Check out this great article written by our good friends over at BlackandMarriedWithKids:

Our culture suggests that relationship-readiness is determined by some combination of education, job security, and physical attractiveness. Those factors are indeed important, but they are only one piece of the puzzle. There are many other aspects to being ready for a relationship, and I believe every person should ask themselves the following questions to determine whether they are really ready.

What Would I Bring To The Relationship?

People are naturally inclined to look out for their own interests, but relationships can’t flourish if we consistently act out of selfish motives. Therefore, it is important for us to be just as clear about what we can give to a relationship as we are about what we’re looking to get from one. Love expresses itself through giving (e.g., time, resources, etc.). Too often, however, our actions are driven and influenced by lust, which is more concerned with fulfilling our own desires. Healthy relationships often require us to put the needs of someone else ahead of our own. This is hard to do if our only concern is what someone else can do for us. Before you make a commitment to someone be sure you at least know what you can offer a potential mate emotionally, socially, financially, and spiritually. You’re probably not ready for a relationship if you only want to spend time when it’s convenient for you or only think about gifts when you’re receiving them.

Am I Available?

Another indication of readiness is when we are in a position (physically, emotionally, socially) to give and receive love fully. Many people aren’t able to do this because they are 1) currently in a relationship, 2) carrying the dead weight of emotional baggage, and/or 3) unable to commit the time and energy necessary for sustaining a good relationship. Oftentimes receiving love can be just as difficult as giving it because so many of us have become accustomed to dysfunctional relationships. Our perspectives become so skewed that poor treatment, unmet needs, and the cycle of relationship drama seem normal. Getting rid of dead weight relationships is also important. Sometimes the fear of loneliness causes us to hold on to a person we know would be an unsuitable partner, but giving that person access to our time, energy, and emotions leaves us in a poor position to meet or actively engage someone who actually wants to love us fully.

What Are My Standards?

Contrary to the opinions of some, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having standards. While this is not gender specific, oftentimes women, especially black women, are made to feel that their standards are too high. This is due in part to a society that constantly reinforces the notion that there is a shortage of eligible men. The key is not eliminating standards, however, but focusing them on the things that matter most.

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About the author:

Delano Squires is a blogger and public policy strategist in Washington, D.C. His primary interests are contemporary African American culture, fatherhood, and families. He is also a contributor to The Root.