21 Things You Need Before You’re Ready To Seriously Date

1. Enough good friends around you that you a) have other people to spend your time with when you want to see people you care about and b) have a support system, should this relationship ever go south.

2. The comfort with your appearance to be naked, makeup-free, and completely casual without feeling like you want to peel your skin off every time your significant other sees you in your natural state.

3. Experience with people you definitely did not want to end up with, so that you know what it looks like much more clearly when someone is treating you well and making you feel good about yourself. (And you can turn away the losers before you waste any real time with them.)

4. The ability to meet, interact with, and impress (within reason) someone’s parents when the time comes.

5. Enough financial stability that you are not going to enter a relationship specifically to help you out with your expenses or give you the luxury of doing what you want. (And who knows, maybe you can even be the person doing the helping out if the need arises.)

6. A good idea of where you want to be, and what you want to be doing, in five years.

7. The ability to put your foot down on the things that are important to you in life early on, so that you know not to spend an entire long-term relationship trying to convince someone that they actually do want kids or love to travel with you. No one deserves to be lured into a relationship with someone who was planning on trying to change them from the get-go.

8. Enough experiences in your life that felt satisfying, that you can look back on fondly without constantly torturing yourself over never having done things when you had the chance.

9. The closure with all of your exes that ensures you will never be having one of those terrible calls at two in the morning — on either side — where you tell each other that you’ve been thinking of each other and masochistically ask how the other one is doing.

10. The maturity to never again break up with someone in a shitty, disrespectful way, such as over a text message or by just dating someone else without telling them.

11. Enough people in your life — friends, family, authority figures — who can give you good advice when it comes to the difficult moments in your relationship. Because you will need them at one point or another if you want to make it work in the long-term.

12. Flexibility when it comes to having to potentially compromise for someone’s work constraints, or family emergencies, because you are no longer at the point in your life where you want to be making all of your choices completely selfishly.

13. The knowledge that fun, and change, and growth, do not suddenly end when you are in a relationship.

14. Security in your reasons for wanting to get into a relationship. (If you are just serial dating because you are profoundly afraid of being alone, it’s time for therapy, not another person to break up with in eight months.)

15. The desire to learn a lot of new things, and start to love food, music, culture, and hobbies that you’d never before even heard of.

16. A good amount of control over your random bursts of (very human) jealousy, because you don’t want to be the person who calls their significant other at four in the morning in tears because they forgot to text back one time.

17. A clear idea of the things you bring to a relationship, your value, and the reasons why someone would want to be dating you.

18. Standards. And boundaries. Firm ones.

19. Respect for the fact that the people you’re going to be dating are also going to (hopefully) have standards and boundaries. And the idea is to find the common ground between them, not to exclusively impose your own.

20. The ability to take care of yourself independently if you need to, because there may come a day, after a relationship, when you need to do it again.

21. The knowledge that, if someone is ever not treating you the way you deserve to be treated, you can leave. That a relationship ends as soon as you stop consenting to it, and self-preservation doesn’t make you a bad person. Thought Catalog Logo Mark