When the Right Person Comes Along, Will You Be Ready?

Earlier this week, I was talking about dating with a male friend of mine (porn-star name: Easy Walnut) when he said to me: "Everybody is ready for a serious relationship if the right person comes along."

I can't tell you how infuriating I think this logic is.

There are a lot of us — not only men but women, my younger self totally included — who wouldn't be able to get into a relationship with the most perfect person in the world, if he came along, because we're just too screwed up.

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For years and years, if you'd asked me, I would've told you I was perfectly ready to be in a serious relationship — that I was, in fact, dying to be in one, but I just couldn't find the right person! Because the guys who were seriously interested in me quickly came to bore me or appall me (even if I'd really liked them a lot early on). I was always more interested in the guys who didn't show much interest in me, or treated me badly. And I would figure the reason why the guys I really liked never liked me back was because I sucked.

But that whole thing — where you tell yourself no one you ever like really likes you — is actually a form of self-loathing.

Trust me. I know.

Back in those days, I desperately wished I could have the power to make anyone like me. I thought if I could only win the approval of some very aloof dude, it would prove that I was worthwhile. Attractive. Cool. Lovable! And whenever I couldn't win the approval of some dude with his nose in the air (which happened a lot), it seemed like more proof that I sucked.... Vicious cycle.

Constantly trying to get the attention of people who don't want to give you attention is a good way to prevent yourself from being in a relationship.

Telling yourself you must spend every waking moment working on self-improvement is another good way to avoid being in a relationship. I was constantly telling myself that if only I worked harder — wrote more, read more books, made more money, worked out more — I might eventually gain the power to make myself LOVABLE.

Did I understand all of this stuff at the time? Not at all. At the time, I truly believed I wanted to be in a relationship — AND THAT ALL I NEEDED TO DO WAS FIND THE RIGHT STUPID PERSON.

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Now, finally, I'm kinda feeling more ready to (a) accept myself, (b) like someone who likes me back, and (c) sacrifice some personal time for a relationship.

Kinda.

But I'll be honest: It seems really scary to get attached to someone who could dump me eventually, after a year, or five, or eight. And that fear — that I will just never be lovable enough for someone awesome to love for a long time — is probably what started this whole commitment-phobia thing in the first place.

So ... I really don't think people magically become ready for a relationship, if they're not already ready, just because the right person comes along.

What I do think happens is that a lot of men and women who are ready but are in a relationship with the wrong person will say, "Sorry, I'm just not ready to be in a serious relationship," — when the truth is, they're just with the wrong person but they're too cowardly to admit it.

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