Dating Over 40 – Set Firm Boundaries for Fast Hands

octopusThis Sunday at the Singles Lifestyle Expo, I was groped by a guy and that hasn’t happened in quite sometime.

Wrapping things up at the dating  event, I was walking towards the door. Paul, my husband, had gone to get the car. On my way out, I was stopped by this extremely sexy Latin guy – Salsa dance teacher who had been in my workshop “The Secret to Online Dating” earlier that afternoon.  (That’s another story.)

Fernando approached me to ask me a legitimate question (which I’ll tell you about tomorrow). But he came with his friend Mr. Fast Hands.  While I was listening to Fernando’s question and trying to answer – Mr. Fast Hands was all over me. I pulled away and he came back like an octopus.

Such strange behavior in a public place. It’s not like we were dancing which would have given him some permission to get that close and touch me. So why this outrageous  invasion of my personal space?

I looked him square in the face and said rather firmly, “Stop groping me!”  He stopped immediately. Yet, he remained close. He’s one of those “in your face,” close -talking guys like on Seinfeld I guess. I turned my complete attention to Fernando and tried not to even look at the other guy. Looking at  him seemed to make him think he had my permission to get in my face again.  That was most definitely  an incorrect assumption.

Lucky for me, I learned a lot about establishing boundaries early in life through my Mom. In our house, we pretty much said things like they were. We got it out in the open and let it go. However, this did require setting firm boundaries because let’s face it – you’re not always in the mood for such honest communication.

Knowing your limits and how to set boundaries is an important skill for all aspects of life. If  someone enters your personal space and you feel uncomfortable, there are a number of ways to establish your boundaries. Here are some suggestions should you encounter Mr. Fast Hands or one of his many relatives. They are listed in order starting from polite and ending at direct and firm.

1. Ease yourself back from the person crowding you
2. Back up again if needed
3. Ask the person to “Please respect my personal space” or “Please give me a little room”
4. Walk away if this behavior doesn’t stop
5. If you decide to stay but want the touching to end, .say “Stop touching me”
6. If  you can’t walk away, hold your hand out in front of you like a police officer would to indicate  “STOP,” then say it firmly at the same time

Whenever you extend your arm in front of you with your palm facing out, you are actually creating personal space and setting a boundary.

This kind of think doesn’t come up often for me luckily. But when it does, I have found that these suggestions do work.

However, if you are uncertain about your desire to establish a firm boundary – that is when you send mixed signals which may cause a man to think “No” means “Yes”.  While “No” should always mean no, the mixed message does confuse some men. Be firm when you deliver such a message and don’t vacillate to make sure there are no misunderstandings.

In my personal experience and what I learned from over 1,500 clients, men who don’t get that “No” means no, aren’t worth it. I recommend not getting sucked into how cute he is, or how much money he has or his charming personality. If he doesn’t respect your boundaries, he doesn’t respect you.

Don’t make excuses for a man like this. Stand your ground and move on. You are very likely to be glad you did.

photo credit: raffyd

Single for too long, Ronnie wanted to find love. So, she made a few tweaks and then dated 30 men in 15 months to meet her adorable husband Paul. Discovering the keys to midlife dating, she founded It’s Never Too Late for Love to help other smart, successful women find love too! Her mission is to share her proven dating advice  and keen insights about men with women everywhere who are serious about finding love with the right man. Ronnie Ann Ryan, MBA, CCC is a Certified Coach who has helped 1,000’s of midlife women with her Love & Dating Coach services. She’s been featured on BBC’s 5 Live Radio, NBC, ABC, and Fox News, NPR, eHarmony,,, Connecticut Magazine among others around the world. An established author, you can find her 6 books on Amazon.

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