When everyone around you seems to be dating and are in a relationship, you may start asking yourself, “When’s my turn? When will I find love?”
Society gives us messages every day of every month that we should be dating by a certain age, having sex by a certain age, married by a certain time, and having children at some point as well. And if you are still single and not hitting these socially-constructed milestones, then society says there’s something wrong with you.
But there’s a reason you haven’t found true love in healthy relationships … yet.
Ask yourself this: “Am I ready for a relationship?”
Does it mean that you should be ready for a relationship just because “they” say you should be in one? Are you truly ready to love and be loved?
Do you know what it takes to have a successful, healthy relationship? Better yet, do you even know what you’re looking for in a potential partner that could lead to a lasting relationship?
Chances are you probably answered “yes” to all of these questions. But you’re probably also questioning your current or past relationships, which means you might not be as ready as you think.
So, if you’re wondering, “Am I ready for a relationship?”, here are 6 honest signs you’re not there … yet.
1. You can’t define what a healthy relationship is.
Defining a healthy relationship requires more than looking at someone else’s relationship and attempting to be like them. It also requires committing to learning more about yourself and the baggage you bring to the relationship.
Being in a relationship without defining what is healthy is a set-up for an “anything goes” type relationship. People who can’t define a healthy relationship like to say things like, “Let’s just go with the flow”, “Let’s not put labels on us”, or “I don’t want anything too serious.”
Let’s make sure you take time to really explore who you are, why you have certain beliefs about relationships, and how you can be a better partner and better select a partner.
2. You lack purpose and vision.
Many relationships are without a purpose or vision. Unsurprisingly, these relationships consist of individuals without a purpose and vision as well.
A purpose is a sense of why you exist and what you feel led to or called to accomplish in your time on Earth. Your vision is what you have indicated are the objectives in the future you will accomplish.
Many people believe in putting the cart before the horse and getting into a relationship then defining their purpose and vision. Unfortunately, this often leads to dating and investing in unfulfilling relationships while living an unfulfilling life.
Establishing your purpose and vision first allows you to establish a fulfilling life while minimizing the number of unfulfilling relationships and people in your life. Take some time and explore your personal values. Create your purpose and vision statements as well. Then live accordingly.
3. You have unhealthy relationship boundaries.
There are 3 main types of boundaries: rigid, porous, and healthy boundaries. Rigid boundaries mean you’re more likely to avoid intimacy and close relationships and you may be described as emotionally detached in the relationship.
You keep others at a distance. No partner will want to stay with you with these boundaries.
If you have porous boundaries, you have difficulty saying “no” to your partner’s requests, even when you don’t want to. Also, you over-assume responsibility for your partner’s challenges, you are dependent upon their opinion of you, and you accept abuse and disrespect.
A partner may stay in the relationship with you to get as much as they can out of you or they may leave because they feel too emotionally drained by your neediness.
It is only after you have healthy boundaries (i.e. you refuse to compromise your values for others, you accept your partner’s “no”, and you can communicate your needs and wants) that you are ready to be in a relationship.
4. A relationship is your “prescription” for loneliness.
Loneliness has become synonymous with “single” in our culture. And many people dread the idea of being single as if it’s a life sentence in prison.
But loneliness is not the same as being single. Many married people in counseling often complain about being lonely, unheard, unsupported, “feel like a single parent”, and “feel like we’re roommates”.
Loneliness is more about your relationship with yourself. Do you love yourself? Do you take care of your needs? Do you have a relationship with God or a higher power you believe in?
Loneliness, like a serious drug, will cloud your judgment in dating. You sacrifice your values and principles and overlook relationship deal breakers for the sake of not being lonely. Resolve your loneliness before you become emotionally involved with someone.
5. Being someone’s option is acceptable.
Unless you’re in an open or polyamorous relationship, being any number on a list of partners is a sign of desperation and usually results in you being hurt.
In fact, you’re still mostly single with an occasional partner. In this situation, you are accepting that any attention is better than no attention, and any disrespect is better than no disrespect. This is a lose-lose situation. Even if you “win” and become the “only one” they choose to be with, you now have to consider if this person can commit solely to you.
You are worthy of being someone’s only partner. You deserve to be loved, respected, valued and supported wholeheartedly, unequivocally, and uncompromisingly.
6. You are uncoachable.
In a relationship, love is a mutual effort. The Golden Rule says we should do unto others as we would have them do unto us. In theory that is a good policy to hold. Unfortunately, not everyone requires the same needs met in order to feel loved.
According to author Gary Chapman, there are five love languages: words of affirmation, receiving gifts, acts of service, quality time, and physical touch.
According to the golden rule, if your top love language is acts of service, you’d elect to provide your partner acts of service because it’s what you’d want in return. But if their top love language is actually words of affirmation, then they are not getting their needs met the way they’d like. Consequently, the relationship could be adversely affected.
Loving your partner the only way you want to love them will hurt your relationship so you need to be coachable so that you can have a healthy relationship.
Relationships are complex and require a lot more than “they say” and “let’s just see what happens.”
You have baggage that may complicate how you view relationships and yourself. Challenges with any one or more of these points above are more like to indicate a deficit in your relationship with yourself first which will inevitably lead to deficits in your relationships with others.
Although this is not a comprehensive list, these six points are a great start to achieving preparedness to be in a healthy and long-lasting relationship. Contact a relationship expert to help you work through any of these points so that your next relationship is your best relationship.