One day, you’ll meet your lifelong partner, the relationship that will bring you the love of your life.
You may meet the “right” person several times throughout your life. What to do when you find this person matters, because it could mean the difference between a happy lifelong relationship and a missed opportunity. Sometimes finding the right person is not enough, though. You must also be ready to seize this opportunity when it comes. In other words, you need to know how to love and be loved before you can start your forever with someone. Here are five signs that you’re ready for a serious relationship:
1. You know how to love yourself.
This seems obvious, but many people simply don’t know how to love themselves. Just because you take care of your needs and think highly of yourself, that doesn’t mean you actually love yourself. Real love includes accepting yourself for who you are, flaws and all. It means loving yourself in spite of your mistakes, imperfections and fully embracing the amazing person you are.
You love others by finding yourself in them. If you don’t truly love yourself, though, you won’t truly love your partner.
2. You have an understanding of true love.
Far too many people confuse admiration and love. Many people think they love someone when, in reality, they just like the person’s positive qualities. Love involves deeply connecting with your partner, that part of the person that remains the same no matter how much they age.
Qualities that come and go, like looks, intelligence, skills, professional status, and material possessions don’t provide that lasting connection. You might like someone who is charming and shares your interests, but these qualities can change over time, and they don’t bring deep connection and true love.
3. You create deep connections.
People form good relationships when they connect. In fact, no relationship lasts without that spark of connection between two people. This connection does not just happen t by chance; it comes when you are honest and vulnerable. If your heart is closed and you are not sharing yourself, your partner will not connect with you.
Making the most of any relationship requires both the act of letting your guard down and demonstrating safety and acceptance.
4. You accept others completely.
There’s a known law that comes with relationships, and you must acknowledge it. What you do not accept, your partner will not share with you. When your parents do not accept your lifestyle choices or your values, you hide it from them. When your friend is judgmental or intolerant, you avoid discussing sensitive issues with them. And when you make a mistake that your boyfriend or girlfriend might not accept, your first impulse is to stay quiet.
You might not agree with every decision, but being accepting towards your partner’s thoughts and actions is necessary if you want an honest relationship where both you and your partner can share your thoughts fully and know that each other understands. This is one of the harder skills to learn, but if you are able to master the difference between acceptance and agreement, you will find and keep the person of your dreams.
5. You work at bridging differences.
Every relationship encounters differences. The question is not whether there are differences, but rather how the differences are resolved.
Strong relationships settle differences by arriving at a understanding based on what makes the most sense. Both sides share what they know and together they sort through the facts and feelings until there is agreement.
When you can bring teamwork and harmony in the face of disagreement, you are doing more than just avoiding a breakup or needless drama: You’re paving the way for a lasting relationship.
While we all hope to meet our forever person, we must first make sure that we’re prepared for them when we do find them. If you do these five things, then you’re well on your way to preparing yourself for a serious relationship.
Peter Kowalke is a relationship coach who specializes in dating and marital issues and the lead coach at Kowalke Relationship Coaching. For more information on how he can help you, visit his website.
Originally published on YourTango.
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