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Ready or Not ...

LDS Singles Articles

Ready or Not ...

by Kevin Skinner PhD

All right folks, it's time for a wake-up call. Are you ready for a relationship or not? Do you even want to be in a relationship? During the past few years I have been teaching classes for singles (marriage preparation at BYU, Behind the Dating Mask, and Dating Smarts). The problem I have observed the most often is people who are dating but aren't prepared for a relationship. The complaints I hear go something like this:

Jill: I've been dating Jack for two months now and finally he tells me that he's not ready for a relationship.

Friend: So what did you say?

Jill: Nothing -- other than tell him that he was a big jerk.

Friend: Oh!

Jill: I mean, can't guys get a clue? Hello! If you are really not ready for a relationship, don't date me for two months and call me every day only to tell me later that you aren't ready for a relationship! I just don't get guys.

Such dialogues are common. Perhaps you have been on the receiving end of such a relationship or perhaps you have been on the giving end. Whatever be the case, may I give you a suggestion? Look in the mirror and decide if you have what it takes to be in a relationship. Questions you might want to ask yourself would be:

a) Am I prepared for a long-term relationship? Or do I want to date lots of people? If you know the answer to this question, don't be bashful-tell the people you are dating what you are looking for.

b) If Mr. or Ms. Right came by today, would I let them into my life or would I ask them to wait until I had dealt with personal issues (e.g. like getting a divorce, putting my finances in order, or ending another relationship that I am not sure I want to end)?

c) Do I have the skills to succeed in a relationship? Be honest with yourself and others. Ask yourself these questions: "How do I make the people closest to me feel? Do I create an environment that draws people to me, or do I make the people around me nervous or uptight? Am I confident in my ability to create a healthy relationship?

d) Am I staying in a relationship with someone who isn't capable of taking our relationship to the next level? Sometimes people stay in dead-end relationships because something is better than nothing. This is a big mistake. Because you are so set on being "IN" a relationship, you ignore big problems. Look for more information on this subject in an upcoming article.

e) Do I know how to find and meet new people? If you want to be in a relationship, you are going to have to be a good salesperson. You are marketing yourself. The better you are at marketing yourself, the better chance you have of finding someone with whom you can share the rest of your life. Don't expect God to drop someone in your lap.

Marketing yourself DOES NOT mean making things up about yourself to fit what you think others want to see! If you don't market the REAL you, your relationships will most likely be dead before they ever really get started. There's more to come on "Methods to Marketing Yourself" in another article that you'll be seeing soon.

So, are you ready or not? Consider your answers to the previous questions. If you are ready, move forward with confidence and a belief that you can create a successful long-term relationship. Successful daters are confident in themselves. They aren't too confident, but they send a message to others that they believe in themselves.

If you aren't ready, that is okay. Take your time and get yourself ready. Whatever you do, don't date someone or lead him or her on if you aren't ready for a commitment. When you are ready to be in a relationship, you will be more comfortable with yourself and your ability to succeed in relationships.

Dr. Kevin Skinner is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a Certified Family Life Educator. He has taught dating and relationship courses at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Brigham Young University. He has been teaching and doing therapy since 1995. Dr. Skinner's goal is to strengthen society by helping single people create healthy relationships. If you would like to increase your relationship skills, consider letting Dr. Skinner and the Dating Smarts professional team provide you with hope that dating and relationships can be good.

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