So, you’ve kissed your share of frogs and you’re feeling ready to settle down. But is “feeling ready” and actually “being ready” to fully commit to someone the same? Maybe you’ve met the right person but felt the timing was all wrong. They checked all your boxes, yet you still couldn’t make it work. Contrary to what Rom Coms have taught us, relationships aren’t just about meeting the perfect person at the right time and voila – happily ever after! In real life, healthy relationships are about two people who are emotionally ready coming together and working towards their version of a happy ending.

Being relationship ready means you’ve spent time working on yourself to truly know what you want emotionally. So that when the perfect person does come along, you’ll be ready to share your life alongside theirs. Here are 8 little things to do to be relationship ready:

1. Love yourself

You should be your own cheerleader. Celebrate your wins in life, be it at work or on a personal front. What have you achieved lately that you can celebrate and be proud of? The person standing in front of you in the mirror deserves your love. “A healthy self-esteem is a prerequisite for a healthy relationship—that without sufficient self-love, we’re not capable of truly loving others.” writes Juliana Breines, Ph.D. And remember, confidence is sexy. And being confident when meeting new people can really make a difference.

2. Set realistic standards

Being single and spending time alone is a great time to discover yourself. What are your aspirations and goals? Are children and marriage something you want in the next couple of years? Do you desire a partner who is present and in the moment, or do you want someone ambitious and as career focused as you? It’s great to have standards, but it’s important to have realistic ones too. Once you figure out what you want out of this life, it’ll make finding the right person much easier.

3. Nobody is perfect

Be prepared to enter a relationship knowing that you have to accept certain minor flaws about your partner. It is foolish to think that your significant other could do no wrong. As long as both your values and life aspirations align, accepting someone for who they are is crucial in a healthy relationship. “It’s important to note that in a healthy relationship, both partners will motivate each other to become the best versions of themselves — this is not the same as trying to change someone’s nature.” writes James Michael Sama in his article for Huff Post.

4. Be baggage free

Still thinking of your ex – what could have been or secretly stalking them on social media? Did it end badly with past wounds that have yet to be healed? According to Relationship Therapist, Annie Gurton, when you carry emotional baggage from past relationships “you may find yourself behaving in ways that you don’t understand, and your new partner may be difficult or create difficulties which create doubts in your mind.” So, it’s essential that you spend some time nurturing your emotional wellbeing post breakup before committing to someone new.

5. Happily single

Are you a serial dater, always in search of a significant other to keep you from feeling lonely? Dating whoever comes knocking on your door to keep you busy? Entering a relationship just to fill a void will find you with the wrong partner, wasting both yours and their precious time. “We all need to have the dignity and self-respect to only commit ourselves to those who deserve it, and the only way to be able to wait for that is to be happy before they come along.” says James Michael Sama. This is one of the main reasons all clients at Ideal only start being introduced once they are in a happy space in their lives.

6. Learn from your past relationship mistakes

History has a way of repeating itself. So unless you’ve spent the time learning and growing from your mistakes in a failed relationship, you are likely to carry the same behaviours into the next chapter of your love life. “Take responsibility for your mistakes, reflect honestly about why you made each mistake, and figure out how you can do better in the future.” says writer Calvin Rosser.

7. Communication is key

We are not born mind readers and nor should we be. Your partner will not know what you want unless you communicate your desires, thoughts and feelings in a healthy and constructive way. According to Laura Amatruto, “Lack of communication creates rifts of misunderstanding and sometimes puts your wants and needs on the back burner. Being able to articulate clearly what exactly you mean is an admirable trait, and will create a strong foundation to any relationship, not just romantic.”

8. It’s not all about you – compromise

Knowing that the world doesn’t revolve around you is an attractive characteristic in a partner. It means you are aware of how your words and actions can both affect your significant other and the impact it has on your relationship. “This could mean anything from watching a type of movie you don’t like, to moving to a new city or state for the one you love. The bottom line is, in a happy, healthy relationship — your partner’s happiness is just as important as your own.” writes James Michael Sama.

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