Whether you have found that special someone and are considering long-term commitment or are in the search for the elusive Mr. or Ms. Right, consider these important factors to find out if you are indeed ready for a serious relationship.

Many people are in search of that special someone whom they can hopefully spend the rest of their lives with. While the need to be in a fulfilling relationship is only natural, it is vital to be emotionally prepared in order to form a healthy and mutually beneficial bond.  The preparedness being referred to here is based on several aspects that have a lot to do with the self. Here are a few questions to help you assess whether or not you are ready to be in a relationship.

How self-aware are you?

Do not expect another person to understand you if you lack even basic knowledge of who you are. Have an adequate awareness of yourself before you consider letting someone else into your life. What do you like or dislike? What do you stand for? What are your dreams and aspirations? What are your fears and insecurities? These are just a few pointers of aspects of yourself that you should, to a considerable extent, be aware of before considering a serious relationship.

Do you love yourself? 

Loving oneself does not have to do with an undue sense of self-importance or egotism. It simply means being aware of your self-worth and possessing a healthy self-esteem. This also includes an objective view of your strengths and weaknesses and a commitment to self-improvement. When you don’t love yourself, you, more often than not, tie your sense of self-worth to someone else and become dependent on his or her feelings about you. This puts you in a vulnerable position for exploitation by another. Learn to love yourself and develop a healthy sense of self-esteem before letting someone else love you.

Can you be happy alone? 

If you find that your sense of happiness depends on someone else, you may not be ready for a serious relationship. You have to strike a balance between time spent with others and alone time. Please note that alone time does not refer to time spent waiting or commuting, or hours spent on mindless TV-watching or surfing the Internet. Deliberate time spent on self-reflection enables you to build mental and emotional self-reliance and be your own person. The ability to be happy alone is a requirement for a good relationship and will enable you to maintain a stable relationship.

 Have you let go of past hurts? 

If you are fresh out of another relationship, this is definitely not the time for you to be seeking a new relationship. This also applies if you are still hurting from a previous relationship, however long ago it ended. You need to give yourself adequate time to heal in order to be able to handle a new relationship. Avoid rebound relationships. While they may seem to numb the pain of a break up, they may prolong your healing process. In addition, free yourself of bitterness and letting the past control you by forgiving people in your past that may have hurt you. This will allow you to embrace and experience your new relationship fully.

 Can you put someone else’s needs before yours? 

Romantic relationships demand a certain level of selflessness that will, in many instances, require you to put someone else’s needs or the relationship’s needs before your own. Are you ready to do this? Selfishness, usually stemming from immaturity, will prevent you from loving unconditionally, loving only when it suits you or when the relationship is going smoothly. If this is an area of weakness for you, it will be in your best interest to work on it before seeking a relationship.

 So, if you are thinking about getting back into the dating game, have a candid self-examination and prepare yourself before getting into it.

Published in September 2013