How to Know If You’re Truly Ready for a Serious Relationship

Many of us think we are — here’s how to know for sure

A. Joshua W.

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

It’s called “the Wobegon effect” — after the fictional Lake Wobegon, where “all the children are well-behaved, the women are good-looking, and the men are rich.” We all have a tendency to over-estimate our own abilities and under-estimate our shortcomings; in reality, in every category, almost half of us are below average (see what I did there?). Denial, by its very nature, resides in our blind spots: we simply do not know what we refuse to see. Self-awareness & introspection are uncomfortable & difficult processes, and to really dig up the buried aspects of our behavior, we need the help of an outside source — such as a trusted friend or counselor, or in a pinch, some random guy who wrote an article that people will most likely read while sitting on a toilet (you’re welcome; also, you’re running low on toilet paper).

So, without further ado, here are some common signs that you’re not as ready to be in a serious relationship as you might believe:

Do you feel justified in hurting someone who hurt you?

This is the most common behavior I’ve observed in others and in myself, and often the most difficult for us to admit to ourselves. When someone wrongs us, how do we handle it? Do we fire back with stinging words, withdraw our affection, or resort to passive-aggressive behaviors? If we are only nice to our partner when they are nice to us, not only does that suggest the relationship is based more upon transactional benefits to each party rather than selfless & genuine love, but we also run the risk of turning misunderstandings & miscommunications into sources of resentment & grudges. We may feel they “deserved” it, but if we react with spite and hurt those who hurt us, then what excuse do we have if they reciprocate the harm we caused to them? In a long-term serious relationship, this manner of thinking will always lead to disaster, producing feelings of contempt & promoting a “tit-for-tat” attitude between both partners.

When we are wronged, we must have the self-control to resist the urge to retaliate, the courage to be vulnerable & honest with our partner about how their words or actions (or lack…

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A. Joshua W.

Full-time single father of 3 sons, INFJ, HSP/empath, narc abuse survivor, former rising star in chiropractic until lies & biases destroyed my career.