For some, being single—when you don't necessarily want to be—can be a stressful time. Perhaps you feel you're not in control of your love life or that you keep attracting the wrong people. These feelings and fears are valid, but take that time to work on yourself. Because in my practice, fulfilling relationships are created when two individuals are independently ready to find love. What does it mean to be ready to find love? Well, here are 15 signs that you're ready to meet a great partner and create a lasting relationship:
1. You hold yourself accountable.
Being an adult doesn't mean you have to have everything together. Far from it! It means you know that you, and only you, are responsible for creating a life you feel accountable for. Whether it's paying your bills or saying you're sorry, you know how to take personal responsibility for your actions and behaviors. You are able to reflect on the past—things that have served you, things that haven't, and so on—and take action toward your future.
2. You know what you want in a partner.
It sounds obvious, but people who have a fuzzy sense of what they want only get a fuzzy version of what they want in return. You don't just think, "I want a partner who is intelligent." Instead, you know what you want that intelligence to look like: "I want a partner who reads about topics he/she cares about," for example. Know that when you define what it is that you want, you'll find it.
3. You're the right kind of selfish.
You prioritize your self-care. It's a myth that we need to place our partners above ourselves. If you run yourself into the ground taking care of everyone but yourself, you're likely to get resentful, drained, and pissy. Self-love isn't selfish; it's the very reason you'll attract someone who will treat you with the respect and care you deserve. So go ahead, get a little selfish!
You know what lights you up. You know what pisses you off. You know that soy milk makes you queasy. Why does this matter? People with self-awareness are more likely to identify a partner who is right for them, get their needs met, and find happiness in a relationship, while still maintaining independence and personal growth.
5. You aren't looking for anyone to fix you.
You have priorities, goals, and hobbies. Maybe you enjoy cooking or collecting comic books. Whatever it is, you have a life that's your own; or when you feel unfulfilled, you take action in order to make changes in your life. You aren't waiting around to be "saved" because you can save yourself. More importantly, you aren't expecting someone to fix you because you know you aren't broken.
6. You aren't trying to fix anyone.
You have baggage, and so will your partner. It's inevitable. And while it would be great to change people's annoying habits, you know how to accept people for who they are rather than who you want them to be. Your ability to compromise or cut ties will not only bring the right person in; it'll help you to weed out the wrong ones.
7. You are emotionally and physically available.
Have you created space in your life for a partner? No, that doesn't mean a drawer in your dresser. It means you are willing and able to give and receive love. You're prepared to close one door before you open another. Bluntly put, you're willing to stop sleeping around (or whatever your emotional/behavioral equivalent) and commit. People who are good partners are the ones who actually want to be in a relationship.
8. You're a good listener.
You can take in what your friend says without simultaneously contemplating your rebuttal. You can muster the self-control to not interrupt your mother mid-sentence. This goes well beyond being able to listen to others to include actually being present. Ultimately, if you can go to lunch with a friend without incessantly checking Facebook, you're already better than most!
9. You communicate productively.
There's a big difference between communication and productive communication. You state how you feel without playing games or being passive-aggressive. You know how to express what you want rather than just harping on what you don't want. For example, you know that saying, "I'd like for us to spend time with my parents," yields better results than "I think I'll lose my mind if I have to share another meal with your crazy mother."
10. You're OK with being flawed (even if you don't like it).
You get that as much as we might try, we can't always act and look perfect all the time. You're willing to open yourself up, be vulnerable, and occasionally look like an idiot. You accept that being yourself and receiving love yields a better outcome than being someone else and walking on eggshells.
11. You know the meaning of equality.
You know that fair isn't always tit for tat: 50/50 in a relationship doesn't mean you split the bill. It means that you're willing to let things average out over the course of the relationship. You're likely to find a great partner if you're cool with saying "I'll pay this time; you get the next"—without a need or desire to "keep score."
12. You like to win, but it's OK if you don't.
Whether it's leaving the last slice or sucking it up and asking for directions, you don't need to prove yourself at everything. In a healthy relationship, you should be able to relax a bit and know that sometimes you won't be right. That's normal.
13. Your conflict style eases.
When you fight with people, you should be fighting to make progress rather than to win. You get that finding a resolution is better than a power play or opportunity for payback (despite how good you think it might feel).
14. You know how to apologize.
You might not like apologizing, but you know how to do it. You don't make excuses or try to cajole others into taking responsibility for your issues. You own it sincerely without making excuses. You then learn from it. And the flip side is also true: You can forgive others when you receive an apology.
15. You cultivate gratitude.
You say thank you. You are appreciative of all that you have, all that you are, and all others do for you. Nobody wants a partner who takes them for granted.
Whether you're single or not, there's no need to stress over meeting the "right" partner at the "right" time. You can focus on fine-tuning these qualities and you'll be on your way to strengthening your current relationship or meeting someone who truly deserves you.