Just because you want a relationship doesn’t mean it’s the right time. Use these signs you’re ready for a relationship *or not!* before getting in too deep.
Love doesn’t make relationships magically easier. So, if you don’t see these signs you’re ready for a relationship, expect heartbreak ahead.
I cannot tell you how much of my life I craved a relationship. All I wanted was a boyfriend. I wanted cute and nauseating couples photos and hand holding. It’s something a lot of people want. We see happy endings in movies and see our married friends glowing. It looks so good. We want someone to cuddle and complain to and rave about.
I was single for six years and dreamed of a relationship, and that desire is one of the things that made me realize that I wasn’t ready for one. When I realized I wasn’t ready for what I wanted, I was able to work on those issues and become prepared for all a relationship requires.
I know it can be hard to admit that you are holding yourself back from the happiness you crave. It feels like you failed before you even started.
But accepting that I wasn’t ready for a relationship was the best thing I ever did. Not only did it help me gain more maturity and peace, when I did find someone to date, I was more calm and eager to go with the flow.
If you realize these are some things you feel or find in your behavior, take a step back and reevaluate your readiness for a relationship.
#1 You rush things. I was known for doing this at one point. I hated the beginning of dating where things were up in the air and you weren’t comfortable. Wanting to be in an official relationship before it is really time is a sign you are not ready for what a relationship entails. [Read: The speedy signs your relationship is moving too fast]
#2 You expect the worst. Going into dating with a negative mindset sets you up for a negative outcome. After being ghosted or cheated on, I didn’t expect much when dating. I stopped getting my hopes up altogether and just waited for them to bail. That proved to me that I wasn’t ready to be vulnerable.
#3 You are too nervous. Nerves are healthy. Being nervous for a first date is totally okay. But, if you are so anxious for a first date that you have panic attacks or an urge to cancel, you may not be ready for a relationship. Things will only become more serious. [Read: Dating anxiety – The 7 stages of dating panic and how to calm them]
#4 Your expectations are too high. Before I gave up hope on a relationship, I expected a lot. I thought going on a first date was committing to something. I was so nervous that the date would go well and that I’d have to do it again. Simply, I wanted the energy I put into one date to be worth it for me. But having expectations at all when dating almost always backfires.
#5 You have severe trust issues. Relationships can work if you have trust issues as long as you are vocal about them. Sometimes your past still hangs over you. If your trust issues get in the way of enjoying dating to the point that you are jealous and suspicious all the time, you probably need more time. [Read: Am I ready for a relationship? The questions to ask yourself]
#6 You overanalyze. Each message or Instagram post has some hidden meaning. You think about each word your date said or if they kissed you at the end of the night or not.
When you’re ready for a relationship, you will let your feelings do most of the work and trust them so you don’t have to do so much.
#7 You want a relationship with anyone. This was my issue for a long time. I let my desire for a relationship override my desire for a good partner. If someone was interested in me, I was interested in them. They could give me what I wanted and not because we were a good match.
#8 You have relationship goals. If you have an idea in your head of what your relationship will look like, you are not prepared for an actual relationship. If you see yourself holding hands and cuddling and going on vacations, that is a nice dream. Remember, you could find the perfect person who offers something else.
You have to be open to other things when getting into a relationship.
#9 You have a timeline. If you have a plan of being engaged by age 30, with 2 kids by 35, and a house in the suburbs and this and that, you are not prepared for the chaos and uncertainty that comes with sharing your life with another person.
#10 You hate being single. I know being single can be boring and lonely. I hated it for a long time. But once I learned how to make the most of that time and work on the things that were holding me back from what I wanted, I realized being single is also something to enjoy. [Read: The reasons you should love with yourself first before falling in love]
Signs you’re ready for a relationship
Figuring out the signs you’re ready for a relationship can be difficult. I didn’t fully realize it myself until I was headed out on a first date with my current boyfriend.
My nerves were there but manageable. I felt hopeful but knew that if the date wasn’t great that it would be fine. I let go of any expectations and just enjoyed the time we had together. And I left that date feeling open to whatever came next, relationship or not.
So, if you notice these signs you’re ready for a relationship, get out there! See what the world has to offer you.
#1 You don’t need a partner. You want one. Needing to be in a relationship to feel successful or accomplished will lead to an unhealthy and probably codependent relationship. Once you realize that you don’t need a relationship, but that you want one you will be more open to all possibilities. [Read: Single for life – how to enjoy the ride and find the one along the way]
#2 You’re prepared to say no. When you feel comfortable turning down a date or ending things with someone you’re not interested in, you are ready for the ups and downs of a relationship. You can deal with someone’s reaction when they are rejected.
You know that you are not turning down your only option at some sort of happiness by saying no.
#3 You know what you should work on. You don’t blame all your exes but can look back at your relationships and focus on what you can work on. And you understand what you’ll have to share with a new partner if you do get into a relationship.
#5 You know what you deserve. You deserve respect and maturity. When we settle for a relationship that leaves us unhappy, resentful, or fearful, we are not ready to claim our own happiness as a priority.
#6 You’re open. Letting go of expectations and being open to the possibility of something you never expected shows you’re ready for the seriousness of a relationship.
#8 You’re over your past relationships. Past relationships live with us forever. They change us and help us grow and learn. The pain that came with being cheated on may always be a memory but being over the person that caused that is what’s so important.
You can be recovering from a betrayal and learning how to trust someone and be ready for a relationship. But you can’t still be pining for your ex.
#9 You’re ready to be vulnerable. Relationships only work if you are willing to talk about the difficult stuff. You need to put your walls down and share. And you should let go of control and see what happens. [Read: How to open up to people and learn to be vulnerable]
#10 You know you’ll be okay. Taking a risk is never easy. Jumping into any relationship is a risk in some way. But, if you can do that and be vulnerable, it shows your acceptance of any outcome. You know that even if your heart breaks, you will be okay. It will hurt, but you will carry on.