Dear 100 Hour Board,
I just started dating someone and we were talking and were trying to decide on what some good boundaries would be. So far we have stuff like respecting curfew, no kissing while lying down, and no lying on top of each other.
What do you think might be some good boundaries we can add to our list. They can be physical affection related, but they can relate to other stuff too. We're just looking for good ideas to follow to have a healthy relationship.
-My Name Here
Dear Much Natural Happiness,
People ask this all the time, but the thing is, everyone's boundaries are different. I know some couples who don't hang out after 10:00 PM, or don't wear pajamas around each other, or never turn the lights off, or don't ever lay down under a blanket together, or refuse to make out in cars, or don't ever kiss for more than ten minutes at a time, or whatever, and if that works for them, great! But maybe for you it doesn't matter at all whether or not you and your significant other wear pajamas around each other. Maybe you think pajamas are super unsexy and wearing them around each other helps you be more chaste. If one of those things I listed is helpful for you, then by all means adopt it in your relationship. But don't feel bad if you don't do all those things, because you may not have to.
Something that was helpful for me when I was dating my husband was not just coming up with a list of things we didn't want to do (our list was pretty similar to yours), but also agreeing on a list of things we did want to do together. It's easy to pile up a lot of don'ts in a relationship, but the do's really helped us, too. We had things like read the scriptures together every day, make dinner together once a week, respect each other's "me time," help each other study, go to the gym together, etc. The don'ts helped keep us chaste, but the do's are what built up a healthy relationship. Don't just define your relationship by all the things you can't do.
And finally, be willing to be flexible on whatever guidelines you come up with. Maybe you have something on one of your lists that doesn't end up being relevant, and you can take it off the list ("It turns out we can hang out after 10:00 PM without turning into sex-crazed maniacs! Let's do a movie night," or "Making it a rule that we have to help each other study just stresses me out. How about that's not an expectation for our relationship?"), or maybe you run into a scenario that you want to avoid in the future, so you make a specific boundary about it ("Oh man, us hanging out in your apartment when all your roommates were out of town was a bad idea, let's not do that again"). It's great to have an idea of things you want for your relationship from the start, but just know that it will probably change and evolve over time, and that's totally fine.