Are you Ready for a Relationship?


Is it too much trouble to find a relationship?

How often have you heard someone say “I would like a relationship, but it’s too much trouble to find one.” “I just got divorced and I don’t want to make the same mistake again.” “When will I find someone?” In order to have a relationship that works, it’s necessary to be ready before you enter one.

This sounds like the first lesson for LOVE 101, but if we look at our national divorce rate, you can see that the failure rate is significant. In fact, I seriously doubt that many people consider their readiness for marriage or relationship of any sort. The average dating scenario goes something like this. He is attracted to how she looks. She is attracted to his energy and productivity. They start dating and eventually she thinks it might be a good idea to get married. He goes along because he is sure it’s going to get him regular sex and then all their friends and relatives get excited about their wedding. They have a big celebration and then they start to realize there is more to marriage than eat, sleep, and sex.

I worked with couples and divorced clients for a while. It was obvious that they were in various stages of post-relationship survival. Their finances were in a shambles. Some were broken-hearted, with no self-esteem, out of work, wondering what to do about their rent and utilities payments and seeking coaching about their relationships. Many, I think, were planning on having a new relationship rescue them from impending disaster. Being solution oriented, I started looking for the causes which led to thinking about parameters for readiness in relationship. What specific standards and status should be the baseline? What exactly constitutes readiness? What is definite is that nothing is definite. So where do you start? It’s what led me to my current clientele, the starting over, gun-shy, walking wounded, romance re-entry singles.

Let me tell you what I have discovered in the past 20 years. The first step is desire. You must decide that you want to have a relationship. The desire to be part of something is manifested in relationship. You can’t be “in” a relationship unless you want to be. Partnership demands a serious time commitment, one-on-one conversations, planning, dating, socializing, compromising, making love, having sex, playing, working, sleeping, having children and raising them, shopping, cleaning house. Granted, some of these things you would do even if you were not in relationship. However, once you are seriously committed, as in living together, every one of the above -mentioned tasks involves agreement and participation by both partners.

Even prior to living together, finding someone you are willing to try being in relationship with is practically a full-time job. So many of the people that I talk with in my work tell me “I just don’t have the energy to go through the process of dating and getting to know someone well enough to feel comfortable being authentic and intimate.”

Don’t you agree that many people settle for what they have, even if unsatisfying, just because it’s too much work to change it?

My romance re-entry successes, who now have successful marriages, were committed to getting married from the start of our coaching relationship. They wanted it, they were willing to do whatever it took to find and enroll the right partner. They also do whatever it takes to maintain the level of passion and intimacy, production and appetite that are necessary to sustain a healthy, vibrant, satisfying relationship. In other words, they do not assume that once you are in a “marriage” or “committed relationship” that IT will take care of itself.

Whenever you submit a loan or credit application, the first response of the lender is to check your credit and your financial picture. If it appears that you need money for any reason, the likelihood of approval for financing is almost nil. However, if you appear financially stable with plenty of unused credit and a steady job and money in savings, every financial institution is clamoring to lend you money. So how does this relate?

Love and relationship operate in the same way as a money lending institution. When you enter the love bank and put in a request for a new love interest, a serious one, perhaps, leading to marriage, the love bank manager takes a look at you and says: You work too much, you spend all of your money, your credit cards are maxed-out, you have diminished self-esteem and a broken heart from the last one, you’re physically and emotionally bankrupt, and you don’t trust anyone. REJECTED!!! is stamped on your application. Now, you are really in need of someone to save you, so you continue looking at all of the B and C rated love lenders. You are now reduced to bars, pick up joints, work, internet dating services, and personal ads until you find someone who is as needy as you are. At this point you are seeking someone to rebuild your self-esteem and reassure you that you are indeed lovable. Then you re-enter the “Sure to Fail” cycle all over again.

You are not broken! You just need to reframe your perception of what it takes to have success in love and a committed relationship. There are a few simple elements that will give you a huge advantage in the relationship game:


  1. Have a sincere Desire to be in relationship,
  2. Know that you are attractive and have something to offer another person,
  3. Have at least enough income to take care of your own basic needs,
  4. Participate in work that satisfies some of your achievement needs,
  5. Be healed enough to be vulnerable so that you are able to share your
    authentic self with this person,
  6. Love yourself enough that you have love left over to share with another



I am not saying that you must be in perfect shape. What I am saying, however, is that you will attract a person who is your balance, someone who has the same or different issues in the same proportions. If you are needy, you will attract neediness. If you have intimacy issues you will attract someone who is shut down. So it is in your best interests to undertake a personal redevelopment plan prior to looking for a relationship. Be the best you that you can be to offer to another person. This seems to be a great way to start the new year. Funny, how it usually happens that someone who has been taking extraordinary care of themselves and not looking for a relationship suddenly finds him/herself in love.

Relationship coaching is life coaching. Life becomes extraordinary when we discover that being absolutely committed to taking care of ourselves, leads to abundance in every aspect of our lives.

You will find that when you truly connect with someone and love who that person is, he will become gorgeous to you. The main thing that you women must do is to be straight. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Ask directly for what you want. Acknowledge him. Place your order and then appreciate any movement in the direction that you want to go. I still believe that the most difficult challenge for a woman is to maintain the self-esteem to fully express her appetite.

Discover your readiness for relationship at the Get Loved Now Live Event in Studio City, California on Sunday August 19, 2012.

I am looking forward to opening your mind and heart to more passion, love and power in your relationships.

Susan Sheppard