Great relationships have boundaries, and that goes for gay relationships, too. Healthy boundaries are crucial to making sure that both of your needs are met. Setting boundaries with your boo early on will make your expectations very clear.
In any new relationship, you could be so excited by what could come out of this budding relationship for you and your new man. Don’t completely overlook what’s staring you in the face. There’s potential you’re even straight up ignoring obvious red flags that would normally drive you absolutely bonkers.
Of course, everyone and every relationship has different needs. This is why it’s so important to talk as early as possible. You might have wildly different availability to commit and you could be completely off-base with your emotional needs in this new relationship, your desires can vary throughout your dating life.
How you’re looking to invest in this new relationship could be dramatically different from your new partner. Different people want different things in life, but that doesn’t mean your relationship will not work, there are millions of successful relationships forming every year. Even the intensity you’re looking for from a relationship will be different from your new man, but open communication can help get you through any hurdle.
No matter what, setting boundaries that work for you and your boo will start earlier than you might think. Before the relationship develops too far you need to tune into yourself. What do you specifically want out of this relationship? Being honest with yourself and the relationship will help you pick boundaries that actually matter and will help avoid some more superficial ones.
Knowing yourself is key to setting these boundaries, for instance, are you a stage five clinger or completely introverted and need a lot of alone time? The most impactful thing you can do for your budding relationship is being honest with your actual expectations from your new romance.
Approaching a new relationship while knowing these little aspects you need from a relationship will help it grow and develop into the gay holy grail, a long-term relationship. So, starting from attachment style (back to the stage five clinger) you’ll already have determined if you want to be more open or forthright, even a balanced approach is welcome. It could make the difference between a successful date and a failed relationship. Below I’ve got a few other key areas to set boundaries.
What’s your communication style?
As simple as knowing your attachment style is your communication style. Being open about your communication style can really foster a healthy new relationship. It can help you set a clear and positive tone as you develop this new relationship with your boyfriend to be. Whether you’re direct and forward or more go with the flow, letting your new partner know how you communicate will help them understand you, your words, and your actions clearly.
Setting clear boundaries is the kick-off to communicating happily and healthily with your new boo. If you're not comfortable holding hands or kissing in public, it’s a great idea to let this new man know you’re not into PDA, it’s something major you should tell them about. If you simply talk about it with your man, you’re not going to be left wondering why they look so offended or forlorn after you’ve taken your hand away walking down the street. Avoidance is only going to become drama and fighting, it might even be a point to end the relationship on, so speak up for your needs.
Getting to know your new bf’s communication style is also a big deal. You might communicate with different people differently and that’s totally fine. With your new relationship you should be striving for middle ground, truly listening and hearing each other. Not just waiting for your turn to talk.
To really understand what you both want from a relationship you’re going to have to set and stick to boundaries that make sense for you both in this area.
What sort of time commitment do you have for this relationship?
As easy as it is in a new relationship to want to spend every second of every day together, that’s not very sustainable. A new relationship has all the rush of a good buzz, seriously, your body is flooding with dopamine and serotonin and you’re feeling fiiiiine.
For the sake of a longer-term commitment you should at least consider dialling it back from a ten. Give yourself the breather to be able to step back and actually contemplate how you feel in this new relationship. You don’t have to ghost him for three days or not text until he texts you, I’m suggesting you set a boundary. Something simple like a self-care Sunday, where you take time for yourself and invest in the things you might be back burning for your new boo.
Being clear early on can help you avoid burnout in your relationship. Yes, corporate burnout that you might experience at work totally happens in everyday relationships. Spending 24/7 together might drive you bonkers. Staying true to how you are outside of this new romance will keep your head clear when you're riding the dopamine high from your new love interest.
Avoid getting sick of each other, you want to avoid relationship burnout, wherein you get sick of each other before you get a chance to see where things could go. Plus, staying true to your individual identity outside of this new romance will help you remain clear headed when your brain gets a bit hazy with natural love hormones.
You can even set your ‘text-pectations’
Early relationships can feel like a competition of who’s least invested in the relationship. The opposite can also happen, where you’re so infatuated that you're texting non-stop. All these games result in delusions of power in your relationship or a lot of cringing if the other party doesn’t match your pace.
Try to avoid either extreme, instead talk about a boundary with your new man highlighting your mutual text-pectations. Ask your boo what their texting style is - maybe they have a super busy job 9-5 and can’t step away, avoid the hurt and awkwardness by talking about this early on. Knowing what each other sees as natural will help avoid these hiccups.
If you need daily contact, maybe you’re a student and exams are around the corner. Honestly, there’s no correct level of texting, it has to be right for the two of you. Tell your man what you expect out of him in this department, if he has a different view or it makes him uncomfortable try to find common ground that suits you both.
When will you meet each other’s friend circles?
If you think your bad at picking guys or your relationships never seem to work out, it might be a good idea to introduce your new man to your friends earlier on. We’re often a lot more natural around our friends and this could help highlight great personality traits.
Having your support network around you could make you more emotionally available. If that’s something you’re working on with this new guy, it might be worth considering bringing your friends along on an outing after a few dates. Doing group activities can really help cement emotional bonds, the perfect thing for a budding romance.
As gay men we’re often too accustomed to put on a face for society and that goes for new relationships too. Your friends can help make you feel more secure and can encourage you to pursue the relationship further.
Be conscientious towards your friends, if you’re constantly inviting them out to vet your latest man, they might feel obligated to go along with it. If you are this type of person you might be better off to be more reserved. Ask your friends to come for a group activity once you're more confident and stable in the relationship. This way they feel like their time is respected and you can get more honest feedback from them because they aren’t drained from a constant stream of suitors.
What type of relationship are you pursuing?
There’s nothing wrong with a casual friend with benefits situation, if that’s what you both want. Deciding whether you’re looking for a serious commitment or something outside a monogamous couple, think throuple, you need to be able to narrow that down. You need to consider what you want for your future and communicate those desires to who you’re dating.
Nobody has time to waste, especially when relationships are so easy to start with online dating. If they aren’t going to jive with what you outline now, then they likely won’t be any more interested down the road. This can be a big deal or no deal for lots of couples.
If this can’t line up for either of you, you can let them move on so that you can both find your match. A throuple isn’t for everyone and neither is an open relationship. Being honest with your desires and needs will help bring clarity over relationship goals.
If it does line up for you both, great! You’re after similar things in life and in this relationship. However, this isn’t a simple one-time conversation. It’s important to keep touching base every once in a while, to let them know what you see out of the future of this relationship. Make sure you’re on the same page because emotions and desires can shift over time, growing pains affect every relationship so you must stay connected and invested in the type of relationship you both want.
In a dating world inundated with technology, and apps taking over how we communicate and share our thoughts. Setting boundaries may sound old school but it’s how good relationships last. It doesn’t make you picky or needy, it means you’re self-aware and have clear goals in life. It’s a sign of maturity that you know what you’re after and that you’re not afraid to talk about it.
It’s smart and mature to share your wants and needs with your potential partner. But don’t just throw caution to the wind because he has a beard and wants something different. In time, you will find someone who’s ideals match yours!