Cultivating a healthy sense of self-love is one the key components of having a successful romantic connection because you don’t have a healthy relationship with self, you can’t possible develop one with someone else. The truth of this sentiment can be found in your very own love stories.
Think about how much harm could’ve been avoided if the people who hurt you in the past—be it family, friends, or exes—would have taken the initiative to build a foundation of self-love; Went to therapy, learned healthier habits and behaviors, and at the very least, was honest with you about their inability to really meet your wants, need, and expectations.
Now think about the emotional discomfort that those people and situations caused you—would you really want to inflict that same pain on someone completely unsuspecting, and most importantly, undeserving? Hopefully the answer is no.
To avoid passing pain and trauma along, and truly be ready for a relationship, you need to be well on your way to healing. Here are 4 ways to know if you’re ready to commit, or if it’s time to put dating on ice until you’re in a healthier mental and emotional space.
Your past is not at the center of your present.
You know you’re truly ready when your past doesn’t have a chokehold on you. And it’s as simple as that. You’re not constantly thinking about your exes and what they did.
You’re not actively trying to flex on old friends who didn’t see your worth; You’ve identified childhood wounds and you’re working to reparent yourself. You’re moving forward.
A lot of us struggle with moving on from our past experiences because we feel that moving on too fast or too far will invalidate our feelings, and this couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s important to know that, while you may have been victimized in certain situations, your whole identity is not rooted in you being a victim.
The best case for moving on is understanding that what has happened to you is not who you are. And if you continue to look to the past as a predictor of what’s to come in your future, you will eventually develop a self-fulfilling prophecy by recreating the very circumstances you were trying to escape.
If you really want something new—something better, something different than you had before—you’ll need to muster up the courage to stop telling yourself old stories and finally turn the page and write a new one.
You’re attachment style is secure-leaning.
Your attachment style shows your pattern of behavior around interpersonal relationships. If you’ve ever been considered “clingy” or even someone who “needs too much space”, that was referring to an element of your particular attachment style.
The attachment theory say that humans are born with a need to form a close emotional bond with a caregiver and our attachment styles are developed based on both our general relationship with said caregiver(s), as well as how they respond to our wants and needs.
It’s no secret that a significant part of who we are is influenced by our upbringings, and how we act in romantic relationships is no different. When it comes to dating, there are 4 different attachment styles we make take on:
- Secure Attachment: You have the ability to develop secure, healthy, and stable relationships with others. You are able to develop trust with others, and also be trusted. You are not afraid of intimacy, nor are panicked by the idea of separation, aloneness, or independence. You are able to connect with others without codependency.
- Anxious Attachment: You’ve developed deep insecurity due to a fear of abandonment. You are so afraid of being left that you tend to cling to your partners, or pick partners that have no problem leaning into unhealthy, codependent behaviors. You often fear that your partner will forget, leave, or betray you in some way.
- Avoidant Attachment: You’ve developed deep insecurity due to a fear of intimacy. You believe that keeping your emotional, mental, or physical distance from your partners will lower their expectations of you, or protect you from the perceived reality that your needs won’t be met. You are generally considered emotionally unavailable.
- Fearful-Avoidant Attachment: You exhibit behaviors from both anxious and avoidant attachment styles. You may crave emotional intimacy and closeness, but the fear you have surrounding trusting and bonding with others is too deep for you to actually develop healthy, loving relationships.
If you aren’t sure what your attachment style truly is, take the the test here.
You have a healthy relationship with compromise.
Compromise is at the center of all healthy relationships because once we link up with another person, their wants and needs become just as important as our own. That doesn’t mean that you should never do things for you and only you at times, but it does mean that you must make space for them to do the same.
Compromise can be as small as splitting the bill when you go out to eat, and as big as only seeing your boo every other weekend because you know they dedicate all their time to working and grad school during the week.
Compromise has many different faces and exists in many different spaces, but they all narrow down to one thing: being able to step outside of yourself because you see the bigger picture benefit.
However, don’t forget that compromise isn’t all about giving up a little of what you want, but it’s also about getting exactly what you want sometimes. Giving up too much of what you want for someone isn’t healthy, either. That’s not a healthy relationship with compromise, that’s you being an unnecessary martyr—and that’s no good for the relationship either.
Before you get into a relationship, check yourself. Do you have a healthy, balanced relationship with “me vs we”? Are you aware that relationships should be 50/50, but sometimes they are 70/30? Meditate on these ideas before moving forward.
Your happiness is rooted in things other than just romance.
Romance is beautiful, but it’s not the only thing in life that can bring you happiness and fulfillment. No matter how much you want a relationship or even just to intimately connect with somebody, make sure it’s not the only thing you’re looking forward to these days.
You have so much in life to focus on and give your attention to in the meantime. There’s hopes and dreams, hobbies, friends, family, wellness goals, work to do—and if you don’t have any of the aforementioned things, it’s about that time for you to go out and get some.
Daydreaming about the love you want and deserve is so damn cool, but don’t let it turn into an unhealthy and uncomfortable obsession that swallows you whole.