We all think we want a loving, stable relationship. But sometimes we don't realize that what's keeping us from it is the fact that we aren't actually ready.
It's easy to assume that because you want to be in a happy relationship, then you're ready for one. But that's not necessarily true.
If we don’t take inventory of ourselves before entering or committing to relationships, we have no idea what work needs to be done internally to prepare us for healthy, fulfilling attachments. Next time you end a relationship, or plan to start a new one, ask yourself whether or not you're ready for it. If you aren't, take that time to work on yourself. You won't regret it.
Here are nine signs you're ready for lasting, mature love:
1. You accept that relationships take work.
There's a reason people use the health of their plants or pets to gauge how capable they are of having a stable, healthy relationship. Like any animate thing, you have to give your relationship time, attention, and love for it to thrive. If you neglect it, it will wither. If you think a good relationship is something that doesn't require effort from you, you’ll be chronically dissatisfied.
2. You’re willing to put someone else’s interests before your own.
Being in a relationship sometimes means making personal sacrifices for the other person. That could mean going to a movie you know you’ll hate or even making a career change because it will make life easier for your partner or improve the relationship in some way.
When you’re in a relationship with someone else, you have to begin to consider their needs as equally important to your own. If you can do this, you're in a position to be a great partner.
3. You’re willing to work through the challenges.
You realize that when conflicts and challenges come up in the relationship, it’s not necessarily a sign to leave. Rather, you see it as a sign that communication and effort are required, from you and from your partner.
4. You’re not looking for someone else to complete you.
You realize that you are whole and complete within yourself. You see having a partner as something that enriches your life rather than something you need in order to be happy. If you think you need someone else to be happy, paradoxically, you will never be satisfied with the relationship. Wholeness comes from within. You want to invite someone else into your life to learn, grow, and become more emotionally intimate with another.
5. You’re willing to accept another person as they truly are.
You’re ready and willing to accept another person’s quirks, annoying habits, and interests that you may not care so much about. You know and understand that the two of you are not going to always have the same views and opinions. You're prepared to agree to disagree.
6. You understand that communication is paramount.
You’re aware that a lack of communication is the kiss of death to a relationship. You’re able to openly communicate your own needs, desires, thoughts, and feelings to a partner and you’re open to hearing your partner’s as well. You’re comfortable getting uncomfortable in order to communicate those vulnerable parts of yourself a partner needs to know.
7. You accept that some problems will never be resolved.
His being much less tidy than you are will probably never change, and if you try to change him, it will breed resentment. You also understand that he may never be quite as romantic as you wish he were, and that doesn't mean he loves you any less.
8. You’ve tossed your “ideal mate” list
You stopped caring if he's over 6 feet tall, makes a certain amount of money, or loves classical guitar. You know that relying on these external factors to identify a viable mate actually often keeps us from finding deeply meaningful and loving relationships.
9. You’re ready to share the real you with someone else.
You've stopped trying to embody some “ideal” that you think the other person will desire. You’re ready to be vulnerable and you’ve worked through (or are actively working through) fears of rejection that may be keeping you from reaching this point.
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What do you still need to work on? Where have you hit the mark? Share your struggles and successes in the comments below.
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