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There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t find myself in a discussion in my counseling sessions that consists of someone looking for a little dating advice.
After all, if there’s one thing just about all of us can agree on, it’s that love is an important part of our life’s journey and being in a strong, secure and stable relationship can definitely make the trip that much more special.
Yet while sitting in couples therapy with some of my clients, something I see far too frequently is two people who look for one another to complete them.
A relationship is actually much healthier when each individual goes into the situation not looking for someone to “fill a void” but to simply add to the quality of life they already have.
This is why in the hopes you will have the best kind of relationship possible, I wanted to share with you five ways you can know you’re ready for one so your next love connection can be a lasting and fulfilling one.
One of the best ways to know if you’re ready for a relationship is if you are already happy as a single person.
Now this doesn’t mean you don’t have moments when you wish you were with someone. What it does mean is you’re not putting your life on hold until they come along.
In other words, you’re not sitting at home on a Friday or Saturday night simply because you don’t have a date. You’re not hesitant to call up some friends for dinner or to go to a matinee alone.
It’s a wise man who once said if you don’t have a map, you won’t know how to get to where you’re going.
Some people might think what I mean by that is you should create a list of 50 things you desire in a mate. For some people, that might work.
However, what I’m speaking of is taking some time to think about what’s really important to you. Do you want someone who likes to travel? Do you want someone who enjoys cooking? Maybe you want someone who enjoys the great outdoors.
Remember a big part of being in a relationship is not just about sharing your feelings but your lifestyle, too.
“When you create the environment a
relationship thrives in, that’s when you know.”
A mistake a lot of people tend to make is dating too soon after a breakup. Not only is this a surefire way to find yourself on the rebound, but when you’re emotionally healing, it’s hard to really see another person for who they truly are.
Instead, you tend to find yourself using them as a distraction or worse – comparing them to your ex.
So how long should you wait to start up something new? When you can think about your ex and know you are at peace with the breakup and experienced forgiveness and you can honestly say you’re not afraid to be alone, going on a date is a good idea.
When I do premarital counseling, one thing I make sure to tell both people is they have to be willing to make some compromises in their relationship.
One of the joys of being single is you can do almost everything on your terms, so if you’re not someone who likes to be flexible or to share, then you may not be ready. You may want to revisit getting into a relationship at a later time.
Remember a relationship is designed to add something to your life far more than it’s meant to fill some deep-rooted void.
If you only want someone so they can make you feel special or because you’re sick of sleeping alone, these aren’t the ideal reasons to start up something serious with someone, mostly because a relationship takes nurturing and work.
When you feel you can trust yourself to create the kind of environment a relationship can thrive in, that’s when you’ll really know you’re ready for a relationship with someone else.
To greater intimacy,
Rachel Moheban-Wachtel, LCSW