Asking yourself if you’re ready for a relationship can be tough — especially since it entails the daunting task of looking at yourself in an open and honest way. Oftentimes after a bad breakup, it’s easier to tell yourself that we're over it than admitting when we’re really not.
Before you get back into the dating scene, it’s important that you’re TOTALLY ready for a new relationship. If you’re showing any of the following signs, it’s a good indicator that you have some work to do on yourself before you launch your quest for a healthy, happy relationship with someone else:
#1. You feel like you NEED someone else in your life to be happy.
You feel miserable unless you’re coupled up. If you get an invite to a party, you make up an excuse to pass because you don’t have someone to bring along. Instead you choose to sit at home, alone, feeling sorry for yourself as you read articles on what others find attractive.
Instead of doing things that would make you happy (like going to the party you were invited to), you choose the "woe is me" route and pity yourself way more than you should.
The truth is that if you did meet a great person while in this mindset, you’d hold on so tightly, so quickly, that you’d most likely strangle the relationship anyway.
Before you start dating again, you need to focus on you and find your own happiness. Relying on a partner or relationship to make you happy is unhealthy and won’t serve either of you well.
#2. You’re looking for someone to fix you.
If your self-talk sounds something like, "Why am I the way I am?" or "I’m such a mess," then you need to sort out those inner demons before you’ll be ready for a relationship. If you don’t, you’ll either attract a partner who has a saviour complex, or a partner who has the same issues as you.
In this case, two negatives don’t make a positive. And as much as misery loves company, here, misery plus misery only doubles the misery. Don’t go there; it’ll be hard to get out.
You spend hours upon hours thinking about your ex, wondering what they’re doing, or if things could have worked out. You stalk them on every social media platform. You re-read old love letters that you still haven’t thrown out, and spend your time recalling memories of days gone by.
If you do any of these things, you’re probably not ready to let someone new in. It doesn’t matter whether you fantasize about their demise or dream about being with them again — it’s not fair to let someone new into the picture if you’re not completely over your previous relationship.
That said, if your ex is the only person you can imagine a lifetime of happiness with, then you may want to consider winning him or her back.
#4. You’re trying too hard to find love.
A wise person once said that when you stop looking for love, it’ll come to you. If your sole focus is on finding a partner, chances are you’ll lower your standards to make it happen. Instead of chasing love like a lost puppy, make sure that you’re pursuing your own interests, too.
If all you’re interested in is meeting a partner, then it’s time to reconsider your priorities. Give it careful thought and get some clarity on what you're looking for in both life and a relationship. Then, let things happen naturally.
#5. You’re afraid of rejection.
If you’re willing to craft yourself into whatever mold you need to avoid rejection, then you are definitely not ready to date again. A big part of being in a healthy, happy relationship is being true to yourself, so if you’re a "dating chameleon," it doesn’t matter how many dates you go on — you’re still going to feel empty and alone.
Needing approval from others may be important to you after a bad breakup, but you can’t let it paralyze or hinder you from doing the things you really want to do, or being the person you really are.
#6. You’re holding on to baggage from your last relationship.
Everyone has baggage. It’s just something that comes with the dating territory. However, holding on to that baggage is a sure sign that you’re not ready to date again.
Why? Because any bitterness you still have towards an ex can get dragged along with you into your next relationship. You may start judging all your future relationships based on the bad behavior of yourself or a previous partner — that’s why dating someone when you’re still hung up on the past isn’t fair to you or to someone new.
If you’re still dragging that old baggage around, you need to get rid of it before you’ll be ready to date again. The last thing you want to do is meet an absolutely terrific person, only to drive him or her away because of your own inability to separate your past relationships from your current one.