Starting a relationship is a big deal, especially if you’ve always enjoyed being single.
So before you jump into a relationship and leave the single life behind, stop for a moment and reflect.
You just might not be cut out to be in one…or, at least not yet.
Here are 10 questions to ask yourself before leaving the single life behind.
1) “Do I find relationships personally fulfilling?”
Relationships are by no means guaranteed to lead to a happy ever after. As grim as it sounds, the truth is that most relationships eventually end.
With this in mind, do you think it’s still worth trying? That even if you’ll eventually break up, you won’t hit your head with a tofu and blame yourself for being stupid or weak?
Well…personally, I find relationships enriching. Even failed ones have a lot to teach me— from knowing how to identify a potential abuser to learning how to become a better partner.
And of course, I get to savor the feeling of loving and being loved!
For me, attempting to connect with someone is one of the reasons why we’re put here on Earth.
Everyone is different, of course. There are those who can’t stand heartache, and there are those who regret “wasting their time” on something that just ends.
So ask yourself—do you still want to experience relationships even if they could end? Do you see any benefit from the experience?
2) “Can I say goodbye to other possibilities?”
And no, I’m not just talking about sex or kisses here. Those are far from the hardest things to say “no” to.
I’m talking about saying no to the many other lives you could have had if you remained single or had waited a bit longer for someone else.
Because unless you’re in an open polyamorous relationship, being in a relationship with someone generally means committing to them alone.
It means saying yes to one and saying no to everyone else…and not everyone finds this easy to do.
Ask yourself if you can truly commit to only one person, and if it’s worth it.
3) “Do I get easily bored when things get predictable and routinary?”
It’s exciting being in a relationship… while it’s new.
After a while, things will eventually settle into a routine. Everything will become more or less predictable, no matter how exciting your lives might be.
After enough time together, you can predict how they’ll react and what they’ll say. There’s no more mystery.
Here’s the thing: this is totally normal and probably how things should be if you’re in a healthy relationship.
If you can’t stand routine, and if you feel restless rather than relieved at the idea of things becoming predictable… you’re definitely not ready to be in a relationship.
On the other hand, if you think that doing mundane things with a partner is actually more fun than doing it alone, then you’re probably ready to leave single life behind.
4) “Do I see relationships as a hindrance to personal growth?”
You know those celebrity interviews where they’re being asked if they’re dating someone and they reply “No, I want to focus on my career first.”
I didn’t understand it back then. I was like “Huh? What’s the connection? You can have both!”
Now that I’m older, I realize that it’s not so easy.
Relationships require a lot of time, work, and sacrifice. The time you spend on it could be used on yourself and your goals instead.
Justin Brown made a video “Is being single worth it?” and he’s talking about this. I can totally relate and if you’re having this dilemma, I’m sure this video can make you more enlightened (or at least a little less lonely).
You see, some people find it hard—or even impossible—to reconcile their personal desires with the responsibilities of love.
So ask yourself: Do you think a relationship will help you grow as a person and realize your dreams, or will it only get in the way?
5) “Does having a relationship align with my future goals?”
Close your eyes and imagine the life you want for yourself in five or ten or even twenty years.
Imagine that you have everything you ever want— even the ones that you think are hard or even impossible to get.
Do you see yourself having a life partner?
Are they truly part of what you want your life to be in the future, or can you take them out of it without the scene feeling incomplete?
If you feel like having a life partner is definitely aligned with your goals in life, then there’s no better time to get started than now.
You can’t expect that the right partner will arrive once you’re ready. You can break up with a few before you can finally find the right one.
6) “Can I truly care for someone else other than myself?”
It’s human nature to care for oneself before almost everyone else. This in itself doesn’t mean you’re selfish or self-centered.
But at the same time all of us have an innate capacity to make sacrifices for the sake of others. And if you find it hard to make those sacrifices, your relationships will suffer.
Try to assess yourself. Were there moments where you had to make sacrifices for another person? How did you feel while you’re doing it? Did you feel good or did it make you resent them?
If you feel you’re still incapable of giving love, then you have to work on yourself a little before committing to someone.
Of course, it doesn’t mean you have to be perfect and 100% loving before you enter a relationship…but if you’re only capable of giving 10%, then a bit of self-improvement and self-reflection is necessary.
7) “Am I emotionally independent enough?”
Many of us have a very warped and idealistic understanding of what love should be like.
There’s the idea that couples are supposed to be each other’s emotional support. That true love will give even the most fragile and insecure people strength and stability.
But this is actually the wrong way to approach things. Start a relationship with this kind of mentality and you’re either going to scare away your partner or find yourself stuck in a toxic, co-dependent relationship.
Love does not give emotional strength. Rather, it’s only when someone has true emotional strength and independence that one can love truly and deeply.
8) “Do I actually need to be in a relationship?”
Perhaps you know that you’re not ready. But the temptation to ask the other person out is almost irresistible—they’re so wonderful that you just can’t imagine life without them.
They’re a rare gem, and you know that if you lose them you might not find another like them.
But before you commit, think—do you REALLY want to be in a relationship with them? Would you be content with simply being there for one another as friends, or is that not enough?
Or maybe you just want them as a fling or friends-with-benefits (there’s nothing wrong with that).
But if you feel like you really, really want to commit to them, then you’re ready to leave single life behind.
9) “Am I willing to learn relationship skills?”
Socrates has a famous quote, “By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you will be happy. If you get a bad one, you will be a philosopher.”
And if I may add, you’ll become better with people, too.
Do you think learning about compromise, communication, setting boundaries, and 100 other relationship skills is a good way to spend your time?
Do you find these skills valuable?
Do you think that you can actually invoke these skills and assert your boundaries, make yourself known, and find ways to achieve fair compromise?
Well then, you can leave your single life behind without any kind of resentment.
10) “Am I making a decision based on joy and not on fear?”
Do you truly like them, or do you simply like the IDEA of being in a relationship? Do you actually like being in a relationship, or do you simply feel like you’re missing out if you’re not in one?
People always talk about how people are expected to be in a relationship or married after a certain age, and look down on those who remain single.
It’s not uncommon for single people to be told that they’ll “regret it” when they’re much older.
Things like these pressure us—whether we realize it or not—into thinking of romance and partnership as a “need.”
But it’s not. And if you’re trying to get into a relationship because you feel this way, stop.
Relationships should exist because you love someone, and not because you just don’t want to be single.
There’s a lot of joy to be found in being in a relationship with someone precious. But at the same time, being single and free is also its own kind of joy.
But of course, people generally think that everyone is meant to be in a relationship, and that we all NEED to be married and caring for children for our lives to have meaning.
But this is far from the case. So before you decide on whether to pursue a relationship or to remain single, stop and think hard. And if you decide to remain single, remember that there’s no shame in that.