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8 Signs You Aren’t Ready For A Relationship

be-in-a-relationshipI know what you’re thinking right now. “Of course, I’m ready for a relationship. It’s what I’ve been waiting so long for! I just need to know how I can get one started!”

Well, I’m certainly not arguing that you want a real relationship. I’m asking if you’re ready for a real relationship. That one’s tough to answer, because it entails really looking at yourself and your beliefs, attitudes and behaviors in a real, open, and honest way. And that’s never easy.

If you’re wondering if you’re ready for the next new thing, but aren’t totally sure, here are some clues that you might just have a little more renovation to do before you get back in the game.

1. You’re Still In Love With Your Ex

Rationalize all you want. Make every excuse. Tell yourself and anyone who will listen that you’re done, through, finito! But if your everyday world is booby-trapped with physical reminders and emotional landmines that consistently blow up and send you reeling into either fond or angry reminiscences about the one that got away–like the makeup she left behind in the medicine cabinet that you haven’t gotten around to tossing, or the T-shirt of his you still sleep in “because it’s really comfortable”–then chances are, you’re not over your ex.

What You Can Do About It

Sgirls night out: girl alone in a pubome people who have lost love, especially those who feel badly burned by a romance soured, take the “scorched earth” approach and banish every scrap of evidence—physical and emotional—of their former flames.  There’s certainly something to be said for the cathartic element of clearing away failed love in one fell swoop, however, by pretending your former partner never existed, you are likely refusing to acknowledge the truth of what went wrong in the first place.

The opposite extreme are those of us who just can’t let go of anything that reminds us of our exes. This often happens when lovers hope, openly or secretly, that the object of their former affection may be coming back. Again, this type of rationalizing and denial is only holding you back from moving ahead, because it keeps you stuck in the “emotionally unavailable” zone.

There’s an old saying that goes, “if you love something, set it free,” but what many don’t understand is that if you can “let things go” in a healthy way by honoring and integrating what you’ve learned into the present and moving ahead, rather than denying or ignoring the past—you will set yourself free as well. If it’s truly “meant to be,” that lost love may return, and if not, you’ll be ready to embrace something new.

2. You Think Being With Anybody is Better than Being with Nobody

nobody-picMany people feel the need to be in a relationship because, plain and simple, they’re afraid of being alone. Some use being in a relationship to validate their existence. Others have abandonment issues, and are constantly trying to fill an emotional void, that, like a metaphoric black hole, is not something that can ever be filled. Whatever the motivation, the core of most discomfort about being trapped in life at a “table for one” has to do with lack of self-esteem.

What You Can Do About It

Your mental house not only needs to be cleaned, but you also need to shore up structural damage. The first step you should take is making an honest assessment of broken behavior that has neither served you in the past, nor will further your cause in the future. Learning to differentiate between “being alone” and “being lonely” is a process that can take time, and may require professional assistance.

If you look into the mirror and don’t like what you see, or feel incomplete unless you’re in a relationship, a consulting a romance advisor to help shed light on problems that are staring you in the face that you still don’t notice might be the perfect place to get the relationship ball rolling in a more productive direction.

3. Everyone You Know is In a Relationship, So You Should Be, Too…

Peer pressure is a powerful thing, and falling prey to it can lead to poor decision-making, even as we get older. When all your peers seem to be paired up, and you’re left standing out in the cold, the impulse is often to hook up with the next even semi-sentient creature that comes along and project “happily ever after” on them, no matter how ill-suited a partner they may be.

What You Can Do About It

If friends and family are making you uncomfortable about being alone, or constantly trying to fix you up with all the wrong people, take a moment to step back from the “madding crowd,” and reflect on what it is you really want from your next long-term romance. As difficult as it may be to see the people you know contentedly coupled when you’re not, do your best to be happy for them, but stop comparing what they have with what you don’t–because it’s a waste of time and energy that would be better spent investing in yourself.

Of course, feedback from trusted friends can be a positive resource, but what will be of more value to you will be learning to trust your own instincts and appreciate that your needs are not necessarily the same as other people’s. When you have a clear idea of who you are and what you want, the universe has a way of bringing it into your life.

4. You’re a Romance Junkie

You love being in love. The thrill of the chase fills you with ecstasy. The first rush of passion is your favorite natural high. But when reality sets in, you begin to feel trapped. Suddenly, there are cracks in the façade, and your new love doesn’t seem as perfect as they did at first blush. Little by little, their flaws and idiosyncrasies begin to annoy you. Even things that drew you to that person in the first place begin to seem less than appealing. Your dissatisfaction grows, and you feel chafed by the confines of boredom as more and more, familiarity breeds contempt. So… you either A) break up with the person you once thought was perfect, or B) start seeing someone else behind their back.

What You Can Do About It

Grow up. Sound harsh? That may be true, but if you’ve got a revolving door on your love life because you love “the idea of being in love” more than the actual process of loving someone and having them love you back, you’re not ready for a mature relationship. Sure, it’s fun to be the kid in the candy store, but we all know stuffing your face with gobs of sweets is not something that’s going to end well, nor will happiness be found in grabbing at every shiny new thing that comes your way.

If you’re young and not ready to settle down, there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you understand it yourself, and make it clear from the beginning to the people you’re dating that you’re not ready for the long haul yet.

5. You Think Having the Right Partner Will Solve All Your Problems

BN-KP215_1005BO_J_20151002144514Mr. Right. Prince Charming. Betty Crocker. Whatever your idea of the perfect partner is, there’s no such thing, nor is anyone going to sweep into your life and magically erase your every current woe. Long story short: If you believe that being part of a couple is the answer to all of life’s conundrums, you haven’t got your head screwed on straight.

What You Can Do About It

The most mutually beneficial love partnerships require a 50/50 share of the commitment, so it’s unrealistic to hope that someone else is going to put in 110 percent while you sit back and enjoy the profits. Love may be more important than money, but it is a resource to be invested wisely. Unless you’re a total gold digger, you’re going to have to be willing and able to hold up your fair share of the bargain, and in order to do that, you’ll have to build up some equity, as in self-worth.

Think about it. By letting someone else solve all your problems for you, you’re actually abdicating control of your own destiny. As much as a new romance may be a temporary fix for what ails you, in the long run, you might just wind up resenting a partner who has, in effect, bought you, and hating yourself for letting it happen. Is that what you really want? Likely not. When you’re not happy with your life, you’re the one who needs to change it for the better, preferably before inviting anyone else along for what may prove to be a bumpy ride for the both of you.

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