Is there a part of you that wants to find love but another part of you that wonders, “am I ready for a relationship?”
It’s common to have these mixed emotions.
Perhaps you want a relationship because everyone around you has coupled up, and you fear missing out on what they have. You may want certain parts of a relationship, like romance, companionship, and a teammate who is always there for you through the good and bad times. But maybe another part of you isn’t emotionally ready.
Just because you want a relationship doesn’t mean you’re ready for one. And if you aren’t fully ready, you’re likely to struggle with dating or end up in an unhealthy, short-term relationship with someone who isn’t compatible with you for the long haul. Relationship readiness is more important than you think. A 2019 study found that when two people feel ready for a relationship, the relationship they end up in is 25% less likely to end.
The good news is that even if you aren’t truly ready for a relationship right now, there are certain things you can do to move on from your ex, heal your relationship with yourself, and learn the skills you need to attract and foster a successful long-term relationship. And I’ll be sharing all of those tips with you in this article.
8 signs you’re not ready for a relationship yet
- You can’t stop thinking about your ex or want them back
- You have emotional baggage and trauma that needs healing
- You’re in an emotionally unstable phase of your life (e.g., going through big changes with your job, or a loved one has passed away, etc.)
- You are looking for someone to save or for someone to save you
- You want a relationship purely because you don’t want to be alone or because everyone else you know is in one
- You don’t know how to communicate in a healthy, respectful way
- You aren’t willing to compromise
- You are generally unhappy
Am I ready for a relationship? Here’s how to know if you’re ready for a relationship
Here are some of the clear signs you are ready for a relationship. If you find you read through this list and you tick a lot of these boxes, great! And if not, use these as tips to get started on doing the inner work that will get you to a place where you are ready to date and welcome someone special into your life in a healthy, mature way.
1. Your last relationship was a while ago
Even if you were more than ready for your last relationship to end, and you were the one who instigated the breakup, you still need time to reflect, heal and move on. Whether your relationship was relatively healthy or incredibly toxic, you must give yourself at least a few months before you start dating again.
You’ll know you’re ready once you can think about your ex and relationship and feel completely neutral. You’ve forgiven him for hurting you (if he did) because you realize that forgiveness is more for you than for him. You’re at a point where you barely think of your ex. The sound of his name doesn’t fill you with rage or sadness, or longing. You’re just completely over it and ready to start a new chapter.
2. You understand what a healthy relationship looks likes
“Am I ready for a relationship?”
That depends a lot on what you think a healthy relationship looks like. We learn a lot about relationships from our primary caregivers, usually our parents. If your parents had an unhealthy, toxic, or even abusive relationship, there’s a strong chance you learned to see this as normal. But it isn’t normal or healthy. And what happens is when you start dating, you will subconsciously look to recreate the same unhealthy behaviors and dynamics you witnessed as a child.
So I want you to get honest with yourself here. Think back to your childhood and the relationships you were primarily exposed to. Were they healthy, or were they toxic? What did you learn that you have carried with you into adulthood? Are there some beliefs you need to rewrite or behaviors you need to work on that will help you attract and build a healthy relationship?
3. You’ve done the inner work
One of the easiest ways to see you’ve done the inner work and built your self-worth and self-confidence is if you enjoy spending time alone and in silence. For example, you’re more than happy to eat dinner at the dining table alone, without the TV on or your phone in hand, and it’s a nourishing experience. Or you enjoy visiting an art gallery or taking a vacation alone. And it’s not that you always do these things alone; the key difference is that you are okay with being alone. You love you. You enjoy your company. And you’re not looking for a distraction from your thoughts.
This is why Little Love Step #1 of our 7 Little Love Steps is dedicated to building your confidence. Once you can be with yourself and feel at peace, you know you’re ready for a relationship.
4. You’re not looking for someone to complete you
If you’ve ever seen the movie Jerry Macguire, you’ll remember the famous scene near the end where Jerry (Tom Cruise) declares his love to Dorothy (Renee Zellweger) and says, “you complete me.” A part of you might think this is the most romantic, beautiful thing ever, and why can’t you meet an amazing man like Jerry who bares his soul to you? And while I’m all for men and women being vulnerable and building that emotional connection with each other, the idea that you need someone else to feel whole is damaging.
Language like this reinforces the idea that we are not enough on our own. That we can’t be happy or feel good or worthy until we fall in love and someone else declares us worthy.
I’m here to tell you that you don’t need anyone else to make you feel worthy or complete. That’s one hundred percent on you. And once you reach a place where you do feel whole on your own, that’s when you know you’re ready for a relationship. It’ll be about sharing your love, deepening your growth, and making your already amazing life even better, which you didn’t even think was possible because your life is so awesome.
5. You’re looking for an equal, not someone to “fix”
Some women are drawn to “bad boys” because they haven’t worked through childhood baggage and trauma. For example, you might have grown up with a father who was verbally abusive to your mother. An uncle who looked after you who was an alcoholic. Or maybe parents who were absent and didn’t show you enough love and attention. And because you couldn’t “save” or “fix” that person and you didn’t get the emotional care you needed, you look for a man who you can fix and who treats you the same way. He isn’t emotionally mature or stable enough to be in a relationship. He isn’t your equal, and you are drawn to that dynamic where you give your love, care, and support to someone but don’t get a whole lot back in return.
Think about it this way. If you were looking for a house and money did not enter the equation, would you choose to live in a beautiful, brand-new home that has everything you could ever need inside it, or would you choose the house with crumbling foundations and a leaky basement that is cold and damp inside and requires a ton of work? You’d choose the beautiful house!
You know you’re ready for a healthy relationship when you look for someone who is your equal rather than a “fixer-upper.”
6. And you’re not looking to be saved either
If you are looking for a guy to “save” or “rescue” you from your current life or circumstances, you’ve got a lot of inner work to do before you’re emotionally stable enough to be in a healthy relationship. You have to reach a place where you can fully be there for yourself unconditionally and achieve emotional, financial, and physical stability. If any of these things are out of balance, you will be looking for a relationship from rocky ground.
No one can heal your wounds, validate your feelings, or make you happy if you are not already doing these things for yourself.
7. You’re happy being single
Another clear sign that you are ready for a relationship is if it doesn’t phase you that you’re currently without one. You are happy and enjoy being single but also think a relationship would be great. The key message here is that while you want a relationship, you don’t need one. That’s the place you want to be.
In my experience as a dating coach, when you reach that place where you are truly happy and content with your life and open to meeting someone but not obsessively thinking about it, that’s when love comes knocking.
8. You know what you’re looking for
When you like, love, and accept yourself and know your worth and value, attracting a like-minded partner and a healthy relationship becomes much easier. But you have to know what you’re looking for.
So what are you looking for? Because if you don’t know, how will you know when you find it?
Little Love Step #2 centers on creating a love vision for the man and relationship you want to attract that is compatible with your future. With this, you will easily be able to spot (and dodge) the wrong guys and choose the right ones.
9. You’re ready to invest time and energy into dating and a relationship
Many of the women I coach in my Love Accelerator program are alpha female types. They are executives, on the board of their company or run their own business and are generally killing it at work. Ask them how they got to where they are today, and they will tell you they worked hard and invested a lot of time and energy into shaping their careers. And this is what is required when you want to build or achieve anything in life. You’ve got to be serious about it and committed to it.
Next time you wonder, “am I ready for a relationship?” move your focus to your actions. You might say you’re ready, but are you following through with your actions? For example, are you making an effort to meet new people? Have you joined a dating site, and do you commit at least 30 minutes daily to respond to messages? Do you make time to go on dates during the week?
We’ve all got other commitments and responsibilities that are important to us, like our careers, kids, and hobbies. But you can still be focused on those things and make time for dating.
10. Drama, hookups and situationships are a total turn-off
Are you drawn to chaos in your love life? By that, I mean things like dating someone you know isn’t good for you or isn’t emotionally available, being drawn to bad boys, engaging in booty calls, and finding yourself in situationships or toxic relationships with epic highs and lows? These are all signs that you aren’t ready for a healthy relationship. Because someone who is would immediately see the red flags, listen to them, and avoid these situations.
A high-value woman has no time or patience for this sh*t. While chaos might feel exciting, and the stability of a healthy relationship might be boring in comparison, she is excited about this stability. And that’s when you know you’re ready and emotionally prepared for a relationship.
11. You’re not afraid to let someone in
Are you open to and excited about meeting new people and dating, and following through in your actions? Or are you subconsciously closing yourself off out of fear of rejection, having your heart broken, or your trust betrayed?
You know you’re ready for a relationship when your desire to connect deeply with someone outweighs your fear. You’re willing to put yourself out there, be vulnerable, and give someone the chance to be vulnerable with you. You know it’s an emotional risk, and you have your concerns and fears, but you show up with courage. You show up on that dating site that a part of you didn’t want to join. You show up on that first date even though you’re nervous as hell. And you continue to display courage like this because you know love is in your future, and you are ready to let someone in.
12. You know how important healthy communication is
If you’ve had issues communicating with partners and working through disagreements (which are normal), there’s a high chance that you don’t know how to communicate healthily. Again, this is very normal because there’s no “communication 101” class at school. We learn how to communicate by watching our parents speak. If they don’t know how to communicate effectively, then chances are neither will we unless we learn this elsewhere.
Communication is one of the most important things in any relationship. Without open, honest, effective communication, a relationship cannot survive, let alone grow. If you understand this and it’s something you have worked on so you can express yourself more clearly, listen better, and even argue more effectively, that’s a great sign. And if not, remember it’s never too late to start.
13. You know how to set and honor your boundaries
Another reason many relationships are unhealthy, toxic, or even abusive is that we forget to set boundaries when dating. And even if you have boundaries, it’s another task to communicate and honor them. But as I mentioned earlier, if you have done the inner work and are at a place where you love and value yourself, you will respect your boundaries and walk away in a heartbeat from anyone who disrespects them. If you have taken time to understand and define your boundaries during the dating process and in a relationship, you’re more equipped to be in a serious relationship.
Boundaries can include what kind of man you want to date; for example, you aren’t willing to date someone who takes drugs. That’s a boundary. Another boundary could be that you won’t have sex with a guy until you’ve really got to know him and developed an emotional connection, or maybe even fallen in love. When you’re dating, there will come a natural point where conversations like this arise, and that’s the time to communicate your boundary. If a guy tries to push a boundary or blatantly disrespects it, that’s your sign that he is the wrong guy for you. Time to say, NEXT!
All these factors: confidence, availability, emotional stability, and readiness are essential areas to work on before you start dating and consider getting into a relationship. Remember that you can always work on improving these skills while dating, but make sure you have a solid foundation where you feel happy and content within. Be willing to dedicate consistent time and effort to meeting new people and going on dates. Know what you want and what your firm boundaries are.
Are you ready for a relationship? Yes or no? Tell me why in the comments below.
Editor’s note: Ready to attract love with a proven strategy? Watch this free video to learn the 7 powerful steps