So, you want to fall in love? You are certainly old enough and moving
well along your chosen career path. Many of your friends are either married
or in committed relationships. You have grown weary of the singles scene
and the solitary life. Therefore, you must be ready, right?
So what is relationship readiness anyway? Exactly what it says. You are
adequately capable of handling the commitment and challenges that a
healthy, intimate relationship requires.
How do you know if you are ready? What are the characteristics you need
to have or acquire in order to be ready for true love?
There are four primary areas that you should explore in order to assess
your present state of readiness.
1. Take an inventory of past traumas and related major issues.
You should mentally review these and honestly look at how well you
have already addressed and resolved them.
As you work through each, ask yourself, "Is this impacting me negatively
in my present life." Also explore with yourself the possibility that the
issue could become problematic once you have entered into an intimate
If you believe that there are things you have not yet adequately dealt with, you
need to go to work on these. If you are unsure, then they bear closer
examination. Consider utilizing resources such as therapy or joining a
An example of such issues can include, but not be limited to;
emotional, physical or sexual abuse in childhood, parents' divorce, loss
of a parent or other loved one, or a past abusive or dysfunctional love
2. How's your self-awareness and self-esteem?
If you do not possess adequate self knowledge and a positive sense of self; an intimate relationship will be difficult or impossible to sustain.
For instance, do you know yourself well enough to answer the following?
Can you state your most deeply held values?
Do you know what you can't live with or without in a relationship?
Do you have a good grasp of your life goals?
Do you know your own strengths and weaknesses?
Now, do a quick assessment of your self-esteem.
How do you see yourself?
How do others see you?
Remember you present different selves:
in gatherings with acquaintances
If your answers tell you that you have difficulty accepting and liking
yourself, or if others frequently respond negatively to you in your
interactions with them, then this is an area you should begin work on.
Self-love is at the foundation of all healthy relationships.
3. Are your past relationships really in the past?
If we don't get adequate closure on painful experiences/issues from
past relationships, we are at risk of bringing them into present and
future relationships in order to relive and resolve them.
Therefore, it's important to know that you have dealt adequately with
any significant hurt or loss and have learned from any dysfunctional
dynamics you may have contributed to.
If you find yourself slipping into unhealthy patterns in your thoughts or
Behaviors as they relate to others; stop, identify, and then deal with
that leftover issue.
4. Do you know what you want from a relationship?
We enter into relationships for many different reasons and with many
different expectations. Knowing what yours are will help you to
determine if this is the right relationship for you.
Too often we "choose" someone using an unconscious level of thought
as our primary input. It is there that we hold our deepest unmet needs,
fears and desires. Unfortunately, there is often a chasm between our
conscious and unconscious selves that keeps this information
"hidden" from our rational and thinking side.
Therefore, it is very important to examine all of your feeling and needs
regarding any future relationship. Honestly look at what you must have
and cannot live without.
You must know what you want and need from a future partner in order
to choose the right one for you.
Now, spend some time exploring these four important areas before you
enter into a serious romantic relationship. By doing so, you will be
helping to ensure that your new relationship will be a healthy and
Toni Coleman is a licensed therapist and relationship coach in private practice in McLean, Virginia. She specializes in working with singles that want to create lasting, intimate relationships. Toni has over 20 years of post-masters experience in relationship counseling and coaching with singles and couples. She is the founder and President of LifeChange Coaching and Consum-mate Relationship Coaching. She developed and teaches the Creating Lasting Relationships Training, a tele-workshop designed to help singles to define, implement and fulfill their life and relationship goals. She has also written numerous email classes for singles on all aspects of meeting, dating and relating. She is the author of the email newsletter, The Art of Intimacy, which goes out to thousands of subscribers monthly.