How to Know if You're Not Ready for a Relationship

Gabrielle Applebury
Woman rejecting man's kiss

It can be challenging to know when you're not ready for a relationship. Being in tune with yourself can help you better understand your relationship needs and convey that to potential partners.

When You Don't Feel Ready

It's totally normal to want to put dating or a relationship on hold. You may have just gotten out of a serious relationship, or just want to take time to figure out what the healthiest choice for you is. Whatever your reason, know that it is up to you to dictate what you feel ready for. If you aren't sure about entering into a new relationship, it's best to take a moment and figure out what your needs are. Think about:

  • Why you don't feel ready
  • What's blocking you from being in a relationship
  • How you feel when you're in a relationship versus when you're not in a relationship
  • What you'd like to prioritize or work on in terms of your self care

Signs You're Not Ready for a Relationship

You may not be ready to be a solid partner to someone else if you're feeling emotionally burnt out, or just want some alone time. Know that this is okay and you deserve some time to think about what you want. Think carefully about entering into a new relationship if:

  • The idea of a relationship gives you a lot of anxiety
  • You don't feel fully prepared to be vulnerable and open with someone new
  • You want to completely focus on work and put relationships on hold
  • You're not fully in tune with your relationship needs yet
  • You're still in the process of getting to know yourself as a single person
  • You're stuck in a pattern of picking unhealthy partners

Explanations for When You're Not Ready for a Relationship

You may encounter a situation where you need an excuse or explanation for why you're not ready to be in a relationship. Think about your response and be kind and honest when sharing your thoughts.

What to Say When You Like Someone

If you like someone but aren't sure if you're ready to be in a relationship, you should let them know as soon as you can. You can say:

  • "I have feelings for you, but I don't feel ready to start dating again."
  • "I'd like to work on our friendship before we start dating."
  • "I really like you, but am just not ready for a full blown relationship yet."

What to Say When You Don't Like Someone

You may experience a situation where someone begins to like you, but the feelings aren't mutual. If this happens, you can say:

  • "I like you as a friend, but I'm not interested in a romantic relationship with you."
  • "I so appreciate you letting me know that you'd like to be with me, but I'm not ready to date anyone quite yet."
  • "I have enjoyed getting to know you, but I need to spend some time being single right now."
  • "I am not interested in starting a serious relationship with anyone right now, but I'd love to stay friends."

Discussing Your Needs

Being honest with yourself enables you to convey your thoughts to potential partners who may like you, or who you have interest in. Trust your gut when it comes to your relationship needs, and only enter into relationships when you feel completely ready to do so.

How to Know if You're Not Ready for a Relationship