It can be difficult to tell when you're ready to start dating again. Maybe you're coming off of a bad breakup, maybe you've just been focused on other things. And, ironically, one of the signs that you're ready to be in a relationship is that you're happy being single.
"As a single woman, you should remind yourself that you have an amazing life," dating expert Noah Van Hochman tells Bustle. "Let your confidence in your own life exude into everything around you... Happiness and confidence attracts the same."
Being confident and content on your own makes it far more likely that you'll get into the right kind of relationship, but it's not the only factor that affects it. Ultimately, you may know in your gut whether or not you're really ready for a relationship. The idea will feel appealing, but not in a desperate way, and the thought of it definitely won't make you panic.
But if you're feeling on the fence about it, and just not sure, here are the signs that you're ready to get into a relationship, according to experts, because it's worth waiting as long as it takes to be sure.
1You're Ready To Focus On One Person
If you're going to get into a relationship, unless you're poly, it's important to be happy focusing on one person.
How do you know if you're possibly being too picky? “Who you’re with is never good enough or they aren’t the whole package for you," Psychologist Nikki Martinez tells Bustle. If this rings true, that's OK — you may not be there yet. You may want to take some more time for yourself for now.
2You're OK With Who You Are
The strongest foundation for getting into a relationship is being settled with who you are as a person. “If someone isn’t at peace with who they are, they won’t be able to give a relationship their all,” dating expert and matchmaker Sarah Patt tells Bustle. “Loving yourself is an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to connecting with the right person.”
3You've Gotten The Experiences You Want
Your life does not end when you enter into a relationship — far from it. But if you still have anything that's on your bucket list that requires you being single, go for them. “If you feel like you simply have never lived the life you’ve wanted or done the things you have wanted or needed to do, then why settle down?” Martinez says. “You should decide what is important and essential for you to do before you look for that special someone. By doing that, you’ll feel settled, ready and satisfied.” And if you're unable to accomplish your goals, you may always feel an itch.
4You're Not Rebounding
If you're coming off of a relationship, you're likely not ready to get into another one. How long should you wait? "How ever long you need to work through the anger or sadness," Janet Zinn, a New York City–based couples therapist, tells Bustle. "That way, it’s not a rebound or reactionary date scenario." The time will be different for everyone, but make sure you leave it long enough to heal and move on.
5You're Ready To Really Put Yourself Out There
Making a real emotional connection means making yourself vulnerable, so you need to be ready for that. “Putting oneself ‘out there’ simply means being open and honest about who you are and how you feel. It’s a key step in creating a deep connection with someone else,” life and dating coach Elaine Beth Cohen tells Bustle. “To do this, one needs to communicate ‘their truth’, which could be uncomfortable but it’s a brave and essential effort!” Make sure you're ready to really bare it all.
6You're Doing It For The Right Reasons
Why do you want to be in a relationship? Is it just because your friends are? Or you're scared of being single? If you answered yes, then it's a good idea to be single a little longer.
“I think being single is an exercise that every person should go through at some point in their adult life. It is a time that gives us the distance and clarity that we need to get to know who we truly are as a person, and to firmly define what it is that we want in a future partner,” Martinez says.
7You Know Your Boundaries
As much as you need to be willing to give in a relationship, you also need to be sure of your own boundaries. They're essential for keeping a relationship healthy. "I'd rather be single, in a comfortable relationship with myself, than trapped in a dysfunctional, toxic relationship with someone else," certified relationship coach Rosalind Sedacca tells Bustle. If you have a tendency to just give everything to your partner at the sake of your own health or happiness, you need to take a look at your boundaries.
There can be a lot of social pressure to be in a relationship, but don't listen to it. Being in a relationship is great, but only if you do it when you're ready.