Wednesday, August 4

Setting Boundaries

In every relationship there are boundaries. There are lot of kinds of boundaries - how many times I can ask my mom for money before she says no and other things like that - but I'm thinking about moral boundaries. The boundaries that define what I will and will not do in a relationship, and sometimes the conditional triggers that go along with them.

Sometimes boundaries are personally set (no verbal communication between the people involved) and they work just fine. That's the case with the boundaries afforded us by civility, chivalry, morality in the Church, and simply being courteous to others. But when I get involved in a romantic relationship - or in a relationship where there are romantic feelings involved - defining explicit boundaries, for myself or out loud, becomes much more important.

There are always boundaries in a relationship. When I'm with someone I'm not attracted to, I really don't want to hold their hand, cuddle with them, kiss, or do anything else. And so I don't. But if I meet a guy and realize that I'm attracted to him, and he wants to hang out, then it might be smart to look at the boundaries I've set. If my and his boundaries are "anything goes," then I may have fun, but risk my soul doing so. But if I set a firm boundary within my morals, then, no matter what his thoughts, I'm safer.

I have to know myself to be able to set meaningful boundaries. It doesn't make sense to set a boundary that deprives me of all emotional or physical contact with others, since that totally defeats the purpose. At the same time, I need to ensure that the boundary is far enough from the slippery slope that I haven't already fallen in if it's crossed without my intentions. And that means that sometimes I have different boundaries for different people. My boundary with guys is this: I will never kiss a guy, let him kiss me, or anything beyond that. We can play soccer, give each other back rubs in a public place, talk, high-five, hug, and sit next to each other while watching movies, but that's as far as it goes. It's my safety buffer. I'm sure I'll never kiss a guy. And I know that if a guy I was attracted to kissed me, it would generate enough shock in my system that I could get out before my feelings took control.


  1. I wish so strongly that I would have had the same standards that you have. I am LDS as well, but I had gotten myself into trouble. I had a friend unexpectedly take hold of my hand and I literally had a rush run through my body and I honestly froze. I've never felt that way before with a girl. I guess I only bring this up because I've never told anyone about it. Moments like those make SSA so much more of a struggle, a battle between body and soul. It's a longing in the back of my mind. Your strength is contagious. Thank you for sharing what you do.

  2. Part of me wishes I could feel that rush... and part of me realizes that a rush in life isn't as meaningful as the alternatives - being able to honestly turn to God and say that I am clean. Welcome to the conversation, Travis. Thanks for being here and sharing your strength.

  3. I really had to re-evaluate my relationship with many of my friends from high school. For females, it's common to sit on one another's laps, give lots of hugs, backrubs, etc. For me, these were an outlet for my sexual attractions, and I realized I needed to stop those activities if I was going to continue to resist my temptations.

    Like you, I set a line. To never let anyone's hands stray too far and make me uncomfortable, and to never kiss a woman. Like you, the shock would make me stop them.

  4. after reading this post I have realized I have a few boundaries I need to make. and some decisions I need to make solid if I hope to continue coming out on top in the struggle with SSA. I thank you for your willingness to share your struggle. It is giving me the strength to do what I need to do.


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