I am a sucker for romance. Just like so many other people I know, I just LOVE, love. The hand holding, midnight cuddles...the whole shebang. Someone to lean on, trust, and care for? Sign. Me. Up. But because of this, there’s been more than one occasion (okay maybe every day, it’s fine) where I have looked at a couple looking adorable on the subway and wished with all my heart that it was me instead. But after going through a few traumatic breakups, I started to wonder if jumping into a relationship just because I wanted one, really was the best idea.
What I’m starting to learn is that actually being ready for a relationship is more than just wanting one. I mean, literally anyone can want a relationship—but if you’re not actually ready to handle the responsibility of a romantic partner, chances are it’s not gonna end well. Want to figure out if that is you? Here are five signs you are not ready for a relationship, regardless of if you think you are.
1. You’re still hung up on an ex
If just the thought of an ex-partner makes your mascara run, then it’s highly likely that you have not had enough time to deal with those emotions. Grief (a totally normal thing to feel when you’re suffering from heartbreak) can hinder your ability to move forward, trust someone, and build intimacy says Liza Mordkovich, a licensed psychotherapist. If you are grieving an old relationship or find yourself fixated on why the breakup happened in the first place, you’re probably not emotionally ready to take on a new relationship.
2. You can’t imagine yourself making any changes or compromises for another person
Relationships take at least some degree of work, responsibility, and commitment. So think about your crush and ask yourself, “am I ready to maybe change somethings about my life for this person?” suggests Cristina M. Konior, LMHC. If the answer to that is “hmm, prob not,” then chances are, you’re either content with where you’re at, or you haven’t met someone that makes you consider changing your answer, and you shouldn’t force it.
3. The people you’re pursuing are unavailable and not interested in commitment
If you consistently swiping right on people who just want something casual, then it may be a sign that you do not actually want a serious partnership. Think of it as self-sabotage of sorts—like the dating equivalent of going to an ice cream restaurant and hoping that they’ll have spaghetti on the menu. It just doesn’t happen. If you actually wanted a relationship, you’d find someone else who also wants one.
4. You’re lonely or bored and think a relationship might fix that
If you’re sick of being alone, watching all your friends go on cute double dates, or just feel like another person will make you happy, you should reevaluate your motivations for seeking out a relationship. Especially after a breakup, it’s not uncommon to feel a void where your partner used to be, says Nikki Carter, founder of We Are Self Centered, a healing retreat for women going through breakups. “Enroll some of your close friends to help you heal and be the people that you would text in those moments when you may feel drawn to text your ex or feel lonely in their absence.” You shouldn’t just settle for ~somebody~, that’s not fair to either party.
5. You feel like you need a relationship because, um, everyone else has one?
With couples literally plastered all over your Insta feed, it’s easy to feel like you’re the only person in the whole world without partner. But that’s definitely not true. If your main reason for wanting a partner is because you want someone to post about on #WCW or Valentine’s Day, try being ~your own~ lover, if you catch my drift. Don’t enter a relationship for the likes because TBH, we all know how it’ll end. And, let’s be real, dating yourself is way more fun anyway.