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Eight Signs You May Not Be Ready for a Relationship

by Eharmony Editorial Team - April 23, 2018

I know what you're thinking right now. "Of course, I'm ready for a relationship. It's what I've been waiting so long for! I just need to know how I can get one started!"

We know what you’re thinking right now. “Of course, I’m ready for a relationship. It’s what I’ve been waiting so long for! I just need to know how I can get one started!”

Well, we are certainly not arguing that you want a real relationship. But we do challenge you to ask yourself ‘am I ready for a relationship?’. That one’s tough to answer, because it entails really looking at yourself and your beliefs, attitudes and behaviors in a real, open, and honest way. And that’s never easy.

One thing we can tell you is that we’ve been there. We’ve all wondered ‘am I ready to date?’ and been in that spot where all we could think about was how we so wanted a real relationship, with all of the affection, understanding, support and love that comes with it. And that’s when you have to ask yourself if you actually know the answer. The truth is, you might have some major changing to do.
So how do you know if you’re ready for a relationship before you start one with either the wrong guy or Mr. Right at the wrong time?

If you’re showing any of these warning signs, it means you have some work to do on yourself before you can be in a healthy, happy relationship with someone else:

1. Your compass is not pointing north.

Your great-guy compass is off. It’s consistently pointing you to the wrong type of guy. This typically happens because you’re subconsciously trying to sabotage the relationship from the beginning by choosing a guy who’s not actually relationship material. You’re somehow attracting someone who is also wondering whether they are ready for a relationship.

Your friends and family have warned you that he’s a player, or a loser, or a (enter your favorite derogatory term for a bad boyfriend here) but you’ve written them off, believing that you’re going to be the one woman that can change him into the perfect partner. No, the truth is that inside you know you won’t change him, and that’s actually fine with you because you subconsciously fear a deep relationship.

2. You need a man to feel happy.

Curiously asking yourself whether you are ready to date. Here’s a way to know you’re not: you feel miserable unless you’re coupled up. If you get an invite to a party or event, and you don’t have a man to bring, then you’re likely to make up an excuse, send your regrets, pass up the night out and sit at home feeling sorry for yourself because you are “oh, so alone.”

Then, you spend the entire night Googling ‘best places to meet men’ and reading articles about what men find attractive instead of doing something that would make you happy (like going to the party you were invited to.) The truth is that if you did meet a great guy while in this mindset, you’d hold on so tight so quickly that you’d most likely strangle the relationship anyway. Find what makes you happy before you’re in a relationship, then find someone to share that happiness with.

3. You believe you can save him.

Many women have a savior complex and they find themselves a project guy. What this really means is that they’re looking for dysfunction so that they have the drama in their lives that they subconsciously crave. It may stem from a variety of sources but the end result is that you will wind up with exactly what you’re looking for, a real project. Which, when translated means someone with some serious personal problems of their own. These problems should be left to the trained professionals. Don’t try to be a therapist.

4. You’re looking for someone to save you.

If your self-talk sounds something like “I’m such a mess” or “Why am I so insecure sometimes?” or ‘Am I good enough for a relationship?’ then you need to get that taken care of before you can be in a relationship. Otherwise, you’ll either attract a partner that has the savior complex (see above) or you’ll attract a partner with the same issues. And as much as misery loves company, misery plus misery doubles the misery. Don’t go there.

5. You’re looking for someone to complete you.

Yes, it’s true. If you’re not a whole person to begin with then the only thing you’ll be completing is your part in a completely dysfunctional relationship. And while that may still make for a good movie (think: As Good as it Gets), it’s no fun in real life. If you’re for someone to come save you, you aren’t giving yourself enough credit.

6. You’re spending more time pursuing love than pursuing your interests.

If you’re thinking to yourself right now, “The only thing I’m interested in is meeting a man,” then you’re in the deep. As we’ve said before, the best way to meet the right Mr. Right is by doing things and going places that you’d do or go to anyway, even if there was no chance of meeting a man. So, if you find yourself on Saturday nights obsessing over and constantly tweaking every word on your online dating profile, then you’re wasting valuable time that you could be spending pursuing your own interests. If you don’t have any interests, then you aren’t very interesting and that means that you’re hoping a guy will add interest to your life. He won’t because he won’t stick around long enough to.

7. You haven’t unpacked your baggage.

If you find yourself still dealing with the emotional scars left from the shrapnel of a previous breakup, particularly if you’re still feeling angry then you need to finish your emotional healing before starting a new relationship. Many women believe that a man – sometimes any man – will get their mind off of their ex and into a better place. The problem is that it never really works.

What it will do is keep your mind off of the man that you’re now starting a relationship with, cause you to feel guilty, cause him (and maybe you, too) to feel resentful, and generally make a big mess for everyone. Leave the rebounding to the basketball players.

8. You’re bending and twisting yourself like a pretzel to fit what you think the person you’re attracted to might like.

If you find yourself trying to be something other than what you naturally are, then it’s a major red flag. You can tell if you’re ready to date by watching how you change around men. If you find that you’re often trying to change something about yourself thinking it will make you more attractive to the guy you just met, then you are, like I was, lacking in self-esteem and confidence in yourself. Don’t be too hard on yourself, this is very common but it means that you need to work on finding and loving the real you before trying to love someone else.

If any of the above sound like you, then you need to start looking inward and making some changes to your life in order to get yourself ready to be with someone else. The good news? Once you have these licked, you will be ready for a real relationship. And then you’ll be in good emotional shape to start attracting the kind of man that you want to be in a relationship with, and he’ll want to be in a relationship with you too.

Why? Because you’ll both be emotionally healthy. So, when Mr. Right does walk into your life, you’ll both be in the right state of mind, in the right place, at the right time. And it doesn’t get any more right than that.

However, there are also some positive responses to ‘am I ready for a relationship?’ and ‘am I ready to date?’. How so? These signs, that mean you’re definitely in the market for a real, lasting love:

1. You are no longer afraid of getting your heart broken.

You have reached a stage in your life where finding or going after true love is far more valuable than the obstacles (read heart breaks) on the way. Your focus is clear and straight – to reach out to that one soul who is meant to share his/her soul with you.

2. You understand and believe that nothing lasts forever, except the love inside of you.

Neither relationships nor friendships last forever — everything is transient. If you’re asking yourself whether you’re ready to date then you have a level head and know that people undergo changes and so do feelings and belief systems. Even human cells undergo changes every seven years. So whatever makes you grow is the best for you. This realization has dawned on you and you embrace everything fully and completely.

3. You’re not afraid to commit because the fear of rejection or dejection has left you.

‘Am I ready for a relationship?’ You are if you are courageous enough to walk toward what gives you joy and peace, even if it involves commitment. You don’t look at commitment as a bondage of your free spirit, but you take it as a natural step towards the one you love. Commitment doesn’t mean marriage or a live-in situation necessarily but granting that emotional space to that someone special in your life, which you will not share with anyone else.

4. You feel free, alive, joyous, and ready to break all shackles within yourself.

You feel an amazing energy inside of you that stems out of deep faith in the universe and in the goodness of life. No obstacle or trouble or grief or sorrow can put you down for long. You are raring to go and experience life intensely and fully.

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5. You are open to learn all your lessons that life has to offer quickly but truly.

You act wisely, maturely, and look at every life experience as a stepping stone towards your inner self. Whether it’s a lesson of patience, tolerance, trust or anything else, you learn it from each soul crossing your path and from the one sent to teach you that lesson. For you, every experience is a call for reaching your higher self.

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