Real Talk: 3 Ways To Tell If You Can Handle A Serious Relationship

by Vanessa Santaguida

I have come to realize that being with someone and cultivating a healthy, happy relationship is a whole lot about timing and the circumstances at hand.

It does not matter how amazing the other person is, how attractive he or she is or how compatible you two may be; if the timing isn’t right, the union is doomed to fail.

Both people in a relationship need to be emotionally and mentally ready to be in a dedicated, loving unison. If you are not at this place in your life, the relationship will likely fail, regardless of your endeavors to make it prosper. I have learned this the hard way.

Many people place blame on their partners for the collapse of a relationship, when in reality, they may very well be the source of the problem.

I recently was forced to evaluate my past relationships in an effort to search for a resolution to a recent issue in my life. Through observation, I discerned that I, in fact, was not the picture-perfect girlfriend I proclaimed myself to be. I was actually a pretty big bitch.

I ignored the phone calls of those I claimed to love, thinking nothing of it, simply doing so as a game to attain some imaginary advantage over my partner. Basically, I was playing hard to get.

I didn’t take real time (read: quality time) to nurture the relationship and, instead, maintained a façade-type level of interaction. By this, I mean our time together consisted of going out to parties and hanging out in groups with friends, rather than taking walks together, having intimate conversations or really being present with one another.

I always pointed a finger at the other person’s actions and never my own. Another issue was my allowance of external influences on the relationship. Regardless of whom gossip came from, or who proffered their opinion, it always took precedence over the person I was dating. This clearly was unfair to the other individual in the relationship.

I was selfish, inconsiderate and oblivious to how my demeanor impacted others who truly cared about me. For this, I am sorry. I never comprehended the gravity love can have on an individual. The truth of the matter is, though, I was not ready to be in a real relationship.

I was not certain of where I wanted to go in life, and this anxiety caused me to be reckless with the emotions of others who had trusted me so dearly with the thing most precious to them: their heart.

You may not be ready for a real relationship, you know, the long-term thing. If this is the case, then don’t waste the time of another and your own time. Save yourself from the heartache.

More importantly, be kind, be considerate and emancipate the other poor individual in the relationship from pain. So, how do you know you are, indeed, ready? There are three major assessments you should make before getting seriously involved with someone:

Have You Learned Something From Your Previous Relationship?

Our time spent on this earth is not a barometer for our experience with relationships. In other words, being 40 years old doesn’t necessarily make you a relationship virtuoso by any means.

There are single people in their 40s who don’t have a first clue about what it means to be in a relationship with another human being. Additionally, immersing oneself in frequent relations or even multiple “long haul” affairs does not indicate one is a relationship guru.

Some people spend five years in a relationship and learn nothing. On the other hand, there are individuals who may engage in a short-term relationship and have a world of lessons to take away from it.

If you are in the state of mind in which you feel anger or resentment against an ex, then you are not ready to start a fresh relationship. It is only when you are prepared to forgive and let go that you will be unrestrained from the emotional ties to your past relation and be ready to give your heart and mind to someone else.

Do You Feel Like You Need To Please Your Parents?

Many of us try very hard to appease our mother or father (or both). We want to make them proud, and it is an innate, human need we have.

However, there comes a point in our lives when we have to realize that we may never be able to please their every whim. Although our parents tend to have our best interests at heart, and their intentions are good, they are not always right.

If you are constantly focusing on satisfying your parents, you will never be able to concentrate on achieving your own goals. Of course, you should love your parents, nurture your relationship with them and show them the appreciation they deserve.

Also bear in mind, however, at the end of the day, you aren’t going to marry your parents or spend the rest of your existence building a family or life with them.

Are You Where You Want to Be In Life, Or Know Where You Want To Go?

Some people have a psychical need to accomplish specific goals in their life before entering a long-term, committed relationship, and this is perfectly fine.

In fact, if you are able to realize that you simply cannot give another individual the attention and love he or she deserves due to personal ambitions, then you are a step ahead of many people.

A close friend of mine is very adamant about being financially stable, secure and set in his career before looking for the woman of his dreams. Rather than lead on girls and instill unrealistic expectations, he refrains from serious dating situations (this is not to say he doesn’t have fun) and, thus, ultimately from hurting others.

Of course, not everyone is the same. Some people find they are more determined to accomplish their goals when they are in a loving relationship. They are given strength and inspired with positivity, which propels their drive to achieve their personal ambitions.

The dilemma arises when a person has no vision for his or her future. In a relationship, both people should feel motivated and encouraged to move forward, to become better human beings and to achieve the goals they have set for themselves.

A person with no future vision can be an anchor for the other person in a relationship. Even simply knowing whether you want to be a family man, or not have kids, makes a world of a difference. In the end, a plan may be all you need to feel confident and sanguine about being with another person.

If there is one last piece of advice I can leave you with, it is to be sure you love yourself thoroughly, through and through, before you get involved with someone.

It is cliché, but it is bona fide advice. You cannot care and love someone else unless you deeply and truly love yourself.

Photo Courtesy: We Heart It