4 Important Warning Signs That You're Not Ready to Date
Are your friends, coworkers, and family trying to push you to date someone new since your last relationship? Or, are you lonely or unaccustomed to being on your own, so the pull of dating calls to you??
I get it. It sucks being the lone wolf when you see everyone around you partnering up and getting it on. But far more disastrous than dating the wrong people is when you're simply not yet ready to date.
A new relationship can take a toll on your body and mind.
It’s important for your own peace of mind, as well as the health of any new relationship, to evaluate your readiness and assess your ability to handle dating again. You don’t have to jump into the dating pool if you’re not prepared.
But how the freak do you know when it's time?
Consider these signs that you may not yet be ready to form a new romantic relationship:
1. You’re not over your ex. Please, for the love of all things good and holy, don't be that person who talks non-stop about their ex (good or bad) or who is silently comparing the person you're with now to your ex. Trust us, those of us sitting across the dinner table from you can feel it and it's a massive turn-off. It's important that you're emotionally ready to move on from your ex before you jump back into dating again.
Do you still dwell on your past relationship and can’t stop thinking about your ex? If your mind is preoccupied with thoughts about your previous partner, then you’re not ready to date again. The inability to concentrate on a new person can negatively affect your dates and hurt your reputation.
If you find yourself constantly comparing your new date to an ex, and it’s interfering with your happiness, this is another sign you need to wait. Better yet, consider working with a therapist or coach to work through this need to compare.
The emotional baggage of your past relationships can hurt your dating style. It can prevent you from noticing the positive aspects of a new partner. It can even make you dull and sullen on dates.
2. You suffer from an addiction (or are freshly in recovery). If you have an addiction or are newly in recovery from an addiction to drugs, alcohol, prescription pills, an eating disorder or other issues, remember that an addiction can have a dramatic impact on a new relationship.
Before you start dating, it’s important to deal with your addiction. And I don't just mean "think" about dealing with it....I mean taking action steps towards finding sobriety and recovery.
If you're fairly new in your sobriety and recovery (a year or less) you're in the middle of some emotional heavy lifting that is best done undistracted. You are redefining yourself and getting to know the new, recovered you...now is the time to date only yourself.
Even if you’re upfront about your addiction, your new partner may not be able to or want to handle it - and that's fair! You’re putting the entire relationship at risk.
Recognize that if you're newly sober or newly working recovery, there will be a strong pull to "medicate" in other ways.... and dating and new relationships can be just the "hit" you crave. We sometimes call this addiction switching and it's not fair to your partner(s) or to your recovery.
3. You can’t share. Do you struggle with either physical or emotional sharing? If you have trouble honestly discussing your feelings, dating is more difficult.
Is being vulnerable and open really difficult for you? Do you find yourself concealing your truth because of fear of intimacy or rejection?
Sharing can also take the form of giving your time or other things to another person. Do you have issues with sharing your food with another person? Are you troubled by the idea of sharing your space or home with a new partner?
Clarify and evaluate emotional or mental health issues that are bothering you before starting to date. Try to resolve any challenges that make you wary of sharing before you jump into dating.
4. You have deep secrets. It’s normal to have a few secrets in any relationship. However, if you have deep secrets that affect you on a serious level, then new relationships should wait until you resolve these issues as well.
Do you have a big or dangerous secret you’re hiding from the world? Are you living in fear about your future? Do you have skeletons beyond the level of typical?
A new partner may not want to or be able to handle your dark secrets, or those secrets could put them in danger.
Before you date again, you may want to examine your personal life. Can you bring another person into your world without putting them in danger? Are you prepared for the consequences of this person discovering your secrets?
Dating again can be a real challenge. It’s important to be emotionally, spiritually, intellectually and physically prepared. If you recognize that you’re just not ready to date yet, good for you! I'm going to give you a free pass to set healthy boundaries and avoid allowing your fear of being alone, or your family and friends to force you to start dating again.
When you’re truly ready, you’ll feel more confident about yourself and dating again. As a result, you’ll be off to a great start with a new relationship!