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Am I ready?

Published on August 7, 2013 by notsureifready94

A few months ago in late spring I broke up with my boyfriend because I was miserable with him, but a few weeks before we broke up I started hanging out with a guy friend (who I had a slight crush on). It was because of this guy that I got the courage to finally end my relationship--to make things clear I did not break up with my now ex-boyfriend for this new guy. After the breakup this new guy and I started hanging out more, and before I knew it I was in another relationship! The previous guy I dated for two years, and the one before him I dated for half a year, and before that I was in a relationship for a year and a half! I haven't been single for over four years (all of these relationships happened one after another). I'm only 20 years old, and I don't know if I'm ready for this new relationship. I am going to school full-time, and working a lot (not to mention I just moved two hours away for school). He really likes me, and there was a lot of problems at work because of us dating (he was a supervisor at the store), and I have really encouraged him to go to school and improve his life. I worry that I shouldn't end things to just be by myself for a while to figure out what I need and to focus on school because of how much he likes me, that the huge problems at work would have been for nothing (he implied this at one point), and that he wouldn't continue improving his life. Should I end things? Or tell him I want to take things really slow?


Hello notsureifready94 Seems like you’ve asked a couple of great questions. And I thought it might help us both if I break them into separate questions. Background for question #1 You’ve realized that you’ve been consistently in a relationship for over 4 years and you’re only 20 years old. You’re wondering if you’re ready for this new relationship. Your life is very full of full-time school, working a lot, driving 2 hours each way to school. You didn’t mention family, friends, hobbies, entertainment which are also important pieces for a well-rounded life. And your question is – Should you end things to just be by yourself for awhile to figure out what you need and to focus on school?

Background for question #2 You started dating a new guy a few months ago. He really likes you. Problems happened when you began dating because he was a supervisor where you worked. You’ve encouraged him to go to school and improve his life. And your question is – If you end your relationship with him then would the huge problems caused at your work have been for nothing?

What I hear in question #1 is you reflecting on a very common thought, who am I? It’s very normal to want to experience some time on your own to ‘get to know yourself.’ Taking time to learn what you personally want and need to experience a happy and fulfilling life is a great way to build a sturdy foundation on which to build the rest of your life.

What I hear in question #2 is he implied at one point that if the relationship ended then the huge problems at work were for nothing and that he wouldn't continue to improve his life. I also heard that he ‘really likes you’ and I didn’t hear how you feel about him. Something important to consider.

To get to an answer to your 2 questions I’d suggest an additional question, “How would it feel to not be in a relationship for a short time?” It might be circumstances just presented themselves so your relationships happened one after another. It might be you don’t even have an opinion about how it would feel to be single because it’s never come up. It might be you have some negative feelings about being single (real or imagined). Definitely something to consider so you truly understand the reasons you’re staying or leaving.

No matter what you decide it can be very beneficial for you now and in the future to concentrate on what’s best for you. Please let me know what you decide and if you’d like to discuss this further just let me know.


Slow is the way to go here. It's perfectly normal for you to want some space to spread your wings, since you've been involved in relationships throughout much of your (very) young life. If you don't want to break up with him, don't. But be sure to communicate that you're not pulling back from him for anything he did wrong. Explain your honest feelings. A true, loving partner will encourage you to be the best you you can be, and give you the space you need, even if it means sacrificing some time he'd rather be spending with you. Do little things to reassure him you two are still a team. Relationships change and evolve over time; just because you're not rushing in doesn't mean this relationship won't grow into something longlasting. Do what feels right to you, but remember to be fair and honest with him all along.

I want to quote one of your statements: "I worry that I shouldn't end things to just be by myself for a while to figure out what I need..." The problem with that outlook is that it is far better to do that now, at age 20, when you are still trying to establish who you are as a person and to get your career started, than it is do do that at age 30 or so, when you are married with kids. If you take the time now to do your soul-searching, you will be far more prepared and ready to be in a committed relationship than you are now. Take it slow. Let the relationship evolve naturally, bit by bit, over time. There is no rush. And if the relationship does end, and you are worried about letting the "good one" get away, just remember that if it is meant to be, you will likely find your way back to each other.