I’m going to open up and talk to you guys about something I usually keep private: my dating relationship.
This is something I’ve historically been kind of quiet about here on my blog, and on social. And even still… every time I hit “post” on a photo of Nate and I, I feel a little flutter of anxiety sharing that part of my life. This is usually a (healthy) boundary of mine that I have set over the years. I usually don’t publicly share a ton about my dating life.
Nate and I have been together for close to a year now, and he’s a big part of so many of my adventures. You guys know that I love sharing photos of my kids and my garden… and I enjoy sharing my adventures with him as well! I’ve slowly been sharing more and more of that piece of my life.
Why Sharing Can Be Hard
I’ve been divorced now for five years, and in the past, I’ve always had a boundary with how much I share of my dating life… for a few reasons. 1) Dating is hard enough, breakups are hard enough… and to have to explain everything publicly if things don’t work out is hard. 2) Sometimes (not always) it’s hard for someone to come into my world where all the sudden they have a lot of people who are curious about them and start following them… and it can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming for the person I’m dating. Then add in the issue of kids, exes, etc. and it can sometimes be hard to navigate. 3) So much of my life is public, that it’s kind of nice at times to have pieces that are more private.
Lately, though, this boundary I have of sharing my dating life has started to move and transform as my relationship with Nate has moved and transformed. I’m starting to get more comfortable publicly sharing more of our life together. And, ya know what? That’s okay!
I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. We all get to decide on the boundaries in our own life. We all get to decide what to share, with who, and when. It’s up to each of us to decide if and when we want those lines to change.
One of my favorite quotes is from Brene Brown when she says, “The most compassionate people I know also have the most well-defined and well-respected boundaries.”
I’m sharing this with you guys today, because I want to remind you (and also because I’m constantly reminding myself of this): You are the one who gets to make the decisions about your boundaries based on your own comfort, past experiences, and even your wounds.
Sometimes I worry too much that if I’m not sharing it means I’m not as transparent or as vulnerable as I like to be. But it’s important to remember that you can have boundaries and value vulnerability at the same time.
Vulnerability and Transparency Doesn’t Mean Zero Boundaries
I talk a lot about the value of being transparent, open, and vulnerable. I wholeheartedly believe vulnerability is the ultimate human connector. It’s a core value of mine, actually. This is why I sometimes feel conflicted a bit if there are parts of my life I’m not open about with you guys, or even my close friends and family. However, it’s important to remember that boundaries are healthy. Being open, transparent, and vulnerable doesn’t mean you can’t have healthy boundaries.
I wrote a blog post about this, where I discuss checking in with yourself before being vulnerable. I talk about sharing scars and not open wounds when being vulnerable. Before sharing something, it’s important to make sure you’re healed in order to protect your own mental health. Decide if you can trust the people you share with, and decide on how it will affect the other people involved.
The thing about being vulnerable is that it always involves something hard or delicate. After my divorce, my dating life became something that I intentionally chose to keep more private. Like most, I have had ups and downs in my dating life… and I had to recognize that I also had a lot of my own issues to work through. I’ve shared with you guys before that I spent 9 months last year in weekly Monday morning therapy sessions (one of the best decisions I’ve ever made) so that way I could pinpoint my own issues and baggage I was bringing to the table and learn to take responsibility in past failed relationships.
That doesn’t mean I’m not open and vulnerable about other things, it’s just that this part of my life was something that required a boundary at the time, and took me time to be comfortable sharing.
Your Boundaries Can Move and Reshape With Your Life
Boundaries are there for your own protection and safety, and it’s okay if you want to move and reshape those boundaries for yourself! It doesn’t make you a hypocrite, and it doesn’t mean you can’t replace them in the future! You don’t owe anyone an explanation for your own need to set, move, and remove boundaries as your life changes. The people in your life who really love you and want the best for you will understand.
My boundary about not sharing much of my dating life is a bit different now with where my life is today. Never feel like you have to keep a wall up if it doesn’t feel necessary anymore. Often, those walls can start to feel restricting. Boundaries are there to help, and if you no longer need them, feel free to change them! Remove them, reshape them, or move them. These are decisions YOU get to make for your own life.
Every day I feel a little less anxiety about sharing my life with Nate. He’s wonderful and I’ve never felt so happy in a relationship. This growth and shift in this boundary makes me feel good, and I feel empowered being able to make my own decisions about the boundaries in my life.
Have you had any boundary shifting happening in your own life? How did it make you feel? Let’s start a conversation!
P.S. If you want more content about relationships, I have a few podcast episodes about that topic! Find my podcast HERE!