Relationships are a lot of work. In fact, they’re basically a whole job unto themselves; Not unlike your career, relationships require time, commitment, and energy, as well as communication, listening, and problem-solving skills. With the uber-busy work schedules that have become the norm for many young professionals (especially for entrepreneurs), many just don’t have the capacity to pursue serious romantic relationships.
But you’re only human, and every once in a while you might find yourself thinking about re-downloading that dating app or dropping a cutie your number. If that’s the case, consider these 10 signs that show whether you’re truly ready to hop back into the dating game.
You have a life outside of work
Whaaaaat? I know. Somewhere, someone’s Google calendar just crashed and burst into flames. But if you have a life outside of work and an identity that encompasses more than your office personality, it’s safe to say you understand that there is more meaning to life than just hustling for success (sorry, workaholics, I’m looking at you) and open to investing your time in other pursuits. Also, it means you have hobbies, interests, or conversation topics to share with a potential partner.
Self-care is one of your priorities
You have to know how to care for yourself before you care about someone else. This is crucial for a relationship, because codependent patterns can be easy to fall into if you’re someone with a history of low self-esteem or poor boundaries. Remember to value yourself, girl!
You make time to see your friends and family
Despite leading incredibly busy work lives, it’s important to carve out space for our loved ones. If you regularly spend time with your friends and family despite your hectic schedule, that’s a good indicator that you have balanced priorities and are capable of drawing boundaries between your professional and personal life.
Saying, “I’m sorry” or “I forgive you” isn’t a Herculean feat
Relationships are a lot of work; any partner you choose to date will bring a lot of past baggage and unconscious habits to the table and so will you. You’ll also have different perspectives and opinions on how to do things. Regardless, you’re going to screw up or disagree at some point. Probably repeatedly. So, knowing when to put your ego aside and apologize is crucial and shows maturity. I mean, you’d apologize to your boss or colleagues if you messed up, right? Same goes for your partner.
You have healthy self-esteem
In the words of Mama Ru, “If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love someone else?”
You can cry
Crying is a good thing, and I bet your therapist would back me up on this. From what my own therapist has taught me, crying is a sign of emotion, of caring about something; more importantly, it is a sign of being in touch with your emotions. To be in a stable, healthy relationship, you have to be emotionally available. *clears throat meaningfully* Those of you who have dated emotionally unavailable partners know exactly what I mean.
…But not about your ex
To be fully ready to start dating, you *clap* have *clap* to *clap* be *clap* emotionally *clap* available. That means emotionally present and invested in the relationship you’re seeking now, not the one that ended six months ago.
You’re ready to settle down
Maybe you’re one of those unicorns who have all their ducks in a row. You’ve paid off your student loans, got good credit and a steady income, seen a therapist, and traveling to Mexico to flirt with attractive locals every summer no longer entices you. You’re ready to find the right person to share your life with.
Being alone doesn’t scare you
Being in a relationship doesn’t mean you’ll never be alone. You shouldn’t have to depend on your partner to constantly entertain you or be your emotional crutch. Expect that your potential partner has his or her own life (and troubles) and that there will be instances you’ll have to fend for yourself.
You want to!!!
A lot of women receive a lot of external pressure from family and/or society to “find someone”, especially once they hit their 30s. “Your clock is ticking!” or “Your father/mother and I want some grandkids!” All I have to say to that is this: Fabulous Goddess, date because you want to. Not because someone else says you should or because you feel like you owe it to someone.
The thing is, a lot of us crave companionship. It’s a big, crazy world out there–but at the end of the day, only you know when you’re truly ready to take it on with someone by your side.