If you’re on the fence about dating or think you may not be ready for a relationship, I hope this blog can help you. Whether or not you’re ready to date is complicated. I can’t give you a checklist to help you figure it out, but I can hopefully give you a guide to nudge you in the right direction.
Know the difference between want and need
Do you want a relationship, or do you need one? Because the answer should never be that you need one. There are a lot of good things about relationships, but you don’t need to be in one to survive, and if you feel like you do need one, then that’s a major red flag that you aren’t ready for one.
Needing a relationship will put a lot of pressure on your partner that they may not be able to handle. Even if they can handle it, you could very easily slip into a co-dependency that, in the long run will only make healthy relationships harder because you have to spend time unlearning your behaviors and expectations.
Choosing to be in a relationship is a huge commitment. If you’re only committing because you need to be in a relationship, then you’re being incredibly rude to your partner. It could mean you care less about them as a person and more about them filling the role in your life you think you need filled.
Using other people to solve your problems is not the way to actually solve them. Usually, it will just mean temporarily pushing those issues aside or allowing them to leak into other aspects of your life. The healthiest relationships you’re going to have are the ones you have when you aren’t using anyone else to solve your problems.
I’m not trying to tell you that life has to be perfect before you get into a relationship. Just make sure that you’re dating someone for the right reasons. Reasons like wanting to get to know someone, wanting to grow more as a person, or even just wanting to be around someone more often.
Understand that being ready is different for everyone
There’s no right or perfect time to get into a relationship. I want to say there aren’t any wrong times either, but there definitely are. Stating the obvious here but don’t cheat on someone, don’t start something new immediately after the death of a previous partner, etc. Just use common sense.
You’re the only one who can know when you’re ready. Sometimes you may even think you are only to suddenly change your mind. And that’s okay! There are tons of reasons someone may not be ready, maybe you had a bad breakup, maybe you just haven’t had any experience before, and maybe you just don’t want to commit to anything now. That’s all more than okay.
Some people may try to pressure you into something you’re not ready for, but you know your own heart better than they do, and you’ll know if you’re ready long before them. That applies to people wanting to date you as well as family and friends who think it’s time for you to “get back out there”.
The most important thing at all times is to do what’s best for you. If that means breaking things off with someone for personal reasons, that’s okay. If that means avoiding a committed relationship for right now, that’s okay. And if that means not dating at all, that is also okay. Whatever makes you most comfortable is what you should be doing. Don’t force yourself into anything you’re not ready for. It won’t end well for you or anyone else.
Find the right partner
Undoubtedly the most important thing when you’re trying to figure out if you’re ready for a relationship is finding the right person. The right person can help you realize what’s in your heart, even if that means you aren’t ready to date.
The “right” person doesn’t necessarily have to be someone you want to date. They could be someone interested in you who helps you realize that you aren’t ready, or maybe they help you realize you are ready to date someone else. It certainly makes things easier if they’re the person you want to date, but whoever helps you understand yourself is still important.
Finding someone who makes falling in love easy is incredibly hard. They are out there, though, and they’ll help take all your anxiety about relationships away. I wish I could give you more advice to prepare you or get you in the right mindset, but not everything needs to be planned out. When you find the person you want to be with, you’ll know whether you’re ready or not.
Once you’re ready…
When you decide you are ready for a relationship but still feel a little hesitant, we’ve got tons of other blogs to help you out., from figuring out your baggage to breaking up to figuring out the whole marriage thing. We’ve got advice for every stage in a relationship, and we’re here for you if you’ve got any questions.
If you’re tired of us, though, and ever need a little help understanding yourself or your partner once you’ve found someone you want to be with, TED (the people behind TED Talks) have a really helpful article about the different love languages. Finding the right way to express your emotions and knowing how your partner expresses theirs can make a world of difference in any relationship.
What’s the best indicator to you that you aren’t ready for a relationship?