Advice on wording consent boundaries for dating

OliveJewel

MyPTSD Pro
I had one date with a man. I seem to try dating about 3 times a year. The time is here. I’ve recovered more since last time: I’m feeling better about my sense of self, of agency, and of discernment, for the most part. I’m also feeling brave as I’m wanting to try having an intimate relationship.

Hence the date: and we had a nice time: and right before we parted he leaned in as if in a trance or re-enactment we were hooked in—he was, and I was participating. And there was a thrill. The last date, G, I don’t think we kissed.

But the me now, two weeks later, is miffed that we didn’t demand consent, and that maybe we should do it as soon as possible if we think there’s a chance that we are compatible—otherwise the current me says to just move on because we’ve already made a fatal flaw, by not speaking out body boundaries *ahead of time*. If I can ask T if I can give her a hug, then my date, whoever they are, can ask if they can kiss me, and vice versa: I think they need to be brave enough to do that: I’m making that rule now: I wonder how that will play out in my interactions with D?

When I first met EX we were going to go on a hike for our first date after initial contact, but I realized that wouldn’t be a good idea, too secluded. I had enough foresight for that. Yet still he quickly burrowed into me. Did I ever talk about my body boundaries with him? 🤣 Of course not! The body was his, he rescued it from the dragon’s lair—I had no language about bodies, about self, about pleasure—only the other—I could do that—most people can’t handle that level of need for enmeshment, but of course it’s necessary for narcissists to survive—it is their emotional placenta—this need to bury myself in another who could encourage me to self-punish—that was how I was wired.

😳It really is amazing how a brain wired to abuse and accept abuse can push back, can re-organize. That is amazing.

So ex sniffed around and figured out that I would make a nice supply source and did the lovebombing. He said he always liked the girls who were in the corners at parties, the ones who cried were irresistible to him. It’s important for me to remember this perspective.

So the timing with the date is making me flash back to the red flags with ex that I should have seen. And not asking for consent is a big one. It sucks that I didn’t state it already, as I don’t like backing up, it’s uncomfortable. But I hope I can figure out a way to say, “I need you to ask for consent when you want your body to interact with my body.” But that sounds like a robot. Help?
 

coraxxx

Sponsor
You can say something around the lines of "I like when I’m asked permission to be touched". You can go anywhere from it’s something you appreciate to it’s something you in fact require for your well-being. I think that if it doesn’t come up in the first date is okay. It isn’t a fatal flaw. You were carried away, it happens, that’s cool. It doesn’t mean consent forever. Something like "I forgot to say because it was nice last time, … I really like when someone asks me for permission before a physical interaction? It makes me feel safe and happy."

Because it is nice when people ask for permission :3
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
😳It really is amazing how a brain wired to abuse and accept abuse can push back, can re-organize.

yes, it is endlessly amazing. since my own damaged brain tends to push to the opposite extreme to what i was conditioned to, boundaries which can allow a relationship to grow do sound robotic and unnatural to me. i let that be okay. it's a step away from the fortified, armored walls i used to call, "boundaries." if this is a person i can hope to grow with, they need to let that be okay, too. it's part of the package. if they need perfect, they are knocking on the wrong door.

those who matter don't mind and those who mind don't matter.

for what it's worth
i've been married 42 years and hubby STILL has to ask my permission. he doesn't mind. he asks purty, every time and i love him dearly for it. he matters.
 

OliveJewel

MyPTSD Pro
Thank you for the responses. I found this really helpful…

Something like "I forgot to say because it was nice last time, … I really like when someone asks me for permission before a physical interaction? It makes me feel safe and happy."
I really appreciate a script. That way I can imagine myself saying it.

And these gems
if they need perfect, they are knocking on the wrong door.

those who matter don't mind and those who mind don't matter.
Grateful you’re reminding me of my worth 😓. Ugh—it kind of scares me that I’m already perfectionizing. I guess the good news is I see it now. Thanks.
 

Friday

Moderator
But I hope I can figure out a way to say, “I need you to ask for consent when you want your body to interact with my body.” But that sounds like a robot. Help?
How do you plan on asking for HIS consent?

Most people mirror, fairly intuitively. So the way you ask him, will most likely be returned.

Of course, some people (like me) flat out refuse when asked. Because nonverbal communication is essential to my own well-being/happiness. Which has nothing to do with the other person (IE you, if you’re the one asking or wanting to be asked / either way), & is 100% personal preference.

You can say something around the lines of "I like when I’m asked permission to be touched".
This is a lovely way to encourage that, for sure. THIS, absolutely. Esp if you DGAF if he consents verbally, but only wish your own consent.
 
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OliveJewel

MyPTSD Pro
Most people mirror, fairly intuitively. So the way you ask him, will most likely be returned.
I can see how useful this would be if we hadn’t already kissed. I am now remembering how strict and upfront I used to be about kissing rules when I dated three years ago.

Since he already kissed me without asking then I assume his preference would be non-verbal.

I used to talk about preferences up front. But I was also very focused on sex last time. This time I’m calling it physical intimacy, but it’s the same thing, just from a different perspective. I have not practiced consent talk in this current body mindset. Consent talk is sex talk. I don’t have practice. This is my opportunity.

But I don’t want to bulldoze it. I have to try to find the right moment. I wonder if I could say something when I notice him “going in” for a kiss or a touch. I wonder if it’s too late then, if I need to be upfront and let his reaction be his reaction. Safety is going to be extremely important the further I go in my goal of physical intimacy.

Mirroring. Ask for his consent when he already didn’t ask for mine? I can not picture how that conversation could go.

“Even though you didn’t ask if you could kiss me, could I touch my foot to your foot? I need consent talk to feel comfortable.”

Except you know what? If I’m turned on or feel like this person needs to discharge, then I rebel against consent talk. Fawning happens. That’s why ex told me I couldn’t control myself, and why his jealousy was appropriate because I had no agency. Which was a lie. I can control myself. But there are aspects of sex that involve letting go, and letting go of verbal communication happens, it seems sometimes.

I mean, that’s what I’ve experienced so far. When I dated three years ago I was in a different place.

I wanted this experience. Why do I have to convince myself of that? I can have a good time no matter what. I can speak. I can contain myself. I can be safe. I can be watchful.

I must be conflicted about wanting physical intimacy at all. Like when I was a teenager, echoes of that fear of splitting myself. I used to think in two. Now I see that there’s another experience of splitting.

How do you merge friendship and dating, when the focus is sex from the start? How do you graft it? Is it like a pretend friendship in the beginning? That seems like a whole new thread. Sheesh.
 

coraxxx

Sponsor
Except you know what? If I’m turned on or feel like this person needs to discharge, then I rebel against consent talk. Fawning happens. That’s why ex told me I couldn’t control myself, and why his jealousy was appropriate because I had no agency. Which was a lie. I can control myself. But there are aspects of sex that involve letting go, and letting go of verbal communication happens, it seems sometimes.
Ugh, that has been weaponized against me too @OliveJewel . Whatever these pricks have as an opinion on your personal agency and sense of self is simply their projection and their manipulation to guilt trip you and has little to do, in fact, with your true responses, and everything to do with their need to control and to exploit your wounds.

If someone decent understands you do have in fact a fawning problem or some form of withdrawing or going along… they’ll be understanding about it and eventually concerned about your safety and showing support rather than guilt-tripping you for not being some anti-sex fortress. Because guess what. Human interaction is messy. Boundaries are something dynamic and people change over time. And you have the right not to know and be confused. You don’t have to be a fully healed perfection to deserve care and consideration. You don’t have to be perfect, or even normal.

It is hard to get out of this and not to loathe ourselves for having, seemingly, let things get out of control by going limp or just mechanically follow through. But probably that was a reasonable response. It does exist for a reason. I did experience first person how going entirely limp, like an inanimate piece of cloth, can be so daunting and weird assailants step back. Or just going along so it’s just, eh, faster. All these are morally shamed responses, but they have great survival rates. They have great survival merit. And they should be valued for that. I got far worse injuries for the times I did fight.

I wouldn’t see a problem in asking for his consent to touch his foot with your foot, no matter what happened or not before. Consent isn’t a contract you sign once for all. It isn’t a word you cannot unsay. You have the right to change your mind. To test different things, even with one person. He might find it weird, but it isn’t your problem. You aren’t perjuring yourself by not being a block of coherence and consistency. You are being a living being.
 

OliveJewel

MyPTSD Pro
He might find it weird, but it isn’t your problem.
Yes. I can tell myself this. I can believe this.
You aren’t perjuring yourself by not being a block of coherence and consistency. You are being a living being.
Thank you 🥺 Dang! Forgot again! 🤦‍♀️

I can remember that. I like it phrased that way—“I’m not perjuring myself by not being consistent and coherent. I’m a living being.” That’s a helpful way to frame it.

And I do not want to be love bombed. And I don’t know how the conversation would go of trying to tell someone that I tend to fawn. Never considered that I would need to but makes a ton of sense. I need consent role play. Is there an app for that? 😅
 

coraxxx

Sponsor
Yes. I can tell myself this. I can believe this.

Thank you 🥺 Dang! Forgot again! 🤦‍♀️

I can remember that. I like it phrased that way—“I’m not perjuring myself by not being consistent and coherent. I’m a living being.” That’s a helpful way to frame it.

And I do not want to be love bombed. And I don’t know how the conversation would go of trying to tell someone that I tend to fawn. Never considered that I would need to but makes a ton of sense. I need consent role play. Is there an app for that? 😅
I think if you look up "enthusiastic consent" you might find a lot of resources regarding that. I remember reading something like consent is like getting in a pool every time (I don’t remember exactly how the metaphor worked, but it was with the idea it was something fluid). It’s talked a lot about in poly, aro, greyro and all possible flags communities, I am certain you can find experiences and phrasings that resonate with you.
 

OliveJewel

MyPTSD Pro
I did it! I practiced saying the words that you gave me @coraxxx and then I said them at what felt like a good moment. And I used the technique you suggested @Friday of modeling the behavior that I wanted to experience in him. And at the end he was asking me if he could hug and kiss me! 🏆

And besides that we had a nice conversation and we talked a bit about polyamory and what we hope for in dating. And also about music and travel: he’s a good listener and talker too. I’m proud of myself.

I pulled cards beforehand and that was really helpful. I did the four directions and asked the following questions:
1)What do I think will happen?
2)What do I hope will happen?
3)What will happen?
4)What’s something helpful to remember?

Answers:
1) King of swords, reversed (Meaning, loss of discernment, getting carried away with my emotions, worry, loss of control)
2) 0, The Fool (Meaning, new beginnings, falling in deep)
3) Ace of Wands, reversed (Meaning, holding back, not going too far, contemplating goals, harnessing energy, patience)
4) 10, Wheel of Fortune (Meaning, everything has a purpose, the universe has your back, trust in the opportunity for growth)

Grateful for the support—it helped significantly.
 
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