If you think getting into a relationship will make you “whole” or “complete,” think again. So many people enter into a relationship thinking the other person will have the ability to make them happy, when in reality happiness starts from within. If you want a healthy, long-lasting relationship, make sure to have these 15 qualities before you start looking for that perfect match:

1. Self-worth

Knowing your worth means you won’t settle for less than you deserve. You won’t be looking for someone to complete you, because you understand that you are already complete. You know you’re worthy of the time, energy, and dedication a relationship takes. A good sense of self-worth also means you’ll be less likely to “settle” in a relationship.

2. Your own group of friends

Having a stable group of comrades will provide you with an equilibrium. New relationships tend to take up a large chunk of time in the beginning, and a good group of friends will remind you to stay balanced. Another benefit of fostering friendships before you enter into a romantic relationship is having people who know the real you. Good friends will tell you if you aren’t acting like yourself.

3. A realistic view of relationships

The honeymoon phase isn’t going to last forever. When the infatuation subsides and you settle back into a routine (except now another person has been added into your routine), this doesn’t mean the relationship is fizzling out. Long-term relationships aren’t meant to continuously function on an emotional high. Unfortunately, our society has portrayed an unrealistic view of romance through movies and literature. It is important to remember that real relationships involve real people, each with their own set of flaws and idiosyncrasies. Being realistic in your expectations is essential. In order to stay fresh, relationships take consistent effort from both parties.

4. Financial independence

You’ll want to make sure you’re not only financially independent, but also that you have a well-rounded understanding of money management. A level head when it comes to money will keep you in control of your own financial well-being. Being financially independent before you start a relationship will give you a sense of security. You won’t have to depend on anyone else to keep you afloat.

5. Let go of that ex

In order to cultivate a healthy relationship with a new person, all feelings toward your ex need to be dealt with. You’ll want to have moved on completely from your past. Entering into a new relationship without resolving a previous one can lead to unnecessary animosity. You might start comparing your new partner to your ex or harboring resentments and projecting them onto your new relationship.

6. A handle on your behavior when tipsy

Hopefully, you’re done with the drunk make-out sessions and hook-ups. If these kinds of relationships are something you want to continue with, then you aren’t quite ready for one-on-one commitment. If you can’t trust yourself, then your girlfriend or boyfriend won’t be able to trust you either. Without trust, the relationship has no foundation.

7. Understand that a relationship is a want, not a need

You don’t need to be in a relationship. You are perfectly okay by yourself. A relationship is one of those bonuses of life. If you enter into a relationship thinking you need it, you risk becoming dependent on someone. This perpetuates a codependent dichotomy, which can cause harm to those involved. Your relationship is a beautiful addition to your already complete life.

8. The ability to be alone

You’ll want to be comfortable in your own skin before you invite someone else into your life. This means you need possess the ability to be alone – and be comfortable with it. Can you sit at home with a cup of tea and a book without getting antsy? One of the hardest things a person can do is be alone, but it’s essential. Because even in a relationship, you’ll find yourself alone from time to time.

9. Balance

As stated earlier, your friends (if they are good friends) will help with this, but you have to make sure your sense of balance is intact before entering into a relationship. Naturally, a new relationship will skew your balance a little, but you should be able bring everything back into harmony with ease.

10. An understanding of what you are looking for

Do you have any ideas about what you are looking for in a partner? While remembering to stay flexible, also have some ideas about what you want in a match. Do you want to have kids down the road? Do you want to travel? Maybe you don’t think this is necessary to think about at the moment, but these are questions that will affect the relationship long term.

11. The ability to compromise

Compromise in a relationship is unavoidable. No matter how alike you and your partner are, there will come a time with your opinions differ on a particular subject. When a difference of opinion occurs, you will need to come to a compromise.

12. An open mind

It’s good to have expectations in mind when looking for a partner, but also remember to stay open-minded. What you want might manifest itself in a person you didn’t expect. Be open enough to step outside your comfort zone. This doesn’t imply that you need to settle, just try something different.

13. Your own set of hobbies

Know what you like to do. Are you into yoga or paddle-boarding? Your partner will come with his or her own set of hobbies. It’s important to have your own as well. That way, when your partner really wants to attend the latest Comic-Con event, you and your friends can plan a paddle-boarding date.

14. Goals

It’s not enough to know what your goals are. You’ll want to have an actionable plan when it comes to achieving them. The right partner will help you achieve those goals, but sometimes your aspirations can get lost in the mix of a new relationship.

15. Time

Relationships take time. Getting to know someone takes time. If you are in the middle of a college degree and working part-time, or if you are in the midst of a strenuous career, you might not have the extra hours to dedicate to getting to know someone. This may well be one of the most important factors in letting someone into your life.

Do you have any other suggestions for someone thinking about taking the plunge into a relationship? Share them in the comments below! 

Featured photo credit: Heart Cut/Lefteris Heretakis via flickr.com

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