Being in a relationship with someone is a great experience, no doubt about that. But just because you want to be in a relationship, doesn’t always mean you’re ready for one.
A relationship is not all love and romance. It involves responsibility as well – as it places demands on your time and your emotional state. It also needs to be in sync with “where you are” in your own personal development.
You may have other priorities, such as education or professional development that could suffer under the demands a relationship can place on you.
Therefore, it is important to figure out if you are actually ready for a relationship before you begin one, or else you will end up making yourself – and your partner – feel unhappy and unfulfilled.
The following signs can serve as warning that you probably need to take care of some issues before you can lead a happy and fulfilling relationship:
1. You Haven’t Quite Gotten Over Your Ex.
This is a big one!
If this is an issue, you will not be ready to start a relationship that has a good chance of success. If you are still ‘mourning’ for your Ex, it will cause problems.
One reason for this is that you might want to date someone just as a means to get over your Ex, or maybe just to make your Ex jealous! This means that you’ll be too absorbed with yourself or with your Ex, and you won’t be able to really connect to another person.
Your Ex might also serve as a standard that you will end up comparing others to – a standard that perhaps no one can meet.
Don’t look for love until you have analyzed what went wrong with your Ex. I know, it can be hard to accept responsibility or realize that your Ex may not have been right for you.
But only after you’ve processed all of this, can you truly move on and be prepared to really love and commit to another person.
2. Your Past Relationships All Share Common Traits.
If you’ve always been dating the same type of people, then there’s a high probability that you may not be ready for a real and serious relationship. After all, if all of these past relationships have failed, how likely is it that the next one will be a long-lasting one?
Dating the same type of people might be comfortable for you, but a real relationship almost always involves challenges and compromises – for both of you.
The most important thing is to figure out just what you want out of a relationship, then figure out how your past relationships came up short.
Realize that a different type of person might offer the kind of relationship you actually want.
Go on dates with people who may not seem like your ‘type’; find out what they are really like – and be open to new experiences. You may be pleasantly surprised!
3. You Have Never Spent Time Being Single.
Do you go from one relationship to the next fairly quickly, without spending any time focusing on and getting to know yourself? Are you scared of being “alone”?
If this is true of you, then you are not really ready for a serious and truly satisfying relationship. If you haven’t gotten to know yourself, you can’t possibly know what you really want or what you can offer someone else.
In addition, bouncing quickly from one relationship to the next gives you no time to analyze what went wrong and to learn from your experiences.
Maybe you’re doing this to avoid confronting your own mistakes; maybe because you don’t want to feel alone. Maybe both reasons apply.
-Be a grown-up: confront your past relationships – including your bad choices or failures.
-Be brave: learn about yourself – including your desires, your talents and your failings.
If you need satisfying and supportive company, make some friends instead! That’s what they’re for!
4. You Lose Yourself in Every Relationship.
If you tend to give up everything when you start a new relationship – abandoning family, friends, hobbies and other interests in order to devote yourself completely to your new partner – it’s a clear sign that you are not really ready for a serious and fulfilling relationship.
Relationships depend on commitment, yes, but not on complete dependence. If you lose your individuality, what do you have to offer besides commitment?
Just as your partner has a right to his or her needs and desires, you must insist on your own. Completely sacrificing these things to another person is emotionally unhealthy. It takes two individuals to make for a healthy relationship, and if you completely change who you are once the relationship begins, you will no longer be the person your partner fell for. Think about this.
Clinging behavior and “neediness” are not attractive behaviors. Besides, what will you do ‘if and when’ the relationship ends? How will your family and friends that you’ve ignored feel? Will they be there for you?
5. You Are Not Really Happy with Yourself.
You cannot make another person happy in a relationship if you’re not happy with yourself. Vice versa, relying on your partner to make YOU happy, is a lot to expect from another person, and they will probably not be able to fulfill your expectations.
This will make you even unhappier over time, and you will probably end up making your partner as unhappy as you are. The end of this kind of relationship is only a matter of time.
If you are not happy with who you are or with the life you are leading, you need to do something about this yourself – instead of expecting others to do it for you.
Only once you have found a way to make yourself happy will you be able to find someone who is right for you.
6. You Have a Problem Trusting Others.
Many people drag along a lot of baggage from previous relationships into a new one. One of those items of baggage is betrayed trust. If your trust has been betrayed in previous relationships, it is natural to fear that it could happen again.
This could cause you to look for signs of unfaithfulness – even when there are none! The most obvious result is excessive jealousy, which can cause you to commit the same kinds of untrustworthy acts that you’ve experienced in the past.
If you are trying to read your partner’s emails or checking on their phone calls, you aren’t being very trustworthy.
Any new relationship means a new beginning. Unless you are a poor judge of character, your new partner deserves the same amount of trust that you demand from them.
7. You Place Value on Superficial Qualities.
Sure, money, a nice house or a sexy body are all attractive things. But if you’re willing to enter a relationship with someone ‘you do not truly value’ for the person they are, you really aren’t ready for a relationship.
Superficial qualities are not enough to make for a happy relationship, because you have to deal with and care for your partner, in order for it to work.
If you can’t stand them being around all the time, you will end up getting on each other’s nerves and squabbling about everything. A relationship based mainly on superficialities makes no one happy.
8. You Are Desperate.
If you seem to be constantly settling for relationships with people you aren’t really excited about, or hopping from one short-term relationship to another in a frantic attempt to find “the right one”, you’re probably desperate.
Desperation is not the basis for a steady and fulfilling relationship. You need to set your own ‘realistic’ standards and insist on them.
But you also need some patience – in order to really get to know the person before beginning a relationship.
9. You Communicate Ineffectively.
Communicating clearly and effectively can be difficult. Emotions often can get in the way, and words can be easily misinterpreted.
Perhaps the most important factor contributing to successful relationships is the ability to suppress knee-jerk, emotional reactions to criticism. Being willing to really consider your partner’s feedback is essential.
If you don’t feel able to really listen to what your partner is saying and make compromises, you need to work on learning how to communicate your feelings, and understanding the feelings of others – before entering into a relationship.
10. You Can’t Bring Yourself to Commit.
Do you shudder when people refer to you as someone’s girlfriend or boyfriend? That’s perfectly OK, if that’s how you feel. But it is also significant.
Commitment is essential for a relationship to develop, deepen and endure. When commitment is lacking, you will probably avoid taking steps to make your relationship more permanent, such as moving in together.
Something is holding you back. Try to figure out what that is. Until then, be aware that you may not be ready for a real, emotionally healthy and satisfying relationship.
11. You Feel Pressured to Commit.
Commitment itself might not be a problem for you. You know it is important, and you are prepared to do it, in principle. But you might be feeling pressure to commit to a relationship from people in your life – like family and friends – who pop questions such as: “Are you ever going to start dating again?”
Even your own fear of being alone might be putting you under pressure! Whatever the source, starting a relationship just in order to relieve this kind of pressure, is not a good reason.
The chances are high that you will end up making yourself – and your partner – unhappy. Realize that being single does not have to mean feeling lonely.
Being single can be a conscious choice that makes sense for you – at any time, for any number of good reasons.
If any of these signs ring true for you, you should definitely wait before trying to start a serious relationship. Take some time and consider where you are in your life, and figure out what needs to happen before you are ready to fully commit to someone.
So, are you ready for a committed relationship? Or do you need to work on some of the things we’ve just listed? If so, which ones?