How Far Is Too Far (and what you can do about it)

In the old days it was simple; kissing was mostly OK and everything else had to wait for marriage. This once reliable standard has been replaced by the maxim: “If it feels good, do it”. Unfortunately, this new standard leads to a lot of heartaches and personal destruction. Many now ask, “How far is too far?”

These days, everyone follows their own moral standard for the appropriate level of sexual activity, so we can’t create one simple rule for everyone. Unfortunately, this means that you won’t know that you’ve gone too far until you have gone too far. However, there are warning signs that you have gone too far: a loss of joy, and an increase in feelings of guilt, shame, confusion, fear, and anger. When you notice these signs, you have gone too far.

Signs you have gone too far

1. You are no longer fun to be around: a warning from your conscience
The first sign that you’ve gone too far is when your friends say that you’re no longer fun to be around. This is a warning signal that there’s a problem in your life. Often your conscience is bothering you and it’s taking away your joy in life. Many times it’s hard for you to recognize this problem, but your friends around you can recognize that you seem to have changed. They may tell you that they don’t know why but something is different about you. Essentially, you have lost your joy in life. That’s one sign that you’ve gone too far in your physical relationship.

2. You are hiding how far you’ve gone: guilt/shame
Another sign that you’ve gone too far is when you’re you find yourself hiding how far you’ve gone. Perhaps, you’re trying to hide your level of physical affection with your boyfriend or girlfriend. If you have to hide your physical relationship, that’s a strong sign that you have gone too far. That’s often a direct result of your feeling shame and or guilt in the relationship from going too far.

3. You Don’t Know Why You’re Doing It: confusion
Another sign that you’ve gone too far is you don’t know why you’re doing this. For example, suppose you’re having a full-on sex with somebody and at some point, a friend asks you why and you don’t even know why; you don’t have a clear answer for why you’re doing it. When you say to yourself, “I don’t know why I keep doing this” that is a very strong signal that you’ve gone too far. When you find yourself confused about why you do what you do, even if it is “just kissing”, then you probably have gone too far.

4. You don’t feel safe: fear
Another signal that you’ve gone too far is when you don’t feel safe anymore; when you become afraid of being alone with your significant other. Perhaps you feel like you are giving in just to please them and that you are going farther than you want to go. Perhaps you feel pressured or even intimidated into a sexual relationship before you are ready. This feeling of fear is a very clear sign you’ve gone too far.

5. You hate it: anger, resentment, bitterness
The most dangerous sign of all is when you find your life filled with anger, resentment and/or bitterness. An appropriate physical relationship should lead you to happiness, joy, and satisfaction. But if you’re going too far, instead of being filled with happiness, you become filled with anger. In fact, you may begin wanting to get away from this person and when bad things happen to them you secretly feel happy about it. This anger is a clear sign that your physical relationship is out of balance with your emotional relationship.

***I want to make clear that although you may not think you are going too far, your boyfriend or girlfriend may disagree. So, if you see any of these signs in them: increasing confusion, fear, anger, guilt, or shame the more physical you get, then you have gone too far. If you truly care for them, you will reestablish the physical boundaries of your relationship.

 

How to reestablish boundaries (its all about respect)

Once you discover that you’ve gone too far in your physical relationships it is important to reestablish your boundaries because ultimately a successful relationship is all about respect. If you respect yourself you won’t do things that make yourself uncomfortable. And if your boyfriend or girlfriend respect you, they don’t want to make you feel uncomfortable. So, here are some steps where the two of you can recreate some boundaries that may have already been broken.

1. Honestly Identify your limits
First, individually, you need to get some quiet time alone and honestly identify what limits you have broken and are making you uncomfortable. It’s important to identify the source of your discomfort and what’s causing it. For that, you have to be brutally honest with yourself.

2. Talk about it with friends/family who supports you
A second important step is to talk about this with family or friends who you trust and support you. If you have been filled with shame or guilt, it might be very hard for you to open up and share these things with someone. But you need somebody who is completely 100% on your side and doing what’s best for you. If you skip this step you’re going to have a lot of trouble resetting your boundaries.

3. Get agreement about it with your significant other: clarify what is OK and what is not OK
Third, you need to openly discuss with your significant other what you’re uncomfortable within your physical relationship and that you need to put in some boundaries. At this point, you need to be very understanding because your boyfriend or your girlfriend may not feel the same way and they may be confused as if you are suddenly changing the rules of the relationship.

4. Insist they respect your boundaries
You may discover that your boyfriend/girlfriend resents the standard that you’re imposing on them. And you’ll be under tremendous pressure to conform to their desires. But if you give in, you’ will go back to all the old problems you had before. This is why you need to inform some family and friends so that they will help you be strong in the face of relationship conflict.

5. Be prepared to take a break in the relationship, or completely break up
If you feel more and more pressure/conflict to go too far, then you need to be prepared to take a break in the relationship. Stop dating for a few weeks until you’ve both had time to sort things out. And if your significant other just refuses to respect your boundaries then you need to be prepared to completely break off a relationship for good.

 

How to Avoid going too far

Let’s say that you’ve gone too far in the past and that you want to put up safeguards to make sure that you don’t go too far again and again. These are steps that can help you from going too far.

1. Limit Drugs and alcohol
The first thing you should do is to limit the drugs and alcohol that you take. Drugs and alcohol are very well known for their effects to alter behavior and “allow” you to do things that you normally wouldn’t do. So if you have a problem maintaining your standards of physical affection, stay away from drugs and alcohol, both you as an individual and you and your partner both.

2. Avoid being alone
If you can avoid being alone with your boyfriend or girlfriend, you can really reduce how far you go. So you can have group dating or you can bring a friend along on your date. That will certainly cool off the physical aspect of a relationship. The most important guideline would be don’t be alone together late at night.

3. Avoid anything that leads to going too far

Stay out of a situation that leads to compromising your standard. If you are part of a group that has a lot of sexual activity, you need to separate yourself from that group. If you find that going to parties leads you into going too far, then you need to limit your party going. If you find watching certain movies and videos lead you into temptation, then you need to cut back. Whatever leads to going too far, avoid it. Instead, find activities that strengthen your resolve to maintain your physical boundary.

 

Every choice has consequences

Every choice you make shapes who you are and what you will become. If you have made bad choices in the past, this is likely the reason for your current problems. If you want a life a joy, free from guilt, shame, confusion, fear, and bitterness, listen to your conscience and the words of the wise. Respect yourself and don’t let others push you beyond your boundaries. Surround yourself with those who respect you and help you become your best. Don’t compromise your standard to stay in a relationship. You can do better and deserve better. Create the relationship that you really want.

 

 

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2 Responses

  1. Shannah says:

    Honestly, I was a little nervous about reading this article at first. As a young(er) person, I almost always find myself around two types of arguments. Either there’s something totally wrong with you unless you are having sex every opportunity you get, or sexual activity of any kind is just absolutely wrong outside of marriage (and the fact that my generation thinks otherwise is proof of our moral corruption.) The two sides are mainly concerned with hurling insults at each other, and rarely take the time to listen to anyone. At 30, I know who I am, where my limits are, why they are there, and I’m not afraid to make those limits known. But what I see among my peers is, most often, confusion, and a general willingness to just go with whatever.

    So, I have to say, I found this article refreshing, respectful, and certainly helpful. To the side that tells us to do what feels good, you provided a tactful and non-lecturing reminder that consequences exist, and boundaries are necessary – even if they might be different from the boundaries of the past. And, in contrast to the side that just condemns everything it doesn’t like, you offered helpful guidelines to discover where your own limits are, and what to do about it. Thanks for that!

    • admin says:

      Thanks! I work a lot with young people from grade school to singles starting their careers. Most people just want a practical guide that they can apply to their dating lives. My goal is to provide that.

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