Hey Psych2Goers! Have you ever heard of the “Transactional Analysis Theory”? No? Well, you know the saying, “Necessity is the mother of all invention”? Psychologist Eric Berne certainly thought the same could be said about our relationships. His theory is founded on the idea that all relationships are transactional and that we only form bonds with people we believe can give us something we want or satisfy some need for us.
Most people would agree that to a certain degree, Berne’s ideas are true. After all, we all want something from the people around us — and our significant others are no exception. We enter romantic relationships with a certain set of expectations and when the relationship is no longer meeting those expectations and satisfying us in the ways that we need, we end it. Seems simple enough, right? So why don’t we apply those ideas to ourselves and assess if we’re able to meet the traits and characteristics that are essential to fostering a close and meaningful relationship?
With that said, here are 5 tell-tale signs that can help you figure out if you’re ready to date:
1. A Fresh Start
First and foremost, it’s important that you’re in the right headspace for a new relationship. Ideally, you should let go of any emotional baggage related to your past relationships and ex-partners or at least trying your best to. So don’t start dating yet if you’re still hung up on someone else. No matter how long it takes, only date when you’ve moved on from the worst of your heartbreak and are ready for a fresh start. You’ll know the time is right when you’re able to get excited about all the possibilities your romantic future might hold and not afraid to get hurt again anymore.
2. Learned From The Past
Similar to the earlier point, you know you’re ready to start dating again when you’ve made your peace with the past and learned from it. Because otherwise, if you keep rushing headfirst into new romances without fully processing your feelings, you’re just going to keep making the same mistakes with someone else. So look back on your previous relationship and be honest with yourself about why it didn’t work and what you can do to make things better with future partners.
3. Honoring Your Wants & Needs.
Do you know what it is you’re looking for in a partner or wanting out of a relationship? What are your needs, beliefs, and values? Do you know yourself well enough to honor your wants and needs as a romantic partner? Once you’re able to answer yes to all of these questions, then you’re definitely in the right emotional space to start dating. In fact, studies even show that a lack of self-awareness and values clarification was one of the most common reasons why couples break up (see Le, et al., 2010).
4. Genuine Curiosity
Many psychologists agree that in order to truly fall in love with someone, we first need to know them well (e.g., Schindler, Fagundes & Murdock, 2010). So feeling genuine curiosity about other people is a good sign that you’re ready to date. Do you want to spend more time around potential romantic partner/s? Do you spend your dates wanting to know more about the other person than talking to yourself? All of these are good signs that show that you’re feeling a connection towards someone else and eager to see where it goes.
5. Investing in Yourself
Finally but perhaps most importantly, it’s important to understand that although dating can feel a lot like a thrilling and fun adventure most of the time, it also requires a lot of time and energy. So if you’re aware of this and already working to invest more in yourself now that you’re single (e.g., more quality time with yourself, more self-care and acts of self-love, prioritizing your own needs), then you’re definitely on the right path. Making an effort to balance the time and energy you spend on yourself just as much as you do with others shows emotional maturity, and that’s arguably the most important quality to have when you start dating (Shulman & Kipnis, 2001).
So Psych2Goer’s, do you relate to any of the things we’ve mentioned here? Has learning about all these points made you eager to start dating again and more confident about your chances of success? Let us know in the comments which point resonated with you the most and how you knew you were ready to start dating again.
- Berne, E. (1968). Games people play: The psychology of human relationships (Vol. 2768). Penguin Uk.
- Le, B., Dove, N. L., Agnew, C. R., Korn, M. S., & Mutso, A. A. (2010). Predicting nonmarital romantic relationship dissolution: A meta‐analytic synthesis. Personal Relationships, 17(3), 377-390.
- Schindler, I., Fagundes, C. P., & Murdock, K. W. (2010). Predictors of romantic relationship formation: Attachment style, prior relationships, and dating goals. Personal Relationships, 17(1), 97-105.
- Shulman, S., & Kipnis, O. (2001). Adolescent romantic relationships: A look from the future. Journal of Adolescence, 24(3), 337-351.