If there is one universal truth, it’s that love (and relationships) is not easy. While we all want to be with someone who makes us feel loved and appreciated, we are not always in the right state of mind or stage in our lives to start a committed, long-term relationship. A committed relationship requires an equal amount of effort from both parties involved. If you are not able to give your partner what they need to be happily involved in your life, then you may not be ready to start a relationship. Are you wondering where you stand in the ready-not ready debate? Here are some signs that you may be ready to dive head first into a committed relationship.
Signs You’re Ready for Commitment
1. You’re Happy Being by Yourself
It may seem counterintuitive, but one of the biggest signs that you’re ready to be in a committed relationship is when you’re satisfied with being single. People who are single and happy have developed a committed and positive relationship with themselves. The truth is, if you’re not happy being single, you won’t be happy in a relationship. In fact, one can never achieve happiness or life satisfaction without practicing and achieving self-compassion. One must be satisfied with their own life before letting someone else become a part of it.
2. You’re at the Right Stage in Your Life
While there is nothing wrong with pursuing a relationship, if you are not financially, emotionally or spiritually where you want to be, perhaps you need to focus on yourself before focusing on a relationship with someone else. A healthy relationship requires time and energy, both of which can distract you from other important aspects of your life. Jumping into a committed relationship may take away very valuable time that could be dedicated to accomplishing your goals.
You may also want to hold off on starting a relationship until you’ve experienced everything that you want to. Your partner may not want you to spend half of the year backpacking across Europe or living out the next 5 years of your life like a bachelor/bachelorette. Make sure you get all of these experiences out of the way before settling down, or it could lead to conflicts and feelings of regret down the road. If you are happy with where you are in your life and have been putting a lot of thought into the idea of starting a relationship, you are probably ready to start looking for one.
3. You’re Willing to Make Sacrifices
When starting a relationship with another individual, their life will become a part of yours. That being said, there are things that both people are consequently going to have to sacrifice to make the relationship work. While there may be an infinite number of things one may have to sacrifice, this is a list of the most expected:
- Alone time
- Your good mood when your partner is dealing with a bad day
- Time with your friends
- Always getting your way
- Your money (some of it at least)
- Harmless flirting
- Complete freedom to do whatever you want
Being in a relationship does not mean you have to sacrifice who you are or the activities you enjoy doing. However, you should expect that your life will blend into your partner’s. Therefore, it is a good idea to approach a relationship knowing you may have to make these sacrifices or temporarily avoid a relationship if you are not ready to make them.
4. You Know What You Want and Expect from a Relationship
While you need to be willing to give in a relationship, you also need expectations of the treatment you deserve. Otherwise, you are giving your partner permission to treat you however they would like. Those that set boundaries are far more likely to find the kind of relationship they want. These individuals know the type of person they deserve to be with, the treatment they deserve and the happiness they deserve to experience. They know to cut off the relationship when they are not getting what they deserve and are content with being single if the relationship does not work out. The healthiest relationships build on boundaries that are set and understood from both sides. It’s imperative that you know what you want from a relationship before jumping into one.
5. You’re Dating for the Right Reasons
When you consider starting a relationship, think about why you want to be in one? Is it because all of your friends are? Because you just got out of a relationship and believe you need to be in another? Because it’s scary to be alone? If so, you are starting a relationship for the wrong reason. When starting a committed relationship, you are agreeing to sacrifice a large part of both you and your partner’s lives in hopes of achieving a common goal. The goal could be marriage, starting a family, or simply learning more about each other and yourselves through each other’s support and caregiving. Whatever your goals or reasoning for being in a relationship, you need to ask yourself if you are being fair and respectful of your partner’s time and emotions.
Unfortunately, no official checklist will tell you when you are ready to start seriously dating. Everyone is unique and has different circumstances and personality traits that will influence when they are ready to start a relationship. When becoming romantically involved with someone, remember that they are humans with emotions and time that is just as valuable as yours. If you’re ready for a serious relationship, treat the other person with respect and compassion, and be all in.