man treats you well. It's good to show happy emotions, smile, practice a “soft and warm” face expression. Don't get into a power struggle with your date, let him lead. Be ok with quiet pauses, wait from him to pick up the conversation when he chooses.
Emotional Chastity or “Don't send emotional dick pics”
(I'm not using this term in the exact same way as some other writers.)
For the sake of this post Emotional Chastity is the mental discipline of controlling your emotional displays and who you allow yourself to connect with emotionally. It is a virtue in the realm of sentimental attraction. It's the emotional equivalent to the much more widely understood Physical Chastity.
How much should you reveal about yourself in your pre-date messages?
Keep this in mind: You are talking to a stranger. You don't even know if they are the person in their profile images. Even if you have a way to verify that they are real, you don't know them.
Telling a stranger on the internet deep, emotional and historical things about you and your life is inappropriate. Oversharing emotionally by text is just as inappropriate as sending a dick pic. Don't be an emotional slut, it's not attractive, its repulsive.
The goal of pre-date messages is to know if its worth your time and resources to take that person on a date. If the answer is yes, then you need to make that happen. Text communication beyond that is counter productive.
Don't dump emotional baggage on each other. Never (at any time) share black pills in a text message. Don't mention your ACE score. Don't talk about Ayn Rand unless its in her profile information. Don't mention your weight loss/gain/transfiguration. Don't mention your health/money/career/family challenges. Don't mention past relationships.
Sharing such information recklessly is dangerous and opens you up to manipulation.
How much should you reveal about yourself on a first date(s)?
Keep this in mind: Your date could be emotionally unstable, a con artist or someone with an axe to grind, especially if you have ever posted anything controversial online. It's going to take a few conversations for them to earn your trust and develop an honest emotional connection with you.
Aside from obvious questions of physical safety and avoiding false accusations, you need to protect yourself from overexposing your heart. We all wear some emotional armour that protects us from being a raw mess of vulnerabilities. Taking off that armour on the first date is the emotional equivalent of getting naked. It's not an appropriate or safe first date level of exposure.
You should have some very short, positive, stock answers to basic small talk questions such as:
What was your childhood/family like? (Avoid scary words like tragic, traumatic, horrible, etc.)
What do you do for work? (Keep it upbeat and simple.)
Where do you like to go on vacation?
Are you religious?
What are your political views? (Careful here, most people are normies.)
What do you like to do for fun? (Don't mention /pol/, actually don't mention anything chan related.)
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
What type of food/music/movies/sports/etc do you like? (What are your tastes?)
(In a future post I will write about the kind of questions you want to ask your date.)
Be very open to possibilities and appropriate levels of emotional connection, but guard your heart until your date has earned the right to get close to it. You need to set boundaries for how deeply you will reveal yourself to people you meet, including your dates.
When should I reveal my deep dark secrets?
You can fully open up when you are sure that the other party will not use your past against you (intentionally or accidentally). Ask yourself, do you trust him/her? Why do you trust them?
Reveal the least impactful information first. Don't reveal too much at once. Watch their reactions. Avoid dumping on them. Slowly work your way up to the deeper things. Relationships should not be rushed.
Some subjects should only be revealed once marriage is being seriously considered. You will have to decide which subjects fit into that category.
A relationship is like a bank account. Positive interactions add credit to the account. Negative interactions take credit from the account. If you are not careful, too many negative interactions will bankrupt your relationship.
Be very careful with revealing negative information and don't dwell on negatives. When revealing a negative talk about what you have learned from your suffering and mistakes. Don't revel in the gory details. Don't brag about your suffering.
Don't let anyone force you into revealing information until you are comfortable with sharing it. Someone who doesn't respect your boundaries should not be trusted.
Beware of how much your date reveals
How would you react to having your date send you naked photos, strip down during dinner or show you photos of their past sexual liaisons? Are you disgusted? Shocked? How much of that would you tolerate?
What about if they send you their naked emotions in a text message, emotionally dump on you during your date or talk incessantly about the emotional hurt their exes put them through? How much will you tolerate?
You are not your dates therapist. Beware of people with no (or overly flexible) boundaries. Emotionally dumping on you is not ok, don't tolerate it or you will lose your energy to keep searching for a spouse.
Setting emotional boundaries (Exercise and Worksheet)
You can't set boundaries with other people until you first set boundaries in your own mind. That can not be something that happens by accident. You need to consciously set your boundaries for romantic relations. Please read this whole post before starting the exercise.
How to set boundaries (an exercise):
Get a bunch of sticky notes. Medium sized ones are best.
Get into a comfortable mood, relax this might take a while.
On each sticky note write something about yourself that you want to share with your future spouse. It can be good, bad, happy, sad, past, present or hopes for the future, etc. Whatever you want. Keep it as granular as possible (break down complex subjects like family trama into smaller subsections).
When you are done print out the Setting Boundaries Worksheets.
Layout the worksheets on a table or stick them to a wall.
Place all your sticky notes onto the appropriate worksheets.
Finally, condense your work into a plan using the last sheet.
Notes on the Setting Boundaries Exercise
Avoid black pilling your date. Don't talk about negative things that don't need to be talked about. Don't act in a way that gives a negative impression of you. Don't talk yourself down.
Be careful what words you use to describe yourself and your past experiences. Early on in a relationship you may wish to use more neutral language to describe your past. For example if you had a traumatic childhood try this:
“My childhood was unhappy. My parents didn't provide the love that I needed. As an adult I've come to terms with that.”
It's truthful without being weak or overly negative.
If you are having difficulty judging what to reveal when, or if the whole process is overwhelming you, get some help from a trusted friend, therapist or relationship coach.
Revisit your boundaries a few days after you make them. It's a way to get help from “future you”. Do this a few times until you are comfortable with your plan.
Consciously set boundaries to avoid sharing emotional connections and deep personal information with people who have not earned your trust. Keep your Emotional Chastity to protect your heart and keep it open for love.