The first and most important relationship you’ll ever have throughout life is your relationship with yourself. How you feel about, and care for your own mind, body, and spirit sets the stage for all relationships outside yourself — with your partner, family, friends, and co-workers. From psychological, spiritual, and practical perspectives, it’s pretty clear that it’s harder to give and receive love if you don’t love yourself.
Am I ready for a relationship?
Relationship readiness is a crucial factor in whether or not a relationship is likely to last. A 2019 study found that when people feel ready for a relationship, that relationship is 25% less likely to end. As researcher Chris Agnew explains, “Feeling ready leads to better relational outcomes and well-being. When a person feels more ready, this tends to amplify the effect of psychological commitment on relationship maintenance and stability.”
Of course, deciding if you’re finally emotionally ready to start dating is never easy — no one wants to get their heartbroken again, and love is risky. Even if you’re feeling more secure in yourself and feel like you’ve thoroughly moved on from your last relationship, it can be scary to jump into a new relationship.
We asked experts to clue us in to the signs, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that reveal someone loves themselves enough to sustain a relationship. And once you read their relationship advice for how to know if you’re ready for commitment, the point is not that you need to fulfill all the points on this list, but that you can use this to inspire you to increase love from the place where it starts: within.
Here are 25 signs you’re ready for a relationship.
1. You attract a like-minded partner.
When you’re in the energy of self-love and acceptance, it’s easy to magnetically attract a like-minded partner who not only loves himself/herself, but is available, interested, and ready for healthy, happy, whole love.
2. You complete yourself.
You know you’re ready for a relationship when you don’t need a relationship to feel happy and worthy, when you want a relationship to share your love rather than to get love, and when loving yourself and sharing your love is more important to you than having control over getting love. When you want a relationship to deepen your growth rather than to fill your emptiness, you’re ready.
3. You won’t settle for conditional love.
Men and women are ready for love when they realize they deserve to receive unconditional love from a partner.
4. You realize there’s nothing “wrong” with you.
The only person who can complete you is… you. The way to do that is to realize that there is nothing wrong with you; you’re not broken, you don’t need to be fixed. The truth of love is found in self-acceptance, and in shining the light of love on those dark places inside of us.
5. You don’t seek constant distraction.
You’re not afraid to be alone — and in silence, even. You like spending time alone and don’t need the television to be on or the phone to be glued to your head. You can be with just yourself.
6. You’re not waiting for someone else to save you.
One is ready to manifest healthy, lasting love when they truly abandon the wish that another can “save” or “heal” them. Self-acceptance and self-love are markers that one is fully ready for intimacy.
This state of being allows one to be open to both giving and receiving love in a pure, authentic way — unburdened by notions of healing wounds from the past.
7. You honor your bigger self.
When you understand who you are — as a human, in relation to God or your spirituality — and when you’re able to consider the “other” without compromising or obsessing about “me,” you’re setting yourself up to live a healthy, beautiful relationship.
8. You’ve tossed your list.
People are ready for love when they don’t have a rigid set of expectations, and a laundry list of must-haves and deal-breakers. They simply want to find someone wonderful to love and share their life with.
9. You’re OK being single.
If you can say “I am okay without a relationship,” then you’re ready for one! You’re okay being single — not in a resigned or defeated way. It’s more about one have a deep knowing of who you are, your purpose, and that while you desire love, you won’t allow yourself to be miserable while you’re single.
10. You’ve called off the search.
The old adage is true: the person who is most ready for love is she who has stopped actively pursuing it. Instead, she has been concentrating on developing her own skills, passions, and happiness. A confident, grounded, and interesting person is extremely appealing.
11. You want a relationship, but don’t need one.
Someone is ready for love when they want it but don’t need it. That’s the absolute best place to be: wanting a relationship, believing it would be great, but not needing it for your happiness. Being truly happy without it is often the fastest way to bring it about.
12. You smile a lot.
Notice the next time you see your reflection. No matter what you might be wearing or if it’s a good hair day or not, is the reflection you catch a glimpse of is one that makes you smile?
When you catch yourself smiling more than making comments, excuses, or judgment, then you know you accept yourself unconditionally and are ready to do the same for another, too.
13. You own your energy.
You know that you’re a vibrational match for your real-deal beloved when you move through your day with access to your own energy, whether or not you have a partner. You’re sourcing it from within. Yes, they will be irresistibly attracted to your beauty, fragrance, and nectar, but you’re the magnificent blossom.
14. You’re over your last relationship.
Look for signs that anger and resentment are gone, and that they have forgiven not only your ex but yourself. To be angry at yourself is a clear sign that you’re not ready to move forward. If you cannot accept where you are and who you are right now, then it’s time to make a change.
You will know that you’re ready to go out there and date again when you have given up your story, can think about your ex with neutrality, compassion, and understanding, and find yourself thinking, “I’m ready to move on with my life.”
15. You’re willing to take a risk.
A person who is ready for true intimacy is aware of the risks and uncertainty that comes with falling in love. She knows that the relationship will grow and evolve to something wonderful… or it won’t. Either way, this person understands she will be better for it since the love and support she has for herself will always be there.
16. You have empathy.
One quality I work hard to promote is empathy. Once a person can see beyond her desires and needs to what it will take to make her partner happy, she is well on her way to going from “me” to “we.”
17. You’re self-confident.
Self-confidence is the key to knowing that you’re ready for love (it’s also the most powerful aphrodisiac). When you take pride in yourself and are clear about your own worth, that is when you’ll be able to attract someone who honors you and himself in a healthy relationship.
18. You feel whole.
If you’re looking for your partner to fill an emptiness within yourself, you will always remain unsatisfied. True love is all about accepting both your partner and yourself wholeheartedly. Dating is about finding your complimentary match, not your other half.
19. You’re open-minded.
You know you’re ready when you can go off your dating script and discovering a romantic interest as though you were visiting an exotic country for the first time. Throw away your checklist, let yourself be in the moment, and open up to the joys and challenges a relationship brings.
20. You’re not afraid of vulnerability.
One sign that proves you’re ready for love is when you show courage. When you’re open to taking emotional risk, including accepting personal responsibility, love is in your future.
21. You build memories, not walls.
Someone is ready for love when they incorporate their match into their life after a few dates, rather than compartmentalizing dating activities. Building memories, not walls, shows long-term potential.
22. You’re not a puppet.
Another sign a person is ready for a healthy relationship is when he or she takes a stand for what she wants in a relationship — without being attached to the other person’s response. You’re open and honest about what you want from a potential relationship.
23. You accept change and are ready to grow.
You’re “ready” for love when you accept yourself for who you are, right now, today, but are still committed to exploring the yet undiscovered growth of yourself — individually and in a relationship.
24. You know your turn-ons.
When you know what turns you on, what brings you pleasure, and you aren’t afraid to go after it, it’s a good sign you’re ready to share the love with someone else. The key to this is honoring that you’re deserving of pleasure, whether you’re with someone or not, and recognizing that all types of sensual pleasure — the foods you eat, the smells around you, a cool shower on a hot day — keep you vibrant and alive.
25. You’re comfortable in your own skin.
Embracing yourself inside and out is a sign you’re reading to fully embrace another.
Being ready for a relationship is a huge step in finding true love. It might take time for you to get there, but once you do, you’ll realize how great it feels.