Dating After Divorce: Stand Up for Yourself to Maintain Boundaries

By day I’m a dating coach. By night (actually by day also), I’m a web marketer and writer. However, to me, everything in life is like dating. The web business can be fun and exciting and like everything else, unbelievably trying. Currently, I have a difficult client who doesn’t understand boundary issues. That certainly can be seen in the world of dating as well, especially when you are dating after divorce or dating over 40.

This client has been emailing me like crazy, yet doesn’t have time to  talk on the phone. Hmmm. I find that confusing because it takes longer to type than talk. (Or maybe that’s just my typing skills.) The point is, this client is not only taking up my time literally with this flurry of email activity, but emotionally as well. Occupying a tremendous amount of space. Ever get into this spot?

When you have issues in relationship, do you respect boundaries or inject yourself into every nook and cranny of your partner’s space? Or is your partner the one who doesn’t respect your boundaries? This boundary stuff can be very taxing. It sometimes feels very hard to clearly define your space. How do you know where and when to draw the line?

Women usually want to be nice and have people like them. These desires can make it even harder to be firm and maintain boundaries. Boundaries are your personal limits in your relationships regarding time, space, information, emotions, etc. When you have strong boundaries, people tend not to take advantage of your good nature.

My client has not been respecting my boundaries. Yesterday I received more than 10 emails, some angry, some demanding, some short, some lengthy. To me, this felt like a barrage of communication. At 10:30pm last night, I got over being nice. I responded to one of the emails, expressing that I am trying to help, but being attacked by emails – content and volume, was very upsetting. And that the author should think back to a time when their own work wasn’t valued and remember how that feels…

It was SO scary to do this. It was hard to press the enter button and send that email. But my boundaries were being battered and I needed to stand up for myself. So I did. Then I had to try to sleep. Ha!

This morning I awoke from a dream that I had gone to some one’s home who had several dogs. I am afraid of dogs. There were many different kinds from fluffy friendly-looking to German Shepherd. I was talking to the owner and the dogs became unruly, then started to attack me. They were biting me, mostly from behind. Interesting symbology there…

I was frantic and begged the owner to call the dogs off. Nothing. I appealed to the owner’s sense of reasonableness, “Can’t you please call the dogs off?” Next I screamed, “What is wrong with you?”

To understand the next part, it will help if you’ve seen the TV show, the Dog Whisperer with Caesar. He is a total magician with problem dogs. Some how he simply makes this shushing noise at the dogs and waves his hand at them. They are silenced in their tracks, sit and behave.

Well, that’s exactly what I did in my dream. I took command of the situation. I used Caesar’s  hand signal with the dogs, said shush! in the same abrupt manner that he does, and the dogs stopped biting me and sat down. Boom, just like that. Then I woke up.

First thing, I dragged myself to look at email. In it was a note from my client, apologizing for the emails and insisting that the intention was not to be attacking or upsetting. Maybe today will be easier. It seems my email worked like Caesar’s dog shushing with this client. I had taken command of the situation with my email, pointing out the client’s unacceptable behavior.

Standing up for yourself in any relationship, business, dating, or friendship, is very important and crucial to maintain your self esteem and self worth. It is NOT easy to do. But it is very necessary, completely possible and quite rewarding. If you feel attacked, if someone has crossed your boundaries, do what you can to reset them.

If you have never established any boundries, it’s not too late to start. Once you draw the line with a bully or a well meaning partner who is overwrought for the moment, and stand up for yourself, chances are extremely high the person will back down and an opportunity for order will open up. 

Push through your resistance and fear and take care of yourself. You deserve to have your back watched, even if you have to do it yourself. I highly recommend it.

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.

2 thoughts on “Dating After Divorce: Stand Up for Yourself to Maintain Boundaries”

  1. You’re right. It does give you confidence to stick up for yourself in a mature, respectful way and often the other person does apologize or back down, probably realizing that they’ve been acting immaturely themselves.

    Unfortunately, what can often happen is that when someone is treated disrespectfully, they either avoid a conflict and just ignore the situation which enables the person to continue to treat them poorly… Or they become defensive and get angry which just escalates the problem.

    Mustering up your confidence and sticking up for yourself assertively is usually the best course of action!


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