In the infamous words of Carrie Bradshaw, "When it comes to relationships some people are settling down, some are settling, and some people refuse to settle for anything less than butterflies." All three of those scenarios are totally valid options. But how do you know which one is right for you, and whether or not you’re ready to settle down with someone (or multiple someones)? Knowing whether or not you’re ready for a relationship really boils down to some simple questions to ask before settling down to discover what you want out of that relationship and what you know about yourself.
Settling down for the sake of having someone isn’t necessarily the healthiest reason to jump into a long-term relationship. But understanding your motives for looking for a partner can help you parse out whether or not it’s something you’re really ready to do. Even if all your friends seem to be moving in with people, getting engaged and married, or having kids, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should (or should even want to.) Relationships are a very personal thing, and they’re different for everyone. So how do you know if you’re ready to settle down? Ask yourself these questions before jumping in.
1. What Do I Want Out of Life?
It’s hard to find what you want if you don’t know what you want. And if you’re unsure what you want, that might make settling down with someone a challenge. It means a lot of uncertainty and unknowns for a relationship. What are your feelings about having kids? What about marriage? What are your priorities? These things can help you find someone who wants similar things that you do.
2. Who Am I?
Do you know who you are? If you’re still figuring out who you are as a person, it may not be the best time to get into a serious relationship. Before you’ve solidified your own identity, it can be easy to become what other people want you to be. Feeling strong and secure in who you are is a good indication that you’re ready to start looking for a partner.
3. What Kind of Relationship Am I Looking For?
Are you monogamous? Non-monogamous? Polyamorous? Solo poly? Romantic or aromantic? Having an understanding of what kind of relationship you’re looking for can help you find someone who wants the same thing. Of course, this may change over time, and that’s OK. But if you’re someone who knows for sure that you want something monogamous or you’re pretty certain that you’re polyamorous, these things are helpful to know before looking for a long-term relationship of some kind.
4. What Are My Dealbreakers?
Before committing to the long-haul with someone, you should know what things you’re absolutely not willing to put up with. This can be lifestyle questions, like whether or not you would date someone who uses drugs, or more abstract questions about the way you want to be treated. For example, I dated someone who refused to introduce me to his friends or family, and I vowed never to do that again after that relationship ended, because it made me feel so bad about myself.
5. Am I Willing To Compromise For Someone Else?
If you know that you’re not ready to make room in your life for someone else and things that are important to them, it may be an indicator that you’re not ready to settle down with someone.
6. Why Do You Want A Relationship?
Are you looking for a relationship because you feel solid in who you are and are looking for someone to complement you? Or are you looking to fill a void in your life, to rid yourself of loneliness, or looking for someone to complete you? If it’s any of the latter reasons, that’s not necessarily a healthy reason to get involved with someone. Not only that, you’re putting unfair and unrealistic expectations on a potential partner, ones that they will inevitably fail to meet. That’s not fair to either one of you.