Donate Now
We've Moved! Check out our new boards.
  New Poll  
my profile | directory login | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » I'm being selfish? boundaries vs ultimatums

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!    
Author Topic: I'm being selfish? boundaries vs ultimatums
Cloverdance
Neophyte
Member # 47739

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Cloverdance     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I started dating someone that I was just friends with before. We've been dating for a little under a month. Thing is, I've had some trouble in the past with boyfriends not listening or caring when I say I'm uncomfortable about something (like not wanting to have sex right then or whatever.) I feel like this might make me too demanding about what I want and what I need.

My new boyfriend hasn't had much relationship experience, and he most of what he's gone through has been good or neutral. He doesn't have any hangups about stuff like I do. (We talked about this stuff a lot before we were even dating.)

I was talking to a mutual friend of ours and telling her some of my kind of ground rules, like how I don't want to have sex right away and how I'm nto always comfortable with holding hands and how I probably won't want to hang out with him more than we already do (about twice a week) because I still want time for my friends. Our mutual friend said that I'm being too bossy because I have these rules and he doesn't have any for me. She thinks I'm making ultimatums instead of boundaries. Are they the same thing, or is there a difference? Thinking about it, ultimatums sound horrible and boundaries sound necessary, but I can't really figure out the difference? Because if he was unwilling to respect a boundary of mine, I wouldn't date him anymore... so how is that not an ultimatum too?

Soemtimes I feel really selfish because I'm not that willing to make big (and sometimes not even medium sized) sacrifices for the sake relationships. I'm always putting myself first. But it seems like I'm not doing something right because everyone I know in a serious relationship makes sacrifices. Example, my friend went with her second pick college so she could live in the same town as her boyfriend. I read somewhere on this site that working on relationships shouldn't feel like work, but instead should feel like working on writing a poem, fun but challenging. Whenever I'm being asked to sacrifice certain things, it feels like work work instead of poem work. It makes me feel weird because I feel like I have too many things that I'm unwilling to bend on. Can you have too many of those??

I guess I just get really confused about what's fair and what isn't when it isn't an exact give and take. It's not like, "Well, in exchange for me dealing with you being weird about hand holding, you have to put up with my..." If that makes sense. Any words of wisdom will be really appreciated.

(Sorry this was so long!)

--------------------
The meaning of happiness is whatever you want it to be.

Posts: 23 | From: US | Registered: Jul 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Heather     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
An ultimatum is like this: "If you do this, then I'll do that." Or, "If you don't do blah-de-blah then I won't do whooziwhatzit."

A boundary is not an ultimatum. because your partner hasn't yet expressed his own boundaries also doesn't mean it's not okay -- or somehow selfish -- for you to express yours. have you two talked about his boundaries, too? have you asked him to talk about them?

When you talk about making sacrifices for relationship, what do you mean? Can you give me an example of something someone asked you to sacrifice? And do you mean you won't make sacrifices or you won't make any compromises?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Cloverdance
Neophyte
Member # 47739

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Cloverdance     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
All of the boundaries he has (and there aren't many) are ones that I share or things that I already do. No sex without protection and STD testing, Sundays are for football or playing sports with friends (which I'm invited to, but I usually save Sundays for other friends), he won't date girls who do drugs (and I don't), he won't date girls who aren't ok with his religious beliefs. Because that stuff is stuff that I'm effortlessly ok with, I guess it just makes me feel uncomfortable that I'm asking for things that can be difficult. (waiting for sex, not always touching me, etc) Like I'm being high maintenance or something? I'd feel less weird about it if I was also going out of my way to meet his boundaries, but I don't have to try AT ALL for his.

With the sacrifices and compromises thing, I'm not really sure that I know the difference there either. (Sorry, I guess I get confused about terms alot.) But as an example... I mentioned that I wouldn't be able to see him more than twice a week unless something changes in my schedule. I'm REALLY busy and it's physically impossible for me to make more time for him. He's fine with that, but what if he wanted to see me 4 times a week instead? I feel like the compromise would be to meet 3 times a week, but when it's impossible... Is that something that I should be compromising on? It just doesn't seem fair to my friends to cut out time with them so I have more for him.

Here's a problem I had with one of my old boyfriends. When I slept over at his place, I was always freezing. He couldn't sleep unless it was cold, and I need the air to be warmer. (It was an issue of breathing for both of us, or else he could have slept on top of the blanket or I could have put a sweatshirt on or something.) With the air in the middle, we both still slept badly, but less badly than if it was at the extreme end. I was living at home so he couldn't sleep over with me, so all of our sleeping together was on his turf. I usually just let him freeze me, partly because it was his house and partly because at the time I didn't have much backbone. But if I was in the same situation now, I don't know what I'd do. Take turns with the thermostat maybe? I kind of worry that my lack of backbone in the past has made me more demanding and less willing to compromise on things...

--------------------
The meaning of happiness is whatever you want it to be.

Posts: 23 | From: US | Registered: Jul 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Heather     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Sounds to me like you two might just simply be similar, that's all! And how great is that? It's not like we can't still have healthy, happy relationships when we're not, but it can sure make it easier when our boundaries are in such alignment!

With compromise, and the example you gave about the days, figure it's like this: if he said he just REALLY was not getting the time he wanted and needed in this kind of relationship in two days, but that three would work (or maybe making that third day WITH your friends), then you'd have to decide if a) you could find that third and b) if this relationship was or wasn't worth that to you. There's really no right answer there, because while we might make a compromise like that for one relationship, or at one time, we might not in a different situation. Does that make sense?

In the situation with the ex, sounds like you two could've just been more creative in your problem-solving. For instance, if you had gotten an electric blanket for over there, you'd both probably have been happy. And a lot of the time -- but not always -- it's like that. We just need to be creative around these things.

But now and then, yeah, someone is going to have to suck something up or make a different choice. For example, I do not know WHAT the deal is, but I seem to ALWAYS wind up with live-in partners who snore. It doesn't bother me enough that I'm not going to move in together if everything else seems awesome, but as someone who has a very hard time falling asleep? It can blow chunks.

So, what are my solutions? It depends. Sometimes I'll try and go to bed earlier than them, and it's all good. If it's a night I KNOW I need extra sleep and have to get to sleep, one of us will volunteer to sleep on the couch. Earplugs sometimes work. So can headphones. See what I mean?

It is entirely possible you need to be a little less flexible at the onset of relationships right now because you were too flexible in the past. That's okay, and if you think that's true, I'd say to put that out there to partners. But then you need to bend sometimes to some degree. If you feel like you just really never want to or are able to make ANY compromises, then you might want to check in to be sure you're at a time in your life when you really want an intimate relationship, because we are not only going to need to do that to some degree, doing it to some degree is part of growing and changing in a relationship so it's this new thing we're making that's bigger than us, if you get me.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Cloverdance
Neophyte
Member # 47739

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Cloverdance     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thank you Heather! Your response (especially the last paragraph) helped clear things up a lot for me. I hadn't thought about this before, but I think that maybe I'm not in a solid enough place for a really serious intimate relationship right this second. I'm definitely going to think about it more and talk to the boyfriend about all of this stuff, and if necessary we may or may not put dating on the back burner or just go REALLY slowly.

--------------------
The meaning of happiness is whatever you want it to be.

Posts: 23 | From: US | Registered: Jul 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Heather     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
And you know that if you're not, it's okay, right?

Because sometimes, we just really aren't. Either we want more casual things that require less -- or even no -- compromise at all. Sometimes, we don't want a certain kind of intimate relationship period, or what it requires is just in conflict with other things we need more.

And if and when those kinds of situations are the case, it's okay. In fact, it's better for us to really be aware of that and opt-out then to opt-in without that awareness, or to do so aware of the conflict, but figuring we'll try and deal or make someone else deal anyway.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Cloverdance
Neophyte
Member # 47739

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Cloverdance     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yup, I know that's ok! =) For me right now I think it's mostly a time issue. I barely have enough time to get everything done as it is, and I bet a serious relationship would just distract me. But I'm ok with liking this guy, and him liking me, and hanging out sometimes whether or not we're very casually dating or just buddies. Now I just have to talk to him and figure out the details.

I was about to ask something silly and worrysome, along the lines of "what if I NEVER want a serious relationship?" and then I realized, so what if I don't? =) It's amazing how brainwashed you can get from people that think you're incomplete as a single, right?!

--------------------
The meaning of happiness is whatever you want it to be.

Posts: 23 | From: US | Registered: Jul 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Heather     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It really is. [Smile]

Sounds like you've got a pretty good handle on what you want and need right now, and like you're about to be very honest and communicative about it. All good!

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

  New Poll   Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Get the Whole Story! Go Home to SCARLETEEN: Sex Ed for the Real World | Privacy Statement

Copyright 1998, 2014 Heather Corinna/Scarleteen
Scarleteen.com: Providing comprehensive sex education online to teens and young adults worldwide since 1998

Information on this site is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant to and cannot substitute for advice or care provided by an in-person medical professional. The information contained herein is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or for prescribing any medication. You should always consult your own healthcare provider if you have a health problem or medical condition.

Powered by UBB.classic™ 6.7.3