When a love interest knocks on your door, how do you know that old wounds and battle scars have healed enough to let love in?

Since each person is completely individual, there really is no way of knowing exactly when is the right time to start a new relationship. What may work for one person may not work for another. Fortunately, there are a few key attributes that determine how prepared you really are.

1 – Are you living the life you really want?

Many of us use relationships as a way to help us fix ourselves, when in fact we should try to do so before we find someone else. Do you have a purpose for waking up in the morning? Do you have a vision of your place in the world and what you want to contribute to others? Are you feeling empowered and passionate about your life? Living the life you want now not only encourages you and gives you energy, but it also makes you very attractive to the opposite sex.

2 – Have you learned anything about yourself from every past relationship?

People who create happy lives take every experience and make it work for them, especially if it is negative. If you haven’t learned something about how you interact with another person from your past relationships, you are living in a cycle that won’t be broken until you take the time to find out. You cannot expect to break negative habits if you are not aware of them.

3 – Have you narrowed down your specific desires as to what kind of person you want to meet?

Every relationship offers us the opportunity to review the list of qualities that we look for in a partner. Sometimes what we thought we wanted wasn’t even close to what we really needed. After a long-term relationship, it’s especially wise to review your list of desirable traits. Were there things about your previous partner that kept you from really being yourself, from becoming the best person you could be? What traits would help you feel more comfortable being yourself? What traits would allow you to become all that you are capable of being?

4 – Have you really gotten over your past?

I know, you’re probably thinking it’s a misprint? You may be thinking “Don’t you mean past love?” Sometimes I find that we identify our past with our past loves. Our life may have included something that was special that perhaps we feel is missing now. Somehow that gets wrapped up in our emotions with our past love. So instead of trying to find new ways to make our life more complete, we think that we need to have our past love in order to feel whole. Be sure to identify your true sources of desire before starting a new relationship.

5 – Have you discussed your feelings with someone else?

It is often easier to deal with real heart problems in private. However, this is not always the best option. Talking about what is really going on in your mind and your heart gives you the opportunity to release any negative or painful emotions that you did not know you had suppressed. Believe me, there are almost always pent-up emotions that you are unaware of. If you don’t have someone you can trust to talk to, try talking to a genuinely caring professional who can help you vent. Whoever you talk to will be glad you did.

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