Entering a new relationship is a time of excitement, infatuation and butterflies. Everything is new, the conversation is flowing, and the dates are cute (if slightly awkward still). However, this stage can also prove to be one of uncertainty.
Amid of all this excitement, how likely are you to pause and consider if you are truly ready to enter this relationship? It may seem easy to overlook, but this factor could decide whether you stick or split with your partner in the future.
After a discussion with licensed Oklahoma-based therapist Jordan Green, she helped to compile the following signs to indicate if you are ready to take that step.
1. You are content solo
Being content in your own company is a vital stage to reach before entering a relationship. Reliance on the company of others can set you up for failure – risking co-dependency and poor boundaries within your romantic relationships.
If you have reached the stage where you are content solo, you will feel complete and confident when in company and alone. Whether it is a lazy Netflix Sunday or a weekend trip away – you not only enjoy, but actively pursue your own interests.
“You don’t feel like you need a relationship - you recognize you are whole within yourself, you practice self-love and self-care, and you’re not trying to fill a void.” Jordan explicates.
If you have experienced a recent breakup, time really is the best healer. One technique is to plan something nice for every day to look forward to and keep your mind occupied. Once you no longer feel the need to distract yourself, you are likely content in your own company.
2. You can look back on past relationships with no strong emotions
Breakups can awaken a hurricane of emotions – anger, sadness, excitement and jealousy. You will likely experience a spectrum of emotions at different stages of bereavement for your past relationship. This is completely healthy and whilst you should not always act on your emotions, acknowledging them can help you recover from the breakup quicker.
“You’ve let go of your past relationships,” Jordan explains,” you have grieved and processed any leftover anger, guilt, sadness, and resentment. You’re not thinking about the what-ifs.”
When you can look back on your past relationship and experience no strong emotions, it is a sign that you are truly ready to move on. Forgiveness is a positive sign that you have reached this stage, however, it is not always necessary if you are able to move on through acceptance instead.
3. You have kissed a few frogs
Most people have kissed a few frogs in their lifetime, and it is not necessarily a bad thing. After all, exes are exes for a reason! Having these experiences allows you to develop boundaries and the confidence to end relationships if they become unhealthy.
“You’re clear on what you want in a relationship. You know your boundaries and deal-breakers.” Jordan says. You feel confident in your judgement and you feel comfortable enforcing the boundaries you have developed. Which leads on to…
4. You know what you are looking for in your next partner
When you have kissed your share of frogs, you develop a list of what you do not want in a romantic partner. However, another sign that you are ready to enter a new relationship, is that you have a positive mind-set towards future relationships. Perhaps you value someone having similar interests to yourself, or perhaps something more general – such as generosity or confidence.
There are positive traits you have in mind when you think about meeting your next partner. These may be traits you found attractive in an ex or a trait your past partners have lacked, regardless, you know what to look for in your next relationship.
Jordan highlights the achievement of a positive outlook as a sign you are ready to move on: “You’re excited to date again and find other people attractive. You’re not thinking about your ex all of the time.”.
5. You have direction and focus in your life
Direction and focus are both vital components for personal growth. Developing a strong sense of self and personal goals to strive for reduces the risk of co-dependency when entering a new relationship.
You have your own goals – which could be related to your career, education or fitness. These goals are something you feel passionately about and are willing to dedicate time to. When you reach this stage, your self-esteem will naturally boost, and you will develop a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
Not only are these beneficial to your mental wellbeing, but also the quality of the relationships you can form. “You’re ready to focus on giving love rather than receiving. You know what you have to offer and are excited to give it!” says Jordan.
6. You feel comfortable and secure in your sexuality
Entering a relationship at a stage where you do not feel comfortable or secure in your sexuality could prove to be an injustice to both yourself and your partner. It is important to be open and honest in your communication with others and yourself. There is no rush to find a long term partner to settle with! If you feel the need to date around and experiment, this is something you should aim to do first.
Entering a long-term relationship should not feel like a daunting prospect to you if you are ready - spending time with your partner should feel natural and enjoyable. Fundamentally, Jordan suggests: “You’re ready to communicate, be open and vulnerable, and connect deeply with someone new.”
Be honest with yourself and if you need more time single then do so.
Whether or not you are ready to enter a new relationship is a decision only you can make. The most important thing to remember is to remain honest – with yourself and potential partners. Being ready to enter a relationship is the best way to ensure its future success.