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Six months after her divorce, Jo Carter, a project manager at a university in Madison, Wisconsin, thought she was ready to date. She had married her high-school prom date a year after graduating from college, and they were together for 19 years before splitting up.


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 if you don't love yourselfit's harder to give and receive love. Relationship readiness is a key factor in whether or not a relationship is likely to last.

What does it mean to be ‘ready’ for a relationship?

As researcher Chris Agnew explains, "Feeling ready le 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.

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Of course, deciding if you're finally emotionally ready to start dating is never easy — no one wants to get their heart broken again, and love is risky. Even if you're feeling more secure in yourself and you feel like you've thoroughly moved on from your last relationshipit can be scary jumping into a new relationship. We asked experts to clue us in to the s, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that reveal someone loves himself or herself enough to sustain a relationship.

Here are 5 ways to tell you're finally ready for a serious 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. 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. Men and women are ready for love when they realize they deserve to receive unconditional love from a partner.

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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. 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. One is ready to manifest healthy, lasting love when they truly abandon the wish that another can "save" or "heal" them.

Are you ready for a serious relationship?

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. 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.

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People are ready for love when they don't have a rigid set of expectationsand a laundry list of must-haves and deal-breakers. They simply want to find someone wonderful to love and share their life with. You're okay being single — not in a reed 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.

The old adage is true: the person who is most ready for love is she who has stopped actively pursuing it.

5 s you are ready for a serious relationship

Instead, she has been concentrating on developing her own skills, passions, and happiness. A confident, grounded, and interesting person is extremely appealing. 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. 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.

Are you ready for a serious relationship?

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. Look for s 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 that you're not ready to move forward.

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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. 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 Either way, this person understands she will be better for it since the love and support she has for herself will always be there.

5 surefire s you're finally ready for a serious relationship

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. 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. 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.

25 sure s you're really, truly — finally — ready for a relationship

Dating is about finding your complimentary match, not your other half. 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.

One 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. 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.

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Another 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.

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. When you know what turns you on, what brings you pleasure, and you aren't afraid to go after it, it's a good you're ready to share 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.

The YourTango Experts team includes d therapists, dating and life coaches, matchmakers, and more professionals committed to offering you the tools and guidance for a happier and more rewarding life. in. YourTango Experts. Expert Blog. Subscribe to our newsletter.

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Being single has plenty of positives.