13 Tiny Signs You’re Not Ready For A Relationship (No Matter How Badly You Want One)

13 Tiny Signs You’re Not Ready For A Relationship (No Matter How Badly You Want One)

Sure, you want to be in a relationship, but are you actually ready for the responsibility that comes along with one? Recognizing these signs can help you understand whether you’re truly in the right place or if it might be better to focus on yourself for now. It’s okay not to be ready – taking time to understand yourself and what you really want can lead to healthier, happier relationships in the future.

1. You’re Still Fixated on Your Ex.

Portrait of upset, sad man sitting on sofa near decorated Christmas tree

If thoughts of your ex are still taking up major real estate in your mind, it’s a sign you might not be ready for a new relationship. Constantly checking their social media or comparing potential partners to them shows you’re still hanging onto the past. Being ready for a new relationship means you’re emotionally detached from your previous one. It’s about being in a place where your ex is just a part of your history, not a daily thought.

2. The Idea of Being Single Scares You.

woman looking forlorn looking out window at christmas

Feeling terrified of being alone is a red flag that you might not be ready for a relationship. If the thought of not being in a relationship makes you anxious or depressed, you might be looking for a relationship to fill a void rather than because you’re genuinely ready for a new connection. Healthy relationships come from a place of mutual desire, not out of fear of being single. It’s important to be comfortable with yourself and your single life before diving into something new.

3. You’re Constantly Lowering Your Standards.

woman standing alone as colleagues chat behind her

If you find yourself repeatedly lowering your standards and ignoring your deal-breakers just to be in a relationship, it’s a sign you’re not ready. Compromising on important values or accepting less than you deserve means you’re more interested in the idea of a relationship than the reality of a good one. Knowing your worth and what you truly want from a partner is key to a healthy relationship. It’s better to wait for someone who meets your standards than to rush into something unfulfilling. (And hey, if you do struggle with unrealistic standards in relationships, our sister site, Sweetn, can help with that. They have some amazing tips and tricks to overhaul your love life for the better. Check them out here.)

4. You Don’t Know What You Want.

woman alone at bar disappointed

Not having a clear idea of what you want from a relationship is a sign you might not be ready for one. If you’re unsure about your needs, desires, or goals in a relationship, it’s easy to end up in situations that aren’t right for you. Take some time to reflect on what you’re looking for in a partner and what a healthy relationship looks like to you. This clarity will help you navigate dating with more confidence and purpose.

5. Your Self-Esteem Is Solely Based on Your Relationship Status.

group of friends out to lunch together

If your self-worth is tied up in whether or not you’re in a relationship, it’s a sign you’re not ready for one. Relying on a relationship to feel good about yourself puts a lot of pressure on both you and your potential partner. Building your self-esteem independently of your relationship status is crucial. You should feel good about who you are alone before adding someone else to the mix.

6. You Feel Pressured to Be in a Relationship.

couple having candlelit dinner outdoors

If the only reason you’re seeking a relationship is due to external pressure – like friends coupling up or family asking why you’re still single – you might not actually be ready for one. Being in a relationship should be about your own personal desire, not about meeting others’ expectations. It’s okay to be single and to take your time. Entering a relationship should be a decision you make because it feels right for you, not because you feel it’s what you should be doing.

7. You’re Focusing on a Checklist.

If you’re dating with a rigid checklist in mind and dismissing anyone who doesn’t tick every box, it might mean you’re not ready for a real relationship. Real connections often require flexibility and openness to unexpected qualities in a partner. Being overly focused on a checklist can close you off to genuinely great people who might be perfect for you in ways you hadn’t anticipated. It’s about finding a balance between knowing what you want and being open to surprises.

8. You Get Anxious When Things Aren’t Moving Fast.

Young woman drinking coffee and using smartphone in the coffee shop

Feeling anxious if a relationship isn’t progressing quickly or following a certain timeline can be a sign you’re not ready. Healthy relationships often develop naturally and at their own pace. It’s important to be comfortable with things unfolding in their own time. If you’re feeling rushed to hit certain milestones, it could be worth slowing down and reassessing what you really want.

9. You’re Obsessed with the Idea of a Relationship.

Young man is giving beautiful bouquet of flowers to his girlfriend.

If you find yourself more in love with the idea of being in a relationship than with the person you’re dating, it’s a red flag. Being more excited about couple photos on Instagram or having a plus-one for events than about the person you’re with can indicate you’re not ready for a genuine connection. Focus on building a meaningful bond rather than just filling the role of ‘someone’s partner’. A real relationship is about the connection, not just the status.

10. You Avoid Serious Conversations.

Cropped shot of a young couple giving each other the silent treatment during a fight at home

Dodging serious conversations about the future, your feelings, or what you both want can be a sign of unpreparedness for a relationship. If you’re not ready to have these talks, it might mean you’re not ready to fully commit to or invest in someone else. Open and honest communication is the foundation of any strong relationship. Being able to discuss deeper topics is key to understanding each other and growing together.

11. You’re Not Happy on Your Own.

If you’re not content being single and feel like a relationship is the only way to happiness, it might be a sign to hold off. Relying on someone else for your happiness can lead to unhealthy relationships. Being happy on your own first is crucial. It means you’re entering a relationship to add to your life, not to fill a void.

12. Your Life Is in Major Transition.

If you’re in the middle of significant life changes, like a career shift, moving to a new city, or just coming out of another major relationship, it might not be the best time to start a new one. These transitions require focus and energy, which can be tough to give when also trying to build a new relationship. Allow yourself time to settle into these changes and understand your new situation. It’s often better to start a new relationship when you’re more stable and grounded.

13. You Feel Like You ‘Need’ Someone.

Feeling like you need a partner to be complete or successful is a warning sign. A relationship should be about wanting to share your life with someone, not feeling like you need them to be a complete or worthy person. Work on feeling whole and fulfilled on your own. A partner should complement your life, not be the missing piece to your happiness puzzle.

Like what you’ve read? Follow Bolde on MSN for more!

Harper Stanley graduated from Eugene Lang College at The New School in NYC in 2006 with a degree in Media Studies and Literature and Critical Analysis. After graduating, she worked as an editorial assistant at The Atlantic before moving to the UK to work for the London Review of Books.

When she's not waxing poetic about literature, she's writing articles about dating, relationships, and other women's lifestyle topics to help make their lives better. While shocking, she really has somehow managed to avoid joining any social media apps — a fact she's slightly smug about.