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Are You Relationship Ready?
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 relationship.
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 support group.
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 relationship.
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: at work, with family, with friends, 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 lasting one.
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Toni Coleman, LCSW
© Copyright 2008 Antoinette Coleman. All rights reserved.
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