One of the things that I do is talk to my girls and explain to them some of the things that have happened or that are currently happening as far as our relationship dynamics go. This is something you have to be careful with because you have to communicate things to them in a way that they will be receptive to, but it can be done if you keep their emotions in mind while you do it.
Something we were talking about earlier this week was the process of me creating boundaries and then enforcing them for each of the girls and what that did to the quality of life for all three of us. Since it’s Valentine’s Day, this sounds like a good topic to talk about.
The Basic Process for Producing Strong Boundaries
There’s a process that you’re going to go through when you display leadership and create a boundary for a girl, and it’s extremely important that you realize that women need the entire process to satisfy their emotional selves, and it’s not something that they can help. This means that you can’t get emotional yourself over the process. Instead, they need you to be their center so that they can count on you not to give in to them when they are being emotional.
The process starts with you establishing a boundary. Generally, this means that you’ll have them either do something or not do something. I’ll give some specific examples below, but we’ll keep it general for the moment. You can (and probably should) give a brief explanation of why you are setting that boundary, but you shouldn’t call it a boundary because that sounds contrived, and you shouldn’t get into a debate about it.
What’s going to happen next is that she’s going to test that boundary, and you have to hold it in place. If you asked her to do something, she’s going to complain about doing it. If you asked her to not do something, she’s going to complain about not doing it. She’s going to try to skip out on it and not hold up what you asked her to do. All you have to do is show that you’re serious about that boundary being in place without getting emotional about it, and you’ll be in good shape.
I’m going to repeat this because it’s important: You cannot get too emotional with her on this. She needs to test those boundaries and have them reinforced to feel good about the boundary itself and about your leadership. It calms anxieties in her about whether or not you’re a strong enough leader to follow, so just get used to the process.
A Physical Example
Now I’ll give some specific examples. Back when I first started seeing Ginger, I made a joke, and she punched me in the arm. I don’t tolerate that kind of thing, and I told her that was her freebie but not to do that again. This was me setting the boundary.
A few days later, we were in a department store. I made a joke, and she punched me in the arm again. I immediately let her get about a step and a half ahead of me, and I slapped her across the ass about as hard as I could. She jumped and was all like, “What the fuck?” and without getting emotional or defensive, I told her that I’d already told her once that the hitting me shit wasn’t going to fly.
Ginger was used to treating guys like shit, and she didn’t understand why. She felt a little guilty about it, but she also felt compelled to do so, and she didn’t like how she felt when she wasn’t treating them poorly.
The reason she felt compelled to do so is that all women feel compelled to test the leadership of the man they are considering following. Once that leadership is proven (by her testing boundaries and seeing that they’re reinforced), then she can relax a little and trust more in that leadership. Ginger didn’t feel right not treating guys like shit because she’d never had one that set boundaries, enforced them and showed leadership. This is that emotional component I was talking about earlier, and once those anxieties are handled, it’s smoother sailing for both of you.
A Non-Physical Example
I’ll give an example with Lola this time, and this comes from about a year ago or so. Lola works in a store where a lot of the people who work there are family (including herself). Each day for lunch, most of them would order in food from one of the restaurants in town. It’s something that they just always did. I decided to set a boundary that was going to start packing her lunch and taking it to work.
So I got with her, and I told her that I wanted her to start packing her lunch. I made sure she had a lunch container thing she could use that didn’t suck, and I gave her the reasons why she should pack her lunch. For what it’s worth, those reasons were saving money (and I gave her an idea of the amount of money she’d save a week), being able to eat a more healthy lunch, and not feeling guilty about spending money on food when she was low on funds, which was sometimes leading her to not eating lunch at all.
Then she bitched and complained and gave tons of excuses. Without getting emotional or dragged into a debate, I made it clear that this is what I wanted to happen, and I let her know that I knew she knew it was the best thing to do.
One excuse was that she was running late in the morning one day and didn’t have time to pack it. I told her to pack it the night before. This was her testing the boundary.
Another excuse was that she was afraid her coworkers would make fun of her for bringing her lunch. I told her to ask them if they planned on paying for her food so she didn’t have to. This was her testing the boundary.
Pretty soon, she was preparing her lunch for the next day every single night without a problem, and she still does this now. It’s even a point of pride for her to the point that she’s made comments before about other people who work there being dumb for paying that much for lunch everyday.
If you look at the basic process, it’s easy to understand as a whole. You set a boundary, and she tests it. You hold the boundary, and it gives her emotional comfort. That’s how you lead.