Dating and Relationship Advice

I’m getting to the age where my Instagram and Facebook feeds are FULL of posts about engagements, weddings, and newborn babies. While I have (somewhat) settled down by getting married, I still have a decent number of friends that are flying solo and have no plans to stop anytime soon.

This dramatic contrast got me thinking: how do we know when it’s time to “settle down?”

There is no magic alarm that goes off once it’s time for marriage and babies, as cool and convenient as that would be. Instead, we have to rely on good old self-reflection.

If you’re wondering if you’re ready to settle down, ask yourself these questions:

Do you love yourself?

RuPaul said it best: “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else?”

While loving yourself can mean different things for different people, it generally means creating boundaries that keep you healthy and safe, speaking your truth, taking care of your mind and body, and enjoying a good dose of self-confidence.

What do you really think of marriage?

Sadly, a lot of people view marriage or long-term commitments as Official Relationship Ruiners. Maybe you dread the idea of commitment because saw your own parents get divorced, or experienced a toxic relationship yourself. Either way, you should consider whether you really want to settle down.

Are you concerned about losing your “freedom?”

Lots of people associate being single with being “free” and being married with being “tied down.” As a married person, I can assure you that this isn’t true—at least in a healthy relationship. However, if the thought of commitment brings to mind images of chains, locks, and general prison-y vibes, settling down might still be a ways off.

Do you see a clear future with your significant other?

If you’re in a relationship and are considering getting serious, ask yourself if you truly see a future with that person. Or, more importantly, ask yourself if you want to build a future with this person. Perhaps you’re more excited about living life by yourself.

Do you believe there’s someone out there you can settle down with?

If you have trouble imagining a healthy relationship, you’re going to have trouble having one. Until you can believe that you and another person are capable of being happy together long-term, you won’t be ready to settle down.

You might have heard the phrase, “If you want until you’re ready, you’ll never do it.” This is 100% true for stuff like following a dream or tasting wasabi for the first time, but its absolutely wrong when it comes to long-term commitments.

Marriage will only work if both people are truly committed, and you can’t be truly committed until you’re ready to do so.

If you don’t think you’re ready to settle down, don’t force it. Take care of you, learn how to love yourself, and, when the time comes, you might be surprised at how ready you are.