A relationship with someone you truly love and care about can be invigorating and life changing. In order to experience this bliss, you have to be ready to be in a relationship. It is no secret that relationships take a lot of work, and life continuously throws things at us to make navigating through relationships more and more difficult. However, if you are genuinely ready to be in a relationship, the process of navigating through relationships can be a bit easier. To the contrary, if you enter into a relationship before you are truly ready to do so, the result can be disastrous. Although it may be natural to want to be in a relationship, there are several things you should consider before pursuing a love interest or agreeing to be in a relationship.

Time Commitment. One of the most important factors that people seem to forget about when it comes to relationships is the amount of time that most relationships take. Every couple is different, so the amount spent together can be vastly different from couple-to-couple. However, the addition of a person into your life will certainly result in less “you” time. In addition to one (or a few) dates per week, you and your partner will likely spend a few evenings together after work and on the weekends as well. If you have a very active social life, think about how you might incorporate a significant other into your routine. No room? Maybe you should wait until you have a little more time on your hands to devote to someone else. Some people may think that long-distance relationships do not require a significant time commitment due to the distance between partners. To the contrary, some long-distance relationships can actually require more of a time commitment than traditional relationships because more time must be spent on the phone or with other forms of communication to make up for the lack of physical contact and face-to-face communication.

Stage of Life. Take time to consider what stage of life you are in. If you are in a period of transition, and are not quite certain about your future plans (whether they are long-term or short-term), you may want to hold off on entering into a relationship until you are more settled. If you wait to enter into a relationship when you are settled, it will be easier to make decisions for you and your partner down the line, and you will also know what you want in the relationship and in general, which will help you keep your voice in the decision-making process.
Baggage. If you still carry around the scars of an old relationship with you, definitely do not enter into a new relationship. While the new relationship can help mask the pain of your old relationship, until you completely drop your emotional baggage, you will not be able to give all of yourself to your partner.

Self Love. Before you can love anyone else, you must love yourself. Take time to really think about whether you feel comfortable in your own skin. Why or why not? If you find an area that is lacking, you may want to strengthen the love you have for yourself prior to entering into a relationship. Nothing can fill the void of self love—not even the best partner.

Author's Bio: 

Brooke Alexandria offers relationship advice for men and women of all ages, and in all stages of life. Regardless of if you are newly single, a dating veteran or married, you'll surely find useful tips to help you find love, navigate through your relationship and build stronger, long-lasting relationships. Follow Brooke on her journey through relationships at http://truth-about-relationships.blogspot.com.