Belgium. i would say that Belgium is probably TOO FAR. Unless you’re in Holland, cos then it’s just like down the road or something…
But in our recent history or being asked to speak or lead workshops on relationships, THE ONE QUESTION that the beautiful val and i GET ASKED WITHOUT FAIL is this one: HOW FAR IS TOO FAR?
And the answer is very simple. ASK A BETTER QUESTION! Because with ‘How far is too far?’ WHAT YOU ARE REALLY SAYING is:
“I know there’s a line, there’s a cliff. But i want to know HOW CLOSE TO THE EDGE of the cliff can i get without actually being over it?”
or another way:
“How close to being bad can i actually get WITHOUT HAVING TO FEEL GUILTY?”
or something like that… and because you are asking THE WRONG QUESTION, you will never get a satisfying answer.
and if there is a line or a cliff and you spend all your time hanging out right on the edge of it, then THERE WILL COME A MOMENT when you are not strong enough to resist temptation and it is just a step away from A LONG AND PAINFUL PLUMMET from which it is not possible to come back without some scratches and bruises.
Well then WHAT QUESTION SHOULD I BE ASKING? Well it starts with my premise that all dating is done with the possibility of this person being the one that i end up married to. With that in mind – and remembering everything that was said about good break-ups in the last blog [when you realise you are not a good match] – there is always the probability that if things do not work out for me and this girl, that she will one day be SOMEONE ELSE’S WIFE.
With me so far? If things don’t work out with me and present girlfriend at some stage she will be someone else’s wife. Now be that person and work backwards from there: If you are dating someone who is one day going to be my wife, what do you think i would be happy to allow the two of you to do? And the answer is probably NOTHING!! i would not want you to do anything – in the physically intimate sense – with the girl who will one day be my wife.
Now DO NOT PANIC!!!, I AM NOT SAYING DO NOTHING. What i am saying, is that if we are able to view our relationship with this person as someone else’s potential life-long mate, it MAY HELP US TO MORE EASILY AND THOUGHTFULLY DEFINE what those boundaries are.
Because i am NOT SURE THE SPECIFICS ARE THE SAME for everyone. And i am not going to give you a list of THINGS YOU CAN DO and PLACES YOU CANNOT TOUCH [altho reproductive organs and baby-feeding appendages are probably great non-negotiable areas to completely avoid] because i think there are some KEY PRINCIPLES that if you put them in place, will make the living-out-of-it’ness a lot easier.
So THE QUESTION you frame will sound a lot more like this – HOW CAN I LOVE AND RESPECT THIS PERSON i am in a relationship with to the extent that if the dating relationship ever ends, he/she does not walk away with A WHOLE LOT OF BAGGAGE [physically, emotionally…] and HOW MUCH CAN I SAVE OF MYSELF AND KEEP SPECIAL for the person who i am going to end up marrying?