September 8, 2021

5 Signs you’re Ready for a Serious Relationship—from a Therapist.



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Determining if it is the right time to pursue a serious relationship can be an agonizing and confusing decision to make.

On one hand, the loneliness of being single when we might want to be coupled can feel unbearable. On the other, being solo brings with it a tremendous amount of freedom and possibility.

The constant push and pull between these two emotional drivers leads lots of people to ask themselves, “Am I ready for a relationship or not?” This is usually followed by, “Do I need to take time to ‘find myself’ or ‘work on myself’ or ‘recover from my last relationship’ before I get into a new one?”

This internal push and pull can be confusing and can create mixed signals for ourselves and others.

Many people waste hours of time getting feedback and advice from friends and family or scouring the internet for advice. So, before you trust relationship advice from a magic eight ball, a psychic reading, or a Reddit forum, let’s take a minute to redirect your attention inside and see if you can find your own internal compass.

You are the only person who can answer these questions because each person is unique.

Here are five signs you’re ready for a serious relationship (and a few questions to help you determine your readiness):

1. You’re doing it for yourself and not to get back at anyone else.

You are the only person who knows your motivation for wanting to enter into a relationship. But, wanting to get back at an ex or someone who wronged you usually isn’t a great reason to start a new relationship. In fact, it’s a sign you haven’t healed from the last one yet.

>> Ask yourself this: am I doing this for me or to hurt someone else?

2. You have or can make time for someone else.

Both dating and relationships take a lot of time, energy, and emotional stamina. If you find yourself unable to keep up with the responsibilities you already have in your life, whether it be the result of a new job or family obligations, you might not be in a great place for a new relationship.

>> Ask yourself this: can I create time and space to be present in a relationship right now?

3. You’re able to stay centered in the new relationship.

It is easy to get lost in the throes of early romance. Being able to keep one foot on the ground while you are being swept away by the magic of your new love is critical to your ability to be successful in your new relationship. The ability to stay connected to yourself will help you clearly see the other person and the relationship from the start.

>> Ask yourself this: do I trust my ability to see the light and dark in others while falling in love?

4. You’re able to set boundaries for yourself.

Successful relationships are built on good boundaries. The ability to express yourself, ask for what you need and desire, and respect your partner’s wishes, in turn, are critical relationship skills. This is easier when things are calm and new, but can be hard when things get difficult and emotions run high.

>> Ask yourself this: am I strong enough inside to stay grounded when emotions are heightened?

5. You have a clear picture of what you want.

Having a clear idea of what you are looking for in a partner (beyond physical appearance), and more importantly, knowing who you want to be in your next relationship is a critical step in determining your readiness.

If you find yourself saying things like, “I’m just seeing what’s out there,” or “she was nice but she’s not my ex,” then you might not be ready. But, if you find yourself thinking things like, “I want a relationship where we have lots of fun,” or “I want to be more emotionally present in my next relationship,” then you might be in a good place.

>> Ask yourself this: how do I want my next relationship to feel?

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