Wait until you’re ready.After my first engagement, I went on a date with a different guy almost every weekend. When I traveled, I had casual sex. I did that for almost two years. Near the end, I felt bleached.
Here’s the only thing I learned:
My mistake was that I wanted a relationship to complete me, when that’s not what they’re built for. They can’t fix your loneliness or insecurity. For a relationship to work, you have to see your life as already good enough. Until then, you only think you want one.
You have to center your own orbit.
With that, here’s four signs you might not want a relationship, and you’re better off without one, for the time being:
You might be rushing to sex, or a declaration of love. Whatever it is, your expectations will make dates painful. Someone who wants to be in a relationship doesn’t grade their dates.
They let them happen.
Who are you so eager to impress, maybe an ex? Not a great sign…
This goes deeper than the typical rebound scenario. Some of us are always staking our identity on the status of our mate. If you don’t think you’re enough on your own, you’ll always need a human prop by your side to prove your inherent worth to everyone.
Valuable props have a way of walking off set. Sooner or later, they’ll realize what’s happening. They’ll leave.
Then you’ll have to go out looking for a new prop.
In truth, something else occupies your attention most of the time. You’re not really invested in the relationship.
Not many people want to be a part-time boyfriend or girlfriend. The pay is lousy, the benefits even worse. That’s why they eventually cheat on you, or leave, because they’re not fulfilled.
Can you blame them? Not really.
Don’t punish yourself, either. At certain points in your life, it makes complete sense to be focused on something like your career. Sometimes you just have to get your house in order. You have to go out and wrangle your dreams. It’s hard to do that and love someone.
Maybe your mistake wasn’t investing too little in the relationship. It was trying to have one in the first place.
It’s not as bad as it sounds.
For two years, I found things to fixate on in relationships. I looked for little dents in people that bothered me, and I used them as excuses to break up. My problem wasn’t that I needed to relax my standards. It was that I wasn’t allowing myself what I really wanted.I wanted to be single.
I wanted peace and quiet. I wanted an apartment to myself for a year. I wanted time to read and write. It wasn’t until I gave myself those things that I was actually ready for a relationship again.
Remember how small you are.
It’s easy to think a relationship is supposed to give you some part of yourself that’s missing, or somehow complete your soul. That’s what we’re taught over and over, because it’s very effective in making everyone think they should get hitched and start pumping out babies.
A relationship has needs that exceed and supersede our own. They’re demanding, even exhausting.
I’ve been married for five years. Sometime before my wedding, I remember standing in the middle of a field and looking up at a night sky free of light pollution that stretched out forever. “I’m so small compared to all this,” I thought, “almost inconsequential.”
Looking back, that was my signal. I was ready.