Breakups are hard. They take a toll on your mental and physical wellbeing, and unfortunately, there’s no magic 8-ball that can tell you when you’re ready to love again. Jumping back into the dating pool can act as a distraction, especially the endless swiping of a dating app, but you’ll likely repeat the same patterns until you deal with your emotional baggage.
Eventually, you’ll start wondering if you’re the problem. After all, you’re the common denominator in all your failed relationships. Therapy is an excellent resource for some people. They talk through their issues which lead to healing. Time, on the other hand, can be the best doctor. Emotions fade over time, and you gain clarity with distance. Each day you get better, until one day, you’ll feel ready.
It may be subtle, like changing seasons, or sudden, like the flip of a switch, but you will eventually feel ready to love again. And, if you’re not sure you’re there yet, that’s okay. Here’s how to tell if you’re ready to love and signs to pay attention to if you’re not yet there.
What does Ready to Love Mean?
Ready to love means that you’re emotionally available. You want to connect with another individual mentally, physically, and spiritually and be in a committed relationship. You’ll often hear that you have to love yourself before you can love another, and that’s true. Those who are truly ready to love no longer hide from their demons and insecurities. Instead, they’ve started on a journey of self-actualization.
When you are comfortable with yourself, you will be comfortable being yourself. You’ll no longer try to fit yourself into a box to please others or act out in self-destructive ways. You’ll break the cycles that haven’t served you well in your love life in the past, and in doing so, you’ll find something authentic that will make all the heartache worth it.
Just know that being ready can mean different things to different people, so if your journey looks slightly different, that’s okay. You heal and process in ways that work for you. There’s no right or wrong here.
Signs that You’re Ready to Love
You’ll never find a real relationship with the right person unless you’re ready to love, and after a divorce or breakup, don’t rush it. Allow yourself time to grieve your previous relationship. Once you’ve taken the time you need to heal, here are five signs that you’re ready to start a new relationship.
You Love Yourself and are Comfortable Being Alone
You’ll never have a successful relationship until you learn to love yourself. That means feeling comfortable being in your own company and being alone. It would be best to give yourself grace when you stumble, be honest about your emotional baggage, and know your worth.
So often, we’ll advocate for our friends and family that they deserve better, but we sell ourselves short when it comes to our relationships. We aren’t confident in ourselves and what we bring to the table, which holds us back.
A relationship isn’t going to fix what’s broken inside you. Sure, it may act as a distraction, but you need to love yourself to be ready to love. That doesn’t mean you have to be happy all the time. You can want to make yourself better and still love your person.
Once you love yourself, you will be happy with your own company. After all, if you can’t stand to be alone with yourself, that’s not a good sign. Why would anyone else want to be around you?
If you’re anxious about spending time in your own company, ask yourself why. Work with a relationship coach. Dig deep to get to the root cause and start chipping away. It will be uncomfortable at first but well worth the effort.
You Think About the Past Less and Less
Another great indicator that you’re ready to love is that you think of the past less and less, or more importantly, if you do, you think about it with fondness instead of strong feelings like love or hate. After all, there’s a fine line between the two for a reason!
If your previous relationship ended poorly and you still feel anger and hate, you need to heal more. If you still feel a resounding echo of loneliness, you need to work on being comfortable alone. Listen to how you’re feeling, and don’t try to rush the process or jump into another relationship to distract you.
A new person won’t be a band-aid to help you forget the past. If you’re ready to love, you’ll apply all those learnings you had from all your previous failed relationships and do better next time. If you’re not able to make these changes on your own, don’t be afraid to ask for help from a relationship expert.
Your future partner should benefit from the past, not be haunted by its ghosts. The past is the past, so when you’re finally ready to be mindful and present, that’s a great sign that you’re ready to love.
You are Financially Stable
The median age for marriage in America has increased, with women waiting to get married at 28 and men at 30. The same phenomenon is happening with having kids, with the average age for first-time parents rising to 26 in women and 31 in men.
But what does that mean? More and more people are waiting until they are financially stable to settle down. Finding love is stressful enough without the constant financial pressure of being married, owning a home, having kids, and so on. Instead, people are focusing on their careers first. They are building a solid foundation that can support their future goals, deprioritizing a romantic relationship in favor of building professional ones.
There’s nothing wrong with waiting until you are financially stable to settle down. Dating can be expensive, and the expenses only grow as you get married and start a family. Debt can be a stressor in many relationships, but finances are controllable.
You may feel ready to love once you are in a financial place where you are comfortable. Remember to maintain that stability during the relationship and not fall back into old habits or develop new, irresponsible spending.
You Have Realistic Expectations and Standards.
There’s a difference between expectations and standards. Your standards are the non-negotiables. They could be your values or what you believe. They reflect who you are at the current moment, so your standards can change over time. If it’s no longer acceptable for your partner to blow off dates or forget to text you, you can always raise your standards. It is simply the base of how you expect someone to treat you.
Now, your expectations are hopes for the future. They’re your dreams. They’re not needs, and to achieve them, you need your partner to rise to the occasion. Often, we set high expectations for others, and when they cannot meet them, we get disappointed. But that’s not entirely fair. You are projecting your ideas onto another and getting mad when they can’t live up to it. If that happens consistently, your expectations are likely too high.
One great indicator that you’re ready to love is that your standards and expectations are realistic. Now, that doesn’t mean you need to settle. Instead, it simply means that your needs and wants are rooted in reality. You’re not dreaming of someone swooping in to save you. You don’t think that the one will magically appear in your life.
A healthy relationship has realistic and achievable standards and expectations for yourself and your partner. Anything less will lead to disappointment in the long run.
You Approach Dating With Excitement, Not Dread.
Getting back out there should feel exhilarating. You should feel excited and energized by the idea of dating, not filled with anxiety. Sure, the butterflies are normal, but if you have dread, that can be a clear sign that you’re not ready to love.
Our brain is a complex organ filled with hormones that help us feel. If we’re feeling happy, we’re getting our daily doses of dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. If we’re in love, add oxytocin in there. Together, these are known as our happy hormones, and if you’re not feeling it, you’ll know it.
Mindset is a tricky thing. So many times, we’re told to fake it until we make it, so if you’re approaching dating with excitement, you will feel excited about the prospect and vice versa. But, if you are feeling a pit in your stomach about the idea of dating, trust your gut. You’ll know the right time to enter the dating scene.
Signs You’re Not Ready to Love
Just because you want to be ready to love doesn’t mean you are ready. The important thing is to listen to how you feel and give yourself the space and time you need to prepare for a long-term relationship. Here are five signs that you’re not ready to date.
You’re Not Willing to Compromise
As much as we’d like to, it’s not always possible to get our way. We threw temper tantrums when things didn’t go our way as kids. We can’t do that as adults. We’ve learned the hard way that we can’t always get what we want, and that’s also true in relationships.
Loving relationships are all about giving and taking, and if you’re not willing to compromise, it may be a sign that you aren’t ready to love. Compromising is not about losing. So many times, people view it as giving in when it’s more about meeting in the middle.
Of course, you should not compromise on things like your values and beliefs. But if you’re constantly fighting over little things like where to go to dinner or what to watch on TV, you may need to work on communication and compromise.
Learn to let the little things go rather than spending your energy on getting upset. If you don’t, the resentment will build up and boil over. It will lead to even deeper problems, so you may not be ready to love if you find yourself being a little too selfish.
It won’t be hard to find a new relationship if you’re tired of being alone and want to settle down. When you’re desperate, you’ll settle for anything, even if that person has values that are opposed to yours. After all, anything is better than being alone!
Wrong. You aren’t looking for true love. You are looking for anything, which doesn’t mean you’re ready to love. If this is your pattern and you jump from relationship to relationship, examine your past relationship. How did it work out? Are you going to the same unavailable or commitment-phobic men?
If you’re being honest with yourself, you’ll start the notice you don’t make the best decisions when you’re desperate. You may think you want to love, but you don’t know what you want. You haven’t taken the time to identify what you are looking for in a new partner, and you’re not ready to love.
It’s never too late to step back and stop old patterns. You are enough on your own, and you need to focus on self-love before you can find real love.
You’re Not Ready to Commit
If the idea of commitment makes your palms sweat and sends you running for the hills, you may want to take a step back. Studies indicate that how ready you are to commit can predict the success of a relationship.
That may seem like a no-brainer, but if you’re unavailable or chasing someone unavailable, the odds aren’t in your favor to develop a long-lasting relationship. You’re not ready to love, and that’s okay.
If you’re dreaming of wedding bells after one date, that’s not healthy either. You’re either desperate, unwilling to be alone, or too childish to be in a real relationship.
Love is hard. It takes work, but you should never have to force yourself or your partner into a commitment if they’re not ready to love. It never ends well and can lead to resentment and infidelity in the long run.
You’re Unhappy with Yourself
A relationship will not fix what’s wrong in your life. If you are unhappy single, you will be unhappy in a relationship. It is not your partner’s responsibility to make you happy, and if you think it is, then you’re not ready to love. You need to stop blaming external factors and start looking within at what’s keeping us down. Only then can we begin to make progress in changing how we feel.
When we’re not happy, we engage in self-destructive behaviors. We see our behaviors as foregone conclusions that we have no control over. Because of that, we often perpetuate the same cycle because, deep down, you do not believe you are worthy of love.
That can be a tough pill to swallow, primarily if you equate your self-worth with other people or material things. It would help if you took control of your behaviors and actions. Remember, you don’t have to be perfect to be happy and ready to love. Your ideal partner will love you, flaws and all.
You have Unresolved Issues.
Our personality is a product of our lived experiences. We are the sum of our traumas, and if you have unresolved issues, they will eventually come out, often when we least expect it or at the most inconvenient times.
Our issues don’t always have to be issues about romantic love, either. Our family dynamics also inform our behaviors, which can impact our relationships. Were you the peacekeeper as a kid, and now you don’t feel comfortable advocating for what you want? Do you deflect using humor to hide the pain? Therapy can help you work through your unresolved emotions and help prepare you to be ready to love.
Dealing with your unresolved issues will help you understand so much about yourself and why you react the way you do. Once you get at the root causes, you can make real and lasting changes. These changes are essential to moving your forward on your self-healing journey. You will be ready to love. It may take time, but nothing fundamental will happen overnight without hard work.
So, What’s Next?
Being ready to love is entirely subjective, but there are plenty of resources that can help you heal, learn, and grow to be the person you want to be. It’s an uphill battle, but it’s worth it to become the person you want to be.
Don’t be afraid to try new things on your quest to be ready to love. What has worked for you in past relationships may not always serve you well in your current ones, and that’s a good thing! You are not the same person you were yesterday, and you can overcome your barriers to be ready to love.