7 Signs You're Not Ready For A Serious Relationship

"Being in a relationship is a full-time job. Don't apply if you're not ready."—Unknown

Love & Relationships

"Ready" is a great word. Have you ever looked it up before? When you're ready to do something, it means that you are "completely prepared or in fit condition for immediate action or us". It also means that you're "duly equipped, completed, adjusted, or arranged, as for an occasion or purpose". When it comes to the question of whether or not you're ready to be in a serious relationship, where a lot of people trip up is they only focus on another definition of the word—"willing". In other words, because they want to be in one, they believe that they are completely prepared and duly equipped when oftentimes, that's not even close to being the case.

So, how can you know if you're someone who doesn't just want a serious relationship but is personally at a point and place where the Universe agrees that you are truly ready in every sense of the word? Take a moment and run down this list of seven things. If you can relate to three or more, it's probably best to remain on your own a bit longer, do some self-work and revisit a little later down the road—for the sake of you, your heart, "his" heart, and both of y'all's oh so very precious energy and time.

1. YOU’RE NOT READY IF: You Suck at Compromising


Back in the day, I knew someone who had her entire wedding planned…while she was single. I don't mean she had a cute lil' Pinterest account. I mean, she had folders, swatches, the whole nine. In short, she had, what I call, "wedding porn" (because anything done in excess can be considered porn). When I asked her, "How do you know if your husband is going to like all of this stuff?", she paused, looked at me like I was crazy and said, "I don't need his opinions. It's my day." Eventually, she did get married. Twice. The thing that both of her husbands complained about is she didn't know how to compromise. Hmph. Imagine that.

I don't know one single healthy or functional relationship that doesn't consist of daily compromise—of two people coming together to see how they can find peace and harmony, mutually so, in their relationship, even if that means they don't always get all of what they want…all of the time.

If you just read that and rolled your eyes, chances are, you struggle with compromising. And that's a HUGE sign that if you did attempt to get into something serious, you'd struggle. BIG TIME. (Think Molly and Asian Bae Andrew from this past season of Insecure.)

2. YOU’RE NOT READY IF: You’ve Got Unresolved Past Relationships (or Situationships)


One of the absolute worst things anyone can do is to use a new person to try and get over a past one. It's not fair to either one of you because, until you get your past right, you're not going to be fully present in your, well, present. I'm not just referring to rebound relationships either. I'm talking about—if you know there is someone in your past who you're still tied to in some way (check out "6 Reasons Why You STILL Can't Over Your Ex"), even if it's just because you weren't able to get closure with them at the time (check out "How To Get Closure If Your Ex Won't Give It To You"), while you might not opt to go on a heart pieces tour like I did a few years back (also check out "Why Every Woman Should Go On A 'Get Your Heart Pieces Back' Tour"), it can only benefit you to do some journaling and maybe even see a therapist about why, on some levels, you may be mentally or emotionally stuck on some levels.

Trust me, I know from very up close and personal experience that, when you don't get clear on your past relationships and/or situationships, you can go into another relationship expecting someone else to make up for what a past person has done (which isn't their fault or responsibility) or, you can find yourself constantly comparing them to your past (which isn't fair). You won't give the new relationship the kind of chance that it deserves. And that could prove to be a waste of time, both for you as well as for them.

3. YOU’RE NOT READY IF: The Thought of Exclusivity Totally Turns You Off


Yes, I know that as the world is ever-changing, the way people see relationships is shifting too. In this case, I'm speaking of a relationship that consists of two people only; two people who have mutually-agreed upon plans of turning what they've got into something long-term. That said, I know a woman who is always wondering why she's not in a serious relationship. Thing is, when I asked her about why all of her past ones haven't worked out, she admitted that she was either too flirty with other guys or too restless with the person she was in the relationship with. It was like, in theory, she wanted to be with someone but when it came to the day to day of what being exclusive required, she wasn't really interested.

Last fall, I wrote the article, "Single-Minded: So, What If You Like Dating But DON'T Desire Marriage?" because I personally don't think there is anything wrong with not being the "date to marry" kind of person. But most people, when they think of the phrase "serious relationship", exclusivity is definitely a part of the equation. If you want companionship, you can still get that from dating multiple people. But if you think a serious relationship is one you're ready for, the other guys are gonna have to go. If that doesn't sit well with you—don't get into one.

4. YOU’RE NOT READY IF: You’re Impatient AF


I dig a lot of quotes from the poet and theologian Rumi. When it comes to the topic of how to make a relationship work and last, one of my favorites is, "Patience is not sitting and waiting, it is foreseeing. It is looking at the thorn and seeing the rose, looking at the night and seeing the day. Lovers are patient and know that the moon needs time to become full." I try and say this as often as possible because, if you want a relationship to work, it's important that you know that patience isn't just about waiting. It's also about putting up with some things that you probably would prefer not to—like stuff that irritates, provokes or annoys you—without doing a lot of complaining, freaking out or threatening to end the relationship.

One way to know if you're this kind of individual is to ask your friends for their insight. If they tell you that you tend to be impatient with them, or even if you're someone who struggles with waiting calmly in a grocery line or you can't go a day without screaming at a car in front of you when you're in a traffic jam—while this doesn't totally mean that a serious relationship isn't what you need right now, it can reveal that you're gonna be triggered, A LOT, if you don't master some patience before getting into one.

5. YOU’RE NOT READY IF: You’re a Low-Key Love Addict


This might seem like a bit of a curveball because, how can you really want to be in a relationship, to the point where you're basically consumed by the thought of it, and it be a sign that a relationship is the last thing that you need to be in? I say it often that, one of my favorite quotes is by Voltaire. He once said, "The excess of a virtue is a vice". This basically means, anything, done in excess, isn't good for you. And yes, even when it comes to love, it's not healthy to be addicted to it (check out "6 Signs You're A Love Addict"). If you're pressed for time and you want to know what some telling indications of love addiction are without actually reading the article I just referenced—you get into relationships too quickly; you overly romanticize connections; you always choose emotionally-unavailable people; you're codependent; you're needy AF; you lead with sex and every failed situation ends up totally devastating you.

Now that you see what some telling signs of love addiction are, you might have a clearer picture of why being a love addict made this list. Someone who struggles in this way doesn't need a relationship; what they need is to learn how to love themselves—first. Otherwise, they'll constantly be in relationships with people who aren't right for them which could end up harming and jading them to the point where they can never get healthy and right for the man who truly deserves them. Does this actually apply to you?

6. YOU’RE NOT READY IF: You Can’t Remember the Last Time You Were by Yourself for Six Months Straight


Kind of on the heels of the point I just made, another telling sign that you're not ready for a serious relationship is if you can't remember the last time you weren't involved in something—dating someone, in a relationship with someone, just sleeping with someone, getting over someone— for at least six months. Does that sound drastic? I promise you that it only does if you're an individual who has never been intentional about not being involved with a guy, for a semi-long period of time, before. Take it from me, if you never take the time to enjoy 1) dating yourself; 2) fully healing from your past, and 3) even being abstinent for a while, all of the "residue" from the men who you've already been involved with can "taint" your perspective on what you truly want and, more importantly, what you really need. As a result, you could end up in a serious relationship that doesn't really serve you; one that ultimately ends up being a waste of your valuable and precious time.

There is nothing like being so whole and clear within yourself that you don't need a man; you simply would like to be with someone if they complement you and your life. It's so much easier to determine the difference between the two if you spend some time—at least six months—alone before considering getting into a serious relationship.

7. YOU’RE NOT READY IF: You Have Absolutely No Idea WHY You Want Something Long-Term


I don't care what the issue or scenario might be, if you want to get down to the root of what your motive is for doing anything in life, figure out your "why". Remember when I referenced journaling earlier? If you really and truly feel like you're ready for a serious relationship, take out a pen, open up your journal and jot down why. If answers come up along the lines of, because everyone else is in one, you're lonely or your clock is ticking—while those reasons are valid (because all feelings are), they aren't the best kind to prompt you to get into anything serious.

Contrary to what pop culture likes to shove down our throats, two halves don't make a whole and a relationship doesn't miraculously fix the internal voids or fears that we have. In order for a serious relationship to truly thrive, it's best that both individuals love themselves and find inner peace before getting together.

That way, not only does the relationship have the potential to go the distance, but it can be a healthy and happy one too. It's when you really and truly get this that you can determine if you're ready for a serious relationship—or not. So, take a deep breath and get really real with yourself…are you?

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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