We all know the saying that one can never truly be ready for love, so knowing when you’re ready for a relationship can be a tricky thing. Sometimes an amazing person just falls into your lap: While you’re out with your friends and ordering drinks for the group, while you’re trying to decide between apples at the grocery store, or while you’re waiting for the bus. You just can’t predict these things. But while it can be a tough thing to decide if you’re ready to welcome someone into your life (because real talk, a SO takes up a lot of your time), it can be easier to spot if you’re not ready for a relationship.
And you don’t have to be a trainwreck to know that you’re not ready to invite someone new into your life. Your life doesn’t have to be in shambles to warrant some alone time — other factors apply, too. Sometimes you’re busy learning new things about yourself, and an extra person could derail the momentum. Or other times you just don’t have the time in your packed, just-the-way-you-want-it schedule to make room for someone else. Or sometimes it is for more tough reasons, like you’re not sure if you could be happy without company or can’t find anything to do with your time if it’s not dating and canoodling. Here are seven reasons you’re not ready for a relationship yet. Take a peek and see if you should keep those dates in your calendar, or if you should spend some me-time.
1. You're Learning New Things About Yourself
Not all reasons for not being ready for relationship are bad — some are exciting, like you're in the middle of learning new things about yourself. Maybe you just started considering going to grad school, and you never thought you'd end up going back into a life of classes. Or maybe you've been eyeing that hostel-approved backpack on sale and toying with the idea of going somewhere new and wonderfully overwhelming alone. Something that has never really popped into your head before. You're in a place where you're ready to do some growing, and having a beau could get in the way of that. According to relationship writer Amelie Lee at LovePanky, a dating advice site, "You’ve got nothing against the idea of getting into a serious relationship, but there are other things in your life that are more important to you at this point in time."
If you're starting to explore new possibilities and dip into unfamiliar opportunities, it might be best to hold off that date for a little while. You don't know where this new path might lead, and you don't want to make decisions that might change if you have to consider another person. Let yourself be a little selfish; make it all about you.
2. You're Spending More Time On Finding Love Than On Your Interests
Do you go to the gym because you think you can find sparks by the leg machines? Or started to go to the poetry readings because you're after a new dating pool? Maybe you considered joining the volleyball league because winning a game is a great way to bond with those cute team members. If you're spending more time thinking of dating and scheming up ways you can find in love than you are on bettering yourself, that's a sign you need to take a break and switch tracks.
Lifestyle writer Lee Hurley at Metro UK supported this in an article, "A relationship should be something that adds to your life, not be the sole focus of it and the only thing that makes your life seem worthwhile. If you need a partner for your own sense of self-respect and self-worth then you’d really be better off trying to find ways to build those on your own before involving someone else in your life." Instead of worrying how you'll meet your next Friday night date, focus on ways you can make yourself a better person. Have you always wanted to pick up the piano, or wanted to read the classics? Give yourself a reason to feel proud and accomplished, and that (let's admit it, kind of desperate) need to find someone to give you purpose will ebb away.
3. You're Looking For Someone To Save You
You've got to learn to be your own hero, or you'll never find a way to truly be happy. Or even worse, your baggage will attract the type of guy that thrives off of a little bit of drama. And you know that never leaves to a happy ending.
Relationship writer Jana Garapick at YourTango shared, "If your self-talk sounds something like 'I'm such a mess' or 'why am I so insecure sometimes?' then you need to get that taken care of before you can be in a relationship. Otherwise you'll either attract a man that has the savior complex or you'll attract a man with the same issues, a man that's a mess, or very insecure himself. And as much as misery loves company, misery plus misery doubles the misery. Don't go there." Instead of hoping that someone else will help you take care of your troubles, fix them yourself first. You'll attract a whole other partner then.
4. You're Not Willing To Make Changes To Your Life
Say that this is the Year of You and everything, and I mean everything, has been sort of falling into place. Your job is on the fast-track upwards, or you're in your first year of living without roommates, or you're at the point where you can pick up and hop on a plane spontaneously for the weekend...and you're kind of unwilling to change things up if someone asked. If you can't see yourself making compromises over your awesome lifestyle, then that's a solid hint you're not ready to invite someone into your life.
According to Hurley, "If you’ve been single for a while, chances are you’ve got yourself into something of a routine that works and makes your life as easy as possible. If you want someone to believe you’re serious about including them in your life then you’re going to have to make some compromises. If you find yourself feeling ever-so-slightly resentful at the thought of that, perhaps you aren’t quite ready to try to fit someone into your life."
5. You're Trying To Become The Type Of Person Your Crush Might Like
The second you feel yourself trying to alter your personality or your likes to better appeal to someone, crank the brakes and jump out of the car. You need to stop that budding romance because you're not ready to like someone else. Not when you're not entirely sure you like yourself — how could you if you're willing to change yourself just for a casual crush?
Garapick said, "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 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." Our sense of self is very important, and it shouldn't change from date to date. If you feel like you're constantly trying to be a "better" version of yourself, then you're not ready to find an S.O.
What you need to do first is find that version of yourself you wouldn't give up for anybody. That's when you'll be ready to enter a relationship.
6. You're Using It As A Distraction
Maybe you're having a rough patch and can't find a job that fulfills you, and instead you're stuck in a slightly-depressing dead-end job. Or maybe you can't find anything you're passionate about, or maybe you're trying to distract yourself from being hurt by someone in particular. If you find yourself hunting for dates to distract yourself from a big worry, then you're definitely not ready for a relationship. You're just using it as an escape.
Lifestyle writer Becky Sherrick Harks at The Stir said, "You want a relationship to distract you from your emotional pain and suffering. Instead, learn to sit with your pain and work through it before jumping into a new romance." That's just something you have to become comfortable with in life — you can't always sweep problems under the rug and pretend they're not there. Work through whatever is bothering you; don't ignore it with a casual flirtation.
7. You Can't Ever Admit You're Wrong
Do you have a really hard time admitting you're wrong? Do you hate apologizing and try to find ways to toss shade at the other party so you don't have to admit you did something to hurt their feelings? Do you always think you're right? Well, guess what, sister. No one's ever always right, it's just never happened. So if you feel like you can't admit that you've messed up or give those apologies when they're necessary, you need to take a break and figure out how to do that. Because you'll never be able to have a healthy, lasting relationship without that understanding.
According to Lee, "Over your past relationships, have you learnt any lessons or picked any flaws about yourself? As one sided as mistakes in love can be, there are always lessons for both partners to learn from, evolve and improve themselves. If you’ve always believed you’ve been right all along and have never been wrong in any past relationship, then you surely have a lot to learn."
Before jumping into something serious, make sure your pride doesn't eclipse your relationships. Or else nothing you'll build will last, and what's the point of that?