It's oftentimes glaringly obvious when you're not ready to be in a relationship, but other times it can be rather tricky to tell if you are ready for a new relationship or not. Some behaviors are only merely borderline problematic and thus could be interpreted as minor issues. I've compiled a list of debatable, obvious, and minor indicators that say you may not be ready to be in a relationship. This is for those individuals who may be fresh out of a relationship or those who have been single for an extensive amount of time. It's possible to have been single for years and STILL not be ready to be in a new relationship. Give yourself an honest and objective self-assessment using the list below before seeking a new relationship.
1. Everything seems to remind you of your most recent ex. This could be problematic because it's an indicator of unresolved feelings for the ex you keep seeing in everyone. You very well may be unknowingly LOOKING for your ex in everyone new. This definitely can push away potential partners by expecting them to be similar to someone with whom you are no longer romantically involved.
2. You want the new relationship to distract you from your last one. This is very common, but it's never good to get into a relationship to get over your last one. If you have unresolved issues from the last relationship, it's up to ONLY you to resolve them before moving on with someone else. It's romantic to think that someone else can heal your broken heart, but the truth is, it's a self-driven effort.
3. You are still trying to be friends with your most recent ex. Ahhhhh. I know I'll get push back here, but no matter how amicably you parted ways, this can be tricky when maneuvering into a new relationship. Something to consider with this one is the level of involvement you both intend to have with one another. Lines can easily be crossed and feelings cloud sound judgment in this situation. The new partner usually ends up being hurt in some way by this blurred line.
4. You're holding on to connections and relationships that are only common to your most recent ex. This is similar to the previous item in the sense that, you are still grasping for a connection to your ex. I've seen several people remain very connected to an ex's mother and/or children (that they don't have in common). While this line isn't as blurry as the prior item on the list, it keeps opportunities for interaction with your ex wide open. This can be a potential problem for your new relationship.
5. You don't think your partner's input is necessary unless you're married. This one is pretty basic. Once in a relationship, you must actively consider your partner's feelings. Does that mean they control your every move? No, but it means they are presented with information about big decisions so that they can be an active part of your life. There's no more "lone wolf" moves in a relationship. Many people struggle with the transition from only having to consider their own feelings to incorporating someone else's.
6. You think you don't have to be fully faithful until you're married. This one is a killer, but some people really believe this. The attitude is that one can play the field until they are actually married. Then, after marriage, they'll have to honor their vows. If you don't see the value of being faithful to someone you aren't married to, a relationship is just not for you. This is also problematic because "how you practice is how you play". You can't expect to be a cheater you entire life and have a wedding ring or piece of paper change you into a faithful partner instantly. You will keep the same cheating tendencies in marriage.
7. You have several romantic options that you would be happy with pursuing. I guess this is a good problem to have for some, but until you've narrowed your options to one person, it's not good to try to enter a relationship. There will be a temptation to string along several of your options because you're not invested in any one in particular. Part of being ready to be in a relationship is being able to be emotionally responsible for others.
8. You expect the same negative outcomes as your past relationships. It so sad when I hear people say that all men are the same or all women are the same. This defeated attitude will always make you find something wrong with your partner or your new relationship. When you look for negative outcomes, you will ALWAYS get them. The more positive you are about life, the more positive outcomes you will have. Taking a negative thought process into a relationship is dooming it for failure. This is a MAJOR and OBVIOUS sign that you aren't ready for a relationship.
9. You are emotionally dependent on a family member or friend. This is a sticky situation. You'll find this with "mama's boys" and "daddy's girls" but it's definitely not limited to these relationships. Sometimes there are friends or other family members that you find yourself relying on to calibrate your emotions, calm you, etc. Having someone play this role for you, makes it hard for you to be romantically involved with someone else (as you already have a strong emotional dependency to someone already).
10. You sabotage good situations for fear of being hurt. Some people knowingly do this and other subconsciously do it when in a situation that seem to be "too good to be true". Examples of doing this are: cancelling dates, reducing communication, and withdrawing emotionally without warning. People who do this use it as a defense mechanism and sometimes believe they don't deserve a good relationship. This is a definite sign of not being ready for a relationship. Fear of being hurt will only cripple you as a partner and possibly lead to you hurting your partner.
Finding yourself in this list isn't the end of the world as long as you are willing to correct the behaviors. You want to go into a new relationship as your best self so that the chances for a positive outcome outweigh the changes for failure. If you haven't found yourself on the list, you may be ready to take that step! Keep in mind that this isn't an end all, be all list. Only you will know when you are ready to enter a relationship and be an emotional asset to someone. Until then, learn to be comfortable and healthy while single.