One gray area while dating is the issue of how to behave with other members of the opposite sex now NOT your new girlfriend or boyfriend. While socializing and looking to find someone to date, it is common and encouraged to socialize and flirt with multiple people of the opposite sex as you have fun and search for connections. However, when you finally are dating someone exclusively—especially when you become serious and even engaged—it is important to make some shifts and adjustments to help demonstrate you are no longer single. Such shifts also help demonstrate loyalty and exclusivity to your new partner that you are devoted to them as long as you both agree on your exclusivity, which is a form of commitment.
Boundaries with the Opposite Sex
The following are general possible boundaries you can consider with other members of the opposite sex:
*Keep an arms-length physical distance, apart from occasional appropriate hugs. Physical touching is an area to start to lessen and distance from with others. Jealousy and insecurity often results with excessive touching of others.
*Lessen being alone in private. The more you pair off privately with another member of the opposite sex that you are not dating, the more it can creation confusion both directions.
*Lessen personal, private relationship discussions. The more you talk about and/or give a listening ear to another about personal, intimate relationships matters, the greater bond you may create with the person you are not dating. Such emotional intimacy can create competition and confusion in the relationship.
*Lessen flirty comments, actions, gestures, or innuendos with others. While you are working on building a relationship with your exclusive boyfriend or girlfriend, why is there a need to flirt with others? There really isn’t a need at that point, unless you wish to create jealousy or competition. Bad idea.
*Keep looks to others moderate and within a couple of seconds. If you are overly checking out others: staring, gawking, looking someone up and down, and so on will feel quite inappropriate to your dating partner and add insecurity to the relationship.
The Idea Behind Boundaries
The purpose of this article is not to kill fun, to promote being a prude, and to suddenly act overly distant or cold towards friends of the opposite sex. Those friends can stay your friends. But keeping the previously mentioned boundaries will help to demonstrate to your new dating partner that when it comes to emotional and physical bonds and connections in a romantic way, you only want and need them. It also shows others you are no longer “on the market”. If you still want to cross the above boundaries with the opposite sex, perhaps you are not yet ready for the committed, exclusive dating relationship. If that is the case, it would be fair and appropriate to let your boyfriend/girlfriend know.
Ideally, dating is a positive, enjoyable, exciting experience where both sides work to treat each other with consideration and respect. When boundaries are loose with other members of the opposite sex, the overall security of the relationship becomes strained and compromised. Please, don’t tell your partner that you are an exclusive couple, but then act non-exclusive. Conflict and arguments will ensue. Instead, work to be on the same page as your dating partner. And as we know from the golden rule, “do unto others as you have them do unto you”. In dating, that means do not act a certain way with members of the opposite sex that you yourself would be uncomfortable with or upset with if your dating partner acted the same way with others. Man and woman were meant to be paired together and exclusive. Because "…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:11).
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About the author
Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (www.dr-rg.com), practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to email@example.com. Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at www.dr-rg.com/lds; email me questions to firstname.lastname@example.org).