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Starting a relationship is a big decision, so it's a good idea first to know why you want it. Are you ready for the give-and-take of sharing, or are you simply feeling lonely? Are you emotionally ready now, or would you be better off waiting? There’s no need to rush; take the time to think it through.

This can help if:

  • you aren’t sure if you’re ready for a relationship
  • you aren’t clear on your reasons for wanting a relationship
  • you’re thinking about starting a relationship.
Couple holding hands in mall

Are you ready for a relationship?

Wanting to be with someone, to have someone to care for and share things with, is all part of developing as a person. But it’s okay to take your time and to wait until you genuinely feel you’re ready to be in a relationship.

Here are some ways to tell that you’re ready:

  • you’re comfortable with who you are
  • it’s something you want, not something you feel you should have
  • you’re willing to wait for the right person
  • you’re ready to give your time and attention to someone else
  • you aren’t being pressured into a relationship by others.

If you’re not sure that you’re ready for a relationship, take a breather and don’t rush into anything serious. And if you think you are ready, then wait for the right person to come along.

When a relationship isn’t what you need

There are plenty of reasons to get into a relationship. A lot of the time, they’re good reasons, such as when you want to build on a great connection you have with someone. However, sometimes you might seek a relationship in the hope it will fix other problems in your life, and that’s not going to be healthy for either you or your partner.

Some of the not-so-great reasons to enter a relationship include:

  • You’re lonely. Fact: you need to be able to feel happy on your own before you develop a relationship with someone else. If you’re not happy, you might overlook that your partner doesn’t have certain qualities that otherwise would be really important to you, or that they behave in ways you wouldn’t normally find acceptable.
  • You want something to make you feel better about yourself and your life. Fact: if you’re feeling upset about something, a new relationship won’t make these feelings go away.
  • You find the novelty of a new partnership exciting. Fact: the novelty will wear off. Getting into a relationship should be all about you and the other person, rather than just the idea of having a boyfriend or a girlfriend.

If any of these reasons sound like you, it might be worth having a rethink about whether you need a relationship right now. Try to remember the good things about yourself, the interests that you enjoy, and the good things in your life. It may also be helpful to talk to someone you trust, such as a friend, a family member or a youth worker.

Remember: the only person who can make the decision about whether you’re ready for a relationship is you, so take the time to get it right.

What can I do now?

  • Think about your reasons for wanting to be in a relationship. Write a list of the pros and cons.
  • Think about what qualities are important to you in a partner.
  • Read more about the benefits of being single.