Are You Even Ready For A Relationship?

Happy Cyber Monday everyone!

This morning while I was trying to forumlate a decent Christmas shopping list, I was thinking about what I wanted to write about today.  In mining the long topic list in my head, it occured to me….how can someone ever be couple-tastic if they aren’t really ready for a relationship?

If you surveyed 100 people, I would bet that 99 of them would tell you that they absolutely want to be in a relationship. Interestingly, however, there is nothing out there that actually prepares you to be ready for or that explains what a real relationship should be like. (I’m thinking I could be the first to create and offer a relationship readiness training bootcamp – how about that? ) As a result we all flounder around fitting square pegs into round holes, watching misleadingly dramatic movie relationships and getting freaked out by the divorces around us until eventually over a lot of time, we learn enough about ourselves, what we can handle, and what we actually want, to be able to identify the real right person.

Unfortunately, until that moment of self- awareness actually happens we struggle through a myriad of Mr. and Ms. Wrongs that make us doubt ourselves, our sanity and our ability to be strong enough to handle a relationship.

Well, the good news is you can definitely handle it. But, the bigger question is, are you really ready for it? What are you even doing to prepare for “the one” (besides wishing, that is?).

Relationships are a big freaking deal, folks. They are not for the faint of heart and they are certainly not for quitters.

Finding and keeping a good relationship requires a great deal of self-knowledge….Learning what you actually want in a mate – beyond the superficial level – is incredibly important. What’s on your list of non-negotiables? What are your must-have’s in a partner? How have those two lists changed over time as you’ve dated more and more? That’s the key thing to note – what have you learned about yourself and your needs from all these dating duds?

It’s also really important for you to feel good about yourself. Happy people attract other happy people. No one wants to date Debbie Downer, right? So, if you’re gearing up to find “the one”, you might want to spend some time getting to really know YOU.

Here are some really good things to think about in the quest to prepare yourself for a relationship:

Are you comfortable spending time by yourself? A person who’s ready to be in a relationship is comfortable with who he or she already is. Do you already strike a balance between spending time with friends on Saturday and spending time by yourself on Sunday? And by “time” I don’t mean an hour spent alone getting ready to go out with people. I mean quality time alone in a park, or a museum, or just sitting at home reading a good book (NOT chatting on the Internet or watching TV!). The goal of spending time by yourself is to build mental and emotional self-reliance and, ultimately, to become your own best friend. Only then will you have the emotional resources to intimately share your life with someone on a long-term basis.

Do you like yourself? Have you ever seen the play RENT?  There’s a great line from the show that says, “You’ll never share real love until you love yourself.” It’s so true! If you don’t like yourself, if your self-esteem is in the toilet and sinking fast, it’s natural to try to find someone else to make you feel better about yourself: “Hey! He likes me! I must be an okay person.”  Finding someone else to boost your self-image is the worst possible thing you can do. If you need help with this, it’s absolutely ok to seek out a therapist to work with you on your self image. FYI – abusers like people who don’t like themselves, so don’t put yourself in a vulnerable position. Be the best you, that you can be.

Have you ever lived alone? So many of us go from living at home with our parents to living with college roommates to living with a significant other, to living with several significant others in succession that we don’t know how to live by and with ourselves. This relates back to question number one, above. Living alone forces us to sometimes be alone – even when we’d rather not. Living alone also forces you to become a responsible, self-reliant person. In other words, a grown-up. Bills have to be paid on time, the toilet has to be unstopped, and trash has to be taken out – and there’s no one else around to do these things but you. Captain obvious moment:  people who make the best candidates for a stable long-term relationship are grown-ups. And they’re going to limit their search for Mr. or Ms. Forever to people they can tell are fellow grown-ups.

Are you solidly on a career path or slumming it? You may be the best hamburger assembler on the planet, but if you’re switching crappy jobs every six weeks, people looking for a long-term romance are going to pass you over in favor of someone stable every time. Why? People want to be with someone they can admire.  So build the best YOU possible.  Plus, self-improvement builds self-esteem. Self-esteem builds healthy, long-term relationships.

Are you emotionally mature enough? You pay your bills on time, have a spotless refrigerator and can wash a car with the best of them, but every time you get into a relationship you’re calling his or her cell phone every half hour on the half hour “just because I need to.” If something bad happens to you at work, it’s never your fault. Come to think of it, none of your past break-ups were in any way your fault, either!  Grow up. And think. You probably don’t want to spend the rest of your life with some clingy, needy, immature, whiny person who never acknowledges his or her own errors and who never makes amends when something goes wrong. That wouldn’t be very much fun, right? Well, guess what? If you’re like that yourself – and be honest, you could be and not even know it – no one is going to want to spend the rest of his or her life with you.  So banish, Mr. or Ms. Needy stat! 

Let’s discuss….what are you doing to prepare for Mr. or Ms. Right? What have you learned about yourself and your needs from your past relationships?

These great tips came from here

 Photo credit: jurvetson’s Flickr photostream


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I'm a married publicist who holds a Master's degree in psychology, with a concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy. I'd like to make the world a better relationship at a time.

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15 Comments on “Are You Even Ready For A Relationship?”

  1. November 28, 2011 at 8:34 pm #

    My biggest problem: Everyone else thinks I am ready for one.

    I love meeting new people and socializing. I’m not sure I want to mate-up and deal with clothes that never find the hamper… Frankly, I like me, I like how I do things… and I don’t want to change.

    Majorly selfish?

    • December 5, 2011 at 3:18 am #

      Nah. I think it’s incredibly insightful. Too many people walk through life doing things because they feel like they “should” or are “expected to.” I think it’s much better to navigate your own path and come to things when on your own terms when you’re ready. And, some people will never be ready because it’s just not for them…and there is nothing wrong with that.

  2. November 29, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

    Would being afraid to be alone or hurt again, be classified as not being emotionally ready?

    • December 5, 2011 at 3:20 am #

      I think so, Emmy. It’s important to think through and recognize the issues that are holding you back. It might be worthwhile to spend some time working through those feelings with a therapist or on your own. I recommend doing the workbook Calling in the One. It’s been a big help to several friends of mine. HUGS!

  3. November 30, 2011 at 2:29 am #

    Loved this post! I think I would be one of those people signing up for relationship readiness- not because I don’t think I’m ready but because I could learn something – then again I may learn am not ready lol! This the questions posed were real and important. Many people don’t think in those terms.

    What am I doing to prepare myself – I look at my flaws and shortcomings from an honest place and I tackle them one at a time. I ask people who give honest opinions and I listen.

    What have I learnt? I need someone who can and will talk to me about every and anything at any give time but at the same sit, look at each other and enjoy comfortable silence!

    • December 5, 2011 at 3:23 am #

      Everald – thanks so much for reading! I love to see a guy’s perspective here. And, I am super impressed with your way of thinking. It’s sometimes tough for people to realize that they can improve themselves…but I agree and think that we ALL can.

      PS – I like your blog too!

  4. drgeraldstein
    December 1, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

    Thanks for this and for reading my blog. The crucial idea of self-reflection and self-awareness is at the core of what you are saying — I couldn’t agree more. Too many of those I counsel have spent time looking at the flaws in their partners without looking very much at themselves. If you have repeated relationship failures, it is essential to ask what is your own part in the process. At the very least, you are making poor choices of the people you fall in love with.

    • December 5, 2011 at 3:29 am #

      Hi Dr. Stein:
      Thanks for reading my blog, I’m so grateful for your insight here!
      Isn’t the saying that the common denominator in a string of bad relationships is YOU? 🙂

      I totally agree that it’s very important to look for what our role is in our relationship patterns…to me that’s part of being couple-tastic, to be the best you can be so that you can enter healthy, meaningful relationships with quality people….and know how to walk away from those not worthy of you and your time.

  5. adalamar
    December 2, 2011 at 10:25 pm #

    After having a horrible experience, I have spent quite a bit of time sitting down and thinking about what you have written. This is very good advice

    I am preparing myslef by honestly looking at my flaws. I need to learn to be more open and vulnerable. And I need to give fewer chances. In the past I have gotten so caught up in trying to be nice and fair, that I hung on to relationships long after they should have ended.

    Clearly knowing your boundaries is part of getting to know yourself. Thanks for sharing!

    • December 5, 2011 at 3:34 am #

      Adalamar: I think you’re already ahead of the game just knowing that about yourself. So many people never even get that self-aware.

      I think that so many of us women have the “too nice” gene. It causes us to put up with crap that we shouldn’t ever put up with.

      You know…I have a theory that people often push the envelope with others to see how much they will put up with and how much of a pushover they are. A lot of guys will date someone who has fewer boundaries (likely because it means faster sex) but ultimately, they want to be with someone they can admire and respect…which means someone who draws the line in the sand about what’s acceptable, and sticks with it.

  6. December 4, 2011 at 4:40 pm #

    I’d like to read that book one day that you will write.. 🙂

  7. December 5, 2011 at 3:35 am #

    Awww…Thanks so much Princess Laila! 🙂

  8. December 6, 2011 at 6:21 am #

    Amazing! Very insightful… and true! The hard part is being honest enough with yourself to answer those questions truthfully. Well written!!

  9. December 7, 2011 at 12:03 am #

    I’ve definitely learned from past relationships, I think that’s part of being in a relationship. It’s a learning process, and I have gained a lot from it.

    I think it is extremely important to love yourself and be able to know who you are before even attempting to be with anyone else!

    Great post!


  1. Are You Ready for a Relationship? | Survival Stories of the Short and Single - December 7, 2011

    […] recently came across a post on a relationship blog which poses the question, “Are You Even Ready for a Relationship?” Before reading the article I thought, well maybe I’m not ready, maybe my not being […]

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