Erickson: How do I know if I am ready to be in a relationship?

The following opinions expressed by Scott M. Erickson are his own and do not officially represent the views of the American Counseling Association or the Wyoming Mental Health Professions Licensing Board. The expression of these opinions does not constitute a real or implied counselor-client relationship.

Interestingly enough, this is one of the most common questions I receive as a counselor. When a relationship ends, this question seems to quickly become one of the first things we consider. The problem is that there will likely always be someone interested in developing a relationship with us. What we are after is a healthy relationship, and here are a few beginning questions to think about when considering timing:

1) Is my “picker” broken?  Some of us seem to have a pattern of attracting and then choosing to be in relationships with people who are not healthy for us. We end one relationship only to begin another with a similar type of person and the dysfunction gets replayed over and over.  If there seems to be a common thread regarding unskillful choices in selecting potential partners, fixing our “picker” is an essential prerequisite to seeking a new relationship.

2) Have I healed sufficiently from previous intimate wounding?  If I am still healing from a previous relationship, launching off into a “rebound” is fraught with challenges.  A relationship that begins with our potential partner primarily soothing and comforting us may be destined to fail.  Why?  When we do end up healing (and yes, we will heal) we no longer need as much soothing and comfort and we begin to experience our partner as hovering and needy.

3) What do I have to offer a new relationship?  This is an extremely critical question.  Healthy relationships are developed and maintained on cooperative investment and building.  What can I bring to a relationship monetarily, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually?  If we are seeking a partner as a solution to major problems in our lives we may not be ready for a relationship.  It is important to first resolve major problems so that we can fully offer ourselves to another person, unencumbered. 

Scott M. Erickson is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Kemmerer who has provided counseling services in southwest Wyoming for the last eleven years. Erickson’s mission is to “be a dynamic catalyst helping you to empower your best self.” He can be reached at his website or his Facebook page: Erickson Counseling & Coaching LLC.

More In Opinions