"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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