Most of us have lived through at least one breakup in our adult lives, a point where we realized that it was time to say goodbye to our partner. As social animals, our relationships with other people are incredibly important. Social psychologist Daniel Lieberman argues that the way our brains are designed, "ensures that we will spend our entire lives motivated by social connection."
You will reach a point after your breakup that you feel that desire to reconnect and to begin a new relationship; it's human nature. There's no exact time frame for when you'll be ready. Trust yourself and take your time. Read on for five signs that you might be ready to find love again.
1. You Know Yourself
You might be ready for a new relationship if you've spent time getting to know yourself. As beloved Sex and the City character Carrie Bradshaw once said, "The most exciting, challenging, and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself."
Writing, travel, yoga, therapy, and spending time with friends are all great ways to explore this, your most important relationship. Once you know yourself, you'll be ready to find someone to share your life with.
2. You're Prepared to Set Boundaries
You might be ready for a new relationship if you are clear on your boundaries. For example, perhaps your last partner would often go for long periods of time without answering your texts or calls. They kept falling off of the radar. You now realize that consistent communication is important to you in any future relationship.
What you're really doing here is setting a boundary for yourself. You are prepared to state what you need and you are committing to making a change if your partner doesn't honor that request. However, that change is ultimately yours to make, and you are the one responsible for getting your needs met.
When you are prepared to set boundaries for yourself and to take responsibility for your happiness, you might be ready to begin a new relationship.
3. You're Willing to Compromise
I have a friend who went through a difficult breakup a few years ago. She worked hard to rebuild her life and to become independent. After several years of living alone, she had learned to enjoy her freedom. When a new man entered her life, she initially hesitated.
Was she ready to meet someone else's needs? Ultimately, she decided that the benefits of being with him were worth the risks, but she carefully considered giving up some of her independence. Relationships are a two-way street. So even though it's important that you set your boundaries, you should also be willing to make certain compromises and meet your new partner halfway.
4. You Found Some Answers
Have you spent some time considering why your last relationship ended? Most importantly, have you sought to understand the role you played in your breakup? Even if your partner seems to be entirely at fault, take some time to reflect upon how you behaved too.
Maybe the answer you'll find is that you stayed too long with someone who didn't deserve you because you struggle with self-worth. Perhaps you were working all the time and didn't make time for yourself—much less, for romance. When you have some solid insights about why things didn't work out, you'll know that you're ready to move forward into a healthier and happier relationship.
5. You're Ready to Take a Risk
The Dalai Lama said, "Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk." It's normal to be nervous about dating again after a breakup, but if you're still consumed by fear that it won't work out before it's even begun, you might need to take some more time to yourself.
All relationships involve an element of risk. When you are strong within yourself and you've developed a foundation of independence, you'll know you're ready to take that leap into a new relationship.
If you're not sure that you're ready to move forward, waiting is always a smart choice. Trust your intuition and allow yourself time to receive more information about your next steps. When in doubt, talk to a trusted friend or counselor to get more insights about when you're ready to begin again.
Have you been through a breakup that left you hesitant to fall in love again? How did you know you were ready for a new relationship?