We get it. Being in a relationship can be pretty great. But for one reason or another, you’ve taken some much-needed you time to heal and figure life out. And that’s important! But the question can then sometimes become: How do you know you’re ready for a new relationship?
This might seem obvious or self-evident, but sometimes figuring out our complicated inner emotional lives can be hard. Like, you might really enjoy spending time with a new person in your life, but constantly just miss your ex when you hang out. Or maybe you’re attracted to someone, but something inside is keeping you from moving it forward. Figuring out why you’re feeling these things, and if you’re genuinely ready for something new, isn’t always easy.
Here’s what these experts had to say:
1You actually, you know, want a new relationship.
Too often, people go ahead and partner up because it’s just “the thing people do” instead of a true desire to be in a comitted relationship. “My clients often tell me they are ready for a relationship, but, at the same time, they are sabotaging their chances of success because of an internal commitment that is actually more important to them at this stage in their lives,” Auret said. “It may be their career, it may be their freedom. Or it may be that they’re not sure about sharing their life, home, family or even finances again.”
2You aren’t worried about how to “catch” somebody
According to Auret, falling in love can’t be about the chase. “Finding love again is not about the external “tactics,” the “rules,” or game strategies, but the inner work and shifts you’ve made to heal wounds from the past and help you move on in a positive and constructive way,” she said. “It is then that you stop second-guessing yourself and stop worrying about whether you get it right or wrong on the dating scene.”
3You’re not into partying anymore
Hogi believes being comfortable with a night in — either with a S.O. or by yourself — is a sign of being ready for more serious commitment. “Even though you love hanging with your friends, a quiet dinner or a night at home with a good binge-watch planned is your idea of fun. You’re moving into a nesting phase, and a lovebird is in order,” she said.
4You aren’t using social media for validation
Social media should be used as a tool to share the things you love with the people you love – not to make an ex jealous (though we’ve all been there, and slip-ups do happen!). If you’re still using social media as a form of self-validation, spend a little more time improving your relationship with yourself before starting one with anybody else.
5You’re feeling awesome
Don’t get caught thinking you need a lover when you’re having a rough time or feeling down. Instead, get yourself to a place in life where you feel good, happy, and confident. “Don’t look for someone to make your life awesome, but rather you’re looking for someone to share your awesome with,” Hogi said.
6You’re being courted — and you like it
According to Hogi, you should pay attention to when potential partners start paying you extra mind. “You might not have even realized that your magnetism is a sign that you really do want to attract someone new in your life. If all of that attention feels good, it’s an indication that you’re ready for more of it,” she said.
7Dating is fun again
If the actual process of dating has turned into a major chore, you should probably take a breather and do some things you find genuinely fun and exciting! Wait to date until the prospect of heading out on dates sounds like a genuinely fun way to spend your time.
8You’re noticing how other couples interact
If you’ve started to pay close attention to the way other couples act with each other, like how a relative treats her boyfriend, or how a coworker interacts with his husband, you might be able to see examples of the kind of love you want, and the kind you won’t settle for. “If you catch yourself thinking “that’s the kind of relationship/partner/romantic date I want” it’s time for you to prioritize finding love,” Hogi said.
9You’re no longer mad at your ex
It’s hard to start a good relationship with eyes toward the future if you’re having trouble letting go of your past. Check in with yourself to see where you stand when it comes to any bitter feelings your ex may have left behind. Hogi says this is imperative for a successful match. “Have you found forgiveness? If so, it’s the perfect time to start focusing on meeting someone new,” she said. “Your heart has healed and is ready for a new love.”
No matter what place you’re in romantically, remember that the most important thing is having a good relationship with yourself! Everything else will follow.