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Being Single vs. a Relationship: What’s Right for You?

A girl thinking about being single vs. in a relationship smiling with a guy she's on a date with.

We’ve all been there before… The first date went well, the conversations are interesting, and comfort and trust are starting to grow. There’s just one catch—you’re not sure if you can see yourself in a relationship any time soon. Taking on a new boyfriend or girlfriend can be overwhelming if you’re not ready for it and are feeling rushed. But how do you know if being single vs. a relationship is right for you?

There’s such an emphasis on coupling up in our society, that we often forget to ask ourselves Is this what I really want in my life right now? The key to answering that question is evaluating your current situation. If you find yourself questioning whether a relationship is right for you, don’t make a quick decision. Instead, take some time to think about why you want this relationship and what your hesitations are.

Here are a few things to consider while deciding between staying single or being in a relationship:

Are your personal goals a major priority?
I’m convinced that having a relationship with your career is a real thing. But some people take the saying “marry your dreams” to the next level, which makes it complicated to split their time with another person. Being in a relationship requires sacrifices, which includes making daily choices and finding time to balance your love life with your personal life.

If you’re in a space where managing your personal goals and romance is possible, then there shouldn’t be any reason for your career to stop you from being with someone. Having a significant other doesn’t necessarily stop you from achieving your personal goals, but it is something to think about when it comes to time management. If you find yourself constantly saying, “I really don’t have time for a relationship,” then maybe you don’t.

Have you recently gotten out of marriage or relationship?
Jumping back into the dating scene with hopes of replacing your previous relationship may not be the best idea if you haven’t had time to self-reflect. In fact, this may be the best time to live a happily single life. Self-reflection usually comes after a relationship, because it’s much easier to understand the situation objectively when you’re no longer with that person.

Going to networking/social events or occasional dates is fine as long as there’s no immediate expectation that your next date will take the place of your ex. Find some relaxing events and give yourself time to be alone and heal.

Are you ready to commit to one person?
If there are other potential partners in your life who make you want to stick around and see how the story ends, then throwing yourself into a relationship may further complicate things. Conversely, if you’re in a spot in life where being faithful comes easy, then committing to your newly found romance could be a breeze.

Commitment is a big deal when it comes to being in relationship. It involves time, emotions, energy, and loyalty. Having a wandering eye is a big sign that you may not be ready to settle down with this particular person.

Are you happier alone?
Some people date with the goal of having a successful marriage and the white-picket fence. While others live their best lives serial dating, being single, or having friends with benefits. Happiness doesn’t always come hand in hand with finding love. It may be you’re already happy and feel complete being on your own.

You can find out how you feel about a relationship by asking yourself these questions: Do I have a positive or negative outlook about being with someone else right now? Is my heart open to starting a relationship with a new person? What do I hope to gain from dating? Do I feel happier being by myself or with someone I’m interested in?

Are you at an emotional extreme ?
I’ve noticed that I’ve had the best relationships with people when I felt the best about myself. It was through self-reflection that I realized the importance of knowing myself and determined what was healthy in a relationship and what wasn’t.

If you’re in a position where you don’t feel emotionally strong, then you might need to hold off before starting a new relationship. The best time to make logical decisions is when you aren’t feeling extremely happy, sad, or anxious. So take your time.

When it you get down to it, being single or being in a relationship both require work—one is progressing within yourself while the other requires you to grow with somebody else. Someone deciding to be a serial dater doesn’t mean they enjoy life less than happy couples. There is no right or wrong answer here, there’s just your decision and what you do with it.

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