YourTango Experts tell us the signs we're ready for love.
The first and most important relationship you'll ever have throughout life is with yourself. How you feel about and care for your own mind, body and spirit sets the stage for all relationships outside yourself—with your partner, family, friends and co-workers. From psychological, spiritual and practical perspectives, it's pretty clear that if you don't love yourself, it's in turn harder to give and receive love.
We asked the YourTango Experts to clue us into the signs, attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that reveal someone loves himself or herself enough to sustain a relationship. The point is not that you need to fulfill all the points on this list (no one is that perfect!), but that you can use this list to inspire you and the ones you love to increase love from the place where it starts—within. Never Too Late: How One Couple Learned To Love In Their 40s
Here are 25 signs you're ready to share and accept love:
1. You attract a like-minded partner. When you're in the energy of self love and acceptance, it's easy to magnetically attract a like-minded partner who not only loves himself/herself but is available, interested, and ready for healthy, happy, whole love.
- Lisa Steadman
2. You complete yourself. You know you are ready for a relationship when you don't need a relationship to feel happy and worthy, when you want a relationship to share your love rather than to get love, when loving yourself and sharing your love is more important to you than having control over getting love. When you want a relationship to deepen your growth rather than to fill your emptiness, you are ready.
- Margaret Paul
3. You won’t settle for conditional love. Men and women are ready for love when they realize they deserve to receive unconditional love from a partner.
- Nicole Johnson
4. There's nothing "wrong" with you. The only person who can complete you is you. The way to do that is to realize that there is nothing wrong with you; you are not broken, you don't need to be fixed. The truth of love is found in self-acceptance, and in shining the light of love on those dark places inside of us.
- Matthew & Orna Walters
5. You don't seek constant distraction. You're not afraid to be alone—and in silence, even. You like spending time alone and don't need the television to be on or the phone to be glued to your head. You can be with just yourself.
- Christine Arylo
6. You're not waiting for someone else to "save" you. One is ready to manifest healthy, lasting love when they truly abandon the wish that another can "save" or "heal" them. Self acceptance and self love are markers that one is fully ready for intimacy. This state of being allows one to be open to both giving and receiving love in a pure, authentic way—unburdened by notions of healing wounds from the past.
- Hillary Goldsher
7. You honor your bigger "Self." When you understand who you are—as a human, in relation to God or your spirituality—and when you are able to consider the "other" without compromising or obsessing about "me," you are setting yourself up to live a healthy, beautiful relationship.
- Christopher L. Smith
8. You've tossed your list. I know my clients are ready for love when they don't come to a session with a ridged set of expectations and a laundry list of must-haves and deal breakers. They simply want to find someone wonderful to love and share their life with.
- Julianne Cantarella, MSW, LSW
9. You're OK being single. If you can say "I am OK without a relationship," then you're ready for one! You're OK being single—not in a resigned or defeated way. It's more about one have a deep knowing of who you are, your purpose and that while you desire love, you won't allow yourself to be miserable while you're single.
- Alanna Levenson
10. You've called off the search. The old adage is true: the person who is most ready for love is she who has stopped actively pursuing it. Instead, she has been concentrating on developing her own skills, passions, and happiness. A confident, grounded and interesting person is extremely appealing.
- Laurel A. Fay
11. A relationship is a want, not a need. I realize someone is ready for love when they want it but don't need it. That's the absolute best place to be: wanting a relationship, believing it would be great, but not needing it for your happiness. Per the point above, being truly happy without it is often the fastest way to bring it about.
- Amy Johnson
12. You smile a lot. Notice the next time you see your reflection. No matter what you might be wearing or if it is a good hair day or not, is the reflection you catch a glimpse of is one that makes you smile? When you catch yourself smiling more than making comment, excuse or judgment, then you know you accept yourself unconditionally—and are ready to do the same for another, too.
- Karen Kleinwort
13. You own your sexual energy. You know that you're a vibrational match for your real-deal Beloved when you move through your day with access to your own orgasmic energy, whether or not you have a partner. You are sourcing it from within. Yes, the Beloved will be irresistibly attracted to your beauty, fragrance and nectar but you are the magnificent blossom.
- Lisa Schrader
14. You're over your last relationship. Because I work with people primarily after painful breakups, I look for signs that anger and resentment are gone and that they have forgiven not only their ex-partner, but themselves. To be angry at yourself is a clear sign that you are not ready to move forward. If you cannot accept where you are and who you are right now, then it's time to make a change. You will know that you are ready to go out there and date again when you have given up your "story" and can think about your ex with neutrality, compassion, and understanding.
- Lori Rubenstein
15. You're willing to take a risk. I find that a person who is ready for true intimacy is aware of the risks and uncertainty that comes with falling in love. She knows that the relationship will grow and evolve to something wonderful—or it won't. Either way, this person understands she will be better for it since the love and support she has for herself will always be there.
- Bob Connolly
16. You have empathy. One quality I work hard to promote in patients looking to find and/or sustain a loving relationship is empathy. Once a person can see beyond her desires and needs to what it will take to make her partner happy, she is well on her way to going from "me" to "we."
- Sherry Amatenstein
17. You're self-confident. Self-confidence is the key to knowing that you're ready for love (it's also the most powerful aphrodisiac). When you take pride in yourself and you are clear about your own worth—that is when you'll be able to attract someone who honors you and himself in a healthy relationship.
- Shoshana Bennett
18. You feel whole. If you are looking for your partner to fill an emptiness within yourself, you will always remain unsatisfied. True love is all about accepting both your partner and yourself wholeheartedly. Dating is about finding your complementary match—not your other half.
- Sara Sharnoff
19. You're open-minded. You know you're ready when you can go off your dating script and discovering a romantic interest as though you were visiting an exotic country for the first time. Throw away your checklist, let yourself be in the moment and open up to the joys and challenges a relationship brings.
- Jean Fitzpatrick
20. Fear doesn't own you. One sign that tells me you are ready for love is when you show courage. When you are open to taking emotional risk, including accepting personal responsibility, love is in your future.
- Bobbi Palmer
21. You build memories, not walls. I know someone is ready for love when they incorporate their match into their life after a few dates, rather than compartmentalizing dating activities. Building memories, not walls, shows long-term potential.
- Laurie Davis
22. You are not a puppet. The one sign that tells me a person is ready for a healthy relationship is when he or she takes a stand for what she wants in a relationship—without being attached to the other person's response. When a client tells me she has spoken a phrase similar to "that doesn't work for me" to someone they are attracted to, I know they are ready for a new and wonderful relationship experience.
- Kat Knecht
23. You accept change and are ready to grow. You are "ready" for love when you accept yourself for who you are, right now, today, but are still committed to exploring the yet *undiscovered growth* of yourself individually and in a relationship.
- Megan Fleming
24. You know your turn-ons. When you know what turns you on, what brings you pleasure and you aren't afraid to go after it, it's a good sign you're ready to share love with someone else. The key to this is honoring that you are deserving of pleasure whether you are with someone or not and recognizing that all types of sensual pleasure—the foods you eat, the smells around you, a cool shower on a hot day—keep you vibrant and alive.
- Melissa Fritchle
25. You're comfortable in your own skin. Embracing yourself inside and out is a sign you’re reading to fully embrace another.
- Pamela Madsen
The common theme in all our Experts advice seems to be: find your own bliss and then share it with another! Take action and do whatever it takes to be happy in your own skin, recognizing this is a lifelong journey. In turn, your relationships will blossom. If you'd like advice on how to take those first steps, just reach out to any of these great experts to create the path to your best love life!