Starting a new relationship is an exciting opportunity. It’s a fresh start with someone you care about and may want to share your life with. But underneath the glow of newness, it’s important to consider some gritty truths–are you ready? Is your partner invested in you? Are you both on the same page about taking your relationship to the next level? These are just a few of the many questions you need to ask yourself before embarking on this new adventure:
Can I stay true to myself when I’m with them?
The most important promise to keep to yourself when you’re dating someone is that you’ll stay true to yourself and what you believe in. For this reason, if you think this person is trying to “change” you, then you should rethink the relationship. James Russell Lingerfelt, author and relationship expert at the Huffington Post, says, “Be selective with who you surround yourself with and who you allow to influence you…If they’re trying to change you, they’re not ready for a relationship…They might challenge you, which is a very good thing. But that is very different than someone trying to change you. Beware not to confuse these two.”
Have you come to terms with your own “emotional baggage”?
Sometimes, we jump into the dating scene on the heels of a bad breakup or some other traumatic life event. According to experts at the dating website eHarmony, “Don’t commit as a knee-jerk reaction…just because you hate being alone.” Be sure to take care of yourself first before moving on: “Make sure this specific person is the one you want, and that your past, while important in terms of life lessons and character building, isn’t interfering with you giving your best to someone new.”
Will they put you first?
Relationships are all about give and take. But if that person is clearly selfish, then you should walk away. Lingerfelt says to look out for “temper tantrums, outbursts of anger, control issues and their believing you should read their minds to know their wants and desires without having to communicate them to you.” These are all signs that this person may not be the one who is going to value you the way you should be valued in a relationship.
Do you love the person or the idea of being in a relationship?
There’s comfort in being in a relationship. You can rely on your partner for security and support. But it’s important to recognize if you truly love that person or if you’re just in love with the idea of having a significant other. eHarmony experts say you should ask yourself, “Do you really, really like him? Do you care about the details of his life? Are you just interested in being in a relationship, or are you craving a relationship with this particular individual?”