Just Ask Amy: Setting Boundaries

Setting boundaries in a relationship is like following a speed limit sign.  If you never set a boundary, it’s like driving down the highway without a speed limit! No one knows how fast to go until all of a sudden you are in trouble and you don’t know why!  

Boundaries or Limits are made to protect us, not to ruin our fun.  If we are going to continue on the driving analogies...and trust me, I have a lot of them...why is there a yellow line down the center of the road? To keep us on our own side right? If that wasn’t there, people would be driving too close to the center of the road and causing accidents all over the place! 

So how do you know where to set your boundary?

  • Know the Steps (Desmond Morris states the progression like this):
  1. Eye to Body
  2. Eye to Eye
  3. Voice to Voice
  4. Hand to Hand
  5. Hand to Shoulder
  6. Hand to Waist
  7. Face to Face
  8. Hand to Head
  9. Hand to Body
  10. Touch below the Waist
  11.  Mouth to Body/oral sex
  12.  Intercourse
  • Know what you are ok with happening and what you are not ok with happeningBasically, pick your speed limit sign.  Is it a 4? a 7?


  • Tell your Important Person your limit and ask them their limit.  Do they match up? Are they more than 1 step away from each other?  If so, understand that whoever has the higher number is setting the limit for the relationship.  9 times out of 10 you will go to the higher number. If you’re not ok with that, you have a decision to make in that relationship.

But let’s be honest for a second about speed limit signs.  All drivers out there know that when we see the sign, we push it just a little bit.... “If I go 5mph over, I should be fine” or “As long as I keep a look out for the cops, then I can push it to 9mph.”  We are a species that tends to push the limit.  When it comes to relationships, there isn’t a difference.  We start rationalizing our actions for pushing the limit we’re in trouble.  

So here is your last step for keeping boundaries: Make a list of ways that you are going to keep that boundary.  For example, “Not being alone in the basement chillin’ and watching Netflix”....we all know what you’re really doing.  So, as a couple, come to an agreement of things that you can or can’t do to make sure boundaries are kept.

And what if those boundaries are crossed? Well, it’s like taking a beautiful car to the top of a tall hill and putting it in neutral. It will start to roll and then get faster and faster to the bottom of the hill until it crashes.  And honestly, if you were to try to pull the emergency brake in the middle of that downhill decent....good luck.  Once you start crossing lines in a relationship, it is really difficult to just stop.  But, if you've crashed that beautiful car at the bottom of the hill, don't's not a complete goner, but it is going to take a while to repair it.....And trust me, you'll think twice before taking it to the top of the hill again.


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