Navigating Boundaries and Self-Care After a Challenging Date Experience

Posted On: June 15, 2024

Encountering discomfort or feeling violated after a date can leave lasting emotional scars. It’s crucial to address these feelings and take steps towards healing and empowerment. When someone crosses your boundaries, it’s not only unacceptable but also essential to recognize your worth and stand firm in asserting your boundaries.

Q: “I went on a date, and the guy tried to kiss me, but I turned my head away. He tried two more times before I voiced no. Then, as he left the door, he grabbed for my boobs. I told him no meant no. Why did he do that?”

A: I’m sorry you experienced this. No one has the right to touch you without your consent, and his behavior was completely unacceptable. It’s possible he ignored your boundaries because he felt entitled to physical contact or because he lacked understanding or respect for your boundaries. Sometimes, people may also misinterpret signals or believe persistence will lead to a different outcome, but it’s important to remember that your boundaries must be respected regardless of their intentions.

Q: “He turned around and accused me of being too sensitive because of my previous sexual assault, when in reality, this behavior is not appropriate in any context. He minimized me and made me feel worse.”

A: Your feelings are completely valid, and it’s crucial to understand that his reaction was unacceptable. No one has the right to dismiss your boundaries or minimize your feelings. It’s possible he reacted defensively to avoid taking responsibility for his actions, but this does not justify his behavior. Remember, your past experiences do not make you overly sensitive, and setting boundaries is essential for your well-being.


  1. Trust Your Instincts: Trusting your instincts is vital in any situation. If something feels wrong, it likely is. For instance, if you feel uncomfortable with a date’s advances, even if they seem subtle, like invading your personal space or making inappropriate comments, it’s okay to trust those feelings and take action.
  2. Distance Yourself: Recognize that someone who disrespects your boundaries and minimizes your feelings is not someone you need in your life. It’s essential to prioritize your safety and well-being. Take time to reflect on whether you feel safe and respected in this person’s company, and don’t hesitate to end further interactions if necessary.
  3. Seek Support: Sharing your feelings with trusted friends, family, or a therapist can be incredibly helpful. Discussing your experience can provide validation and perspective, helping you process what happened and gain support from others who care about you.
  4. Self-Care: Engage in activities that make you feel safe and supported. Taking time for yourself, like going for a walk, watching your favorite movie, or spending time with supportive friends, can help restore your sense of well-being and remind you of your worth.
  5. Consider Reporting: If you feel comfortable, consider reporting his behavior. Holding him accountable may prevent him from harming others in the future. If you decide to report the incident, express your feelings and concerns clearly and seek guidance from authorities or support services if needed.

Choosing Better Dates:

When choosing potential partners, it’s important to prioritize your well-being and safety. Here are some strategies to help you select better dates:

  1. Communicate Boundaries Early: Start by clearly communicating your boundaries and expectations upfront. Whether it’s about physical intimacy, communication preferences, or personal values, expressing your needs early on can help set a foundation of mutual respect and understanding. For example, you can say, “I want to make sure we’re on the same page about boundaries. I prefer to take things slow and get to know each other before becoming physically intimate.”
  2. Observe Their Respect for Boundaries: Pay close attention to how your date responds to your boundaries during interactions. A respectful partner will listen to your concerns, respect your boundaries, and adjust their behavior accordingly. If your date respects your boundaries, they might say, “I appreciate you letting me know. I want you to feel comfortable and safe.”
  3. Listen to Your Gut: Trust your instincts when assessing potential partners. If something feels off or if your date disregards your boundaries, don’t ignore those warning signs. Your intuition can be a powerful guide in recognizing red flags and protecting yourself from harm. If you feel uneasy about a date’s behavior, it’s okay to end the date early or step back from the situation.
  4. Evaluate Their Attitudes and Values: Take time to understand your date’s attitudes towards relationships, consent, and respect. Ask open-ended questions about their past experiences, beliefs, and goals to gain insights into their character and values. Look for signs of empathy, kindness, and compatibility with your own values.
  5. Consider Their Actions: Pay attention to how your date treats others, including waitstaff, friends, and strangers. Respectful behavior towards others can be indicative of how they’ll treat you in the long run. Notice if they show empathy, consideration, and respect towards others’ boundaries and feelings.

Moving Forward:

After experiencing a challenging situation, it’s important to focus on your healing and growth. Here are some steps to help you move forward:

  1. Acknowledge Your Strength: Recognize that you showed strength and courage by standing up for yourself and asserting your boundaries. Your boundaries are valid, and advocating for them is an act of self-respect. Be proud of yourself for taking steps to protect your well-being.
  2. Reflect on Boundaries: Take some time to reflect on your boundaries and how you can enforce them more effectively in the future. Consider what boundaries are important to you in relationships and how you can communicate them assertively.
  3. Practice Self-Compassion: Be gentle with yourself as you process your feelings and experiences. It’s normal to feel a range of emotions after a difficult situation. Practice self-compassion by treating yourself with kindness, understanding, and patience.
  4. Seek Support: Surround yourself with understanding and supportive people who can offer comfort, guidance, and validation. Share your feelings and experiences with trusted friends, family members, or a therapist who can provide a safe space for you to express yourself.
  5. Set Intentions for Future Relationships: Set intentions for what you want in future relationships based on your values, needs, and boundaries. Focus on building connections with individuals who respect and appreciate you for who you are, and who contribute positively to your life.

Prioritize your well-being and set boundaries that reflect your worth. Your experiences matter, and your voice deserves to be heard. Stand up for yourself, seek support when needed, and remember, you deserve respectful and empowering relationships.

You deserve to be treated with respect and dignity in all your relationships. If you ever need further support or guidance, don’t hesitate to reach out. You’re not alone in this journey.

About Dr. Martha Tara Lee

Surrounded by friends who were sexually inhibited and struck by dire lack of positive conversations around sex and sexuality in Singapore, Dr. Martha Tara Lee set out to make a positive difference in embarking on her doctorate in human sexuality before launching Eros Coaching in 2009. Today, she remains dedicated to working with individuals and couples who wish to lead self-actualised and pleasure-filled lives.

She also holds certificates in counselling, coaching and sex therapy, and her fourth degree – a Masters in Counselling in May 2018. In practice since 2009, she is the only certified sexuality educator and certified sexuality educator supervisor by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) in Singapore.

Often cited in the media, Dr. Lee is the appointed Clinical Sexologist for Singapore Cancer Society. She was recognised as one of ‘Top 50 Inspiring Women Under 40′ by Her World in July 2010, and one of ‘Top 100 Inspiring Women’ by CozyCot in March 2011. She has published four books: Love, Sex and Everything In-BetweenOrgasmic YogaFrom Princess to Queen and {Un}Inhibited.

Martha works with individuals and couples in private coaching sessions, and conducts her own workshops. She takes prides in making sure all her workshops are also fun, educational, and sex-positive. This comes easily to her because even though she is extremely dedicated and serious about her work, she fundamentally believes that sex is meant to be fun, wonderful, amazing and sacred. As such, this serious light-heartedness has shone through again and again. For her full profile, click here. Email her here.

Eroscoaching Logo

Get sex tips straight in your mailbox!