Health & Wellness: Ready for Romance?

February 14th is a date on our calendar that tells us we’re ready for romance – or, that at least we should be. But how do we know for sure that, emotionally, we’ve healed from past relational disappointments to the point that we can truly love again? And what are some of the red flags that we should look for in our prospective Romeos? We asked emotional health expert Dr. Dianne Bohorquez to clue us in our relationship readiness, and this is some of the advice she shared with us.


Are You Ready for Romance?

By Dr. Dianne Bohorquez


Photo Credit: Trevor Hurlburt

Part of knowing your readiness for a relationship relates to whether you are happy with yourself and your life in the moment. Happiness, however, has different meanings to different people, even at different times in their life. When you find happiness in who you are, as a person, you are ready to allow for the potential that someone else can see the same positive qualities in you, as well.

A healthy relationship between two individuals is one in which each person feels accepted and valued by the other in an appropriate way. Knowing when you or your prospective partner is ready for a committed relationship is important, and requires thought and recognition of the emotions involved. Consider whether your mate has included you in different areas of his life and what types of changes, if any, he have made while getting to know you. Talk about both of your views on relationships and what experience each of you has had with such. When each partner understands how to meet their individual needs while also meeting the needs of their partner, the relationship is in a good balance.

A relationship is unhealthy when a couple neglects their relationship and become abusive in some way – whether emotionally or physically. Oftentimes a partner is taken for granted and the relationship becomes one-sided, with only one individual focusing their partner’s needs without reciprocation. One major red flag that a potential mate is not a good match for you is if they are not empathic about your feelings. If a potential mate does something that makes you feel badly, and cannot demonstrate concern for such, then the relationship will likely be tumultuous.

It’s also important to have realistic expectations of a partner and a relationship. Relationships can be difficult because they involve two distinct individuals sharing a life together. Because each person is different, there will be differences of opinion. Good communication and conflict resolution are essential to the ability to regularly navigate those differences successfully. A partnership needs to allow for the ability to argue without becoming verbally or physically abusive, and it also needs to be able to allow for compromise. When a couple does not communicate about the problems that occur in their relationship, negative feelings and resentments can develop. Resentments will influence future events and interactions between partners, and ultimately can cause a relationship to deteriorate or ultimately end.

When a relationship ends, it can be difficult to emotionally heal. Social supports are essential, and you need to fight the urge to ruminate about the break-up, by distracting yourself with friends or other activities. Investing time into different areas of your life helps to remind you that you have an identity as an individual as well, not just as a partner. When trying to heal a wounded heart, often it can feel like only time can help. It is important, after a major break-up, that an individual eventually feels that they can understand what led to the break-up. One must face any negative feelings about themselves, about the relationship and the break-up, and be able to heal their self-esteem. The best way to deal with emotions that continue to negatively affect us, such as “emotional baggage” is to admit them and talk to someone about them. If your partner has unresolved emotional issues, be supportive of their process and demonstrate the ability to listen to what they say while expressing empathy for what they are experiencing.

Ultimately, being emotionally ready for a romantic relationship involves some level of risk-taking, because we make ourselves vulnerable to loving someone and being loved in return. In some cases, we can be caught by surprise at how quickly and deeply we can fall in love with someone. Upon first meeting someone, it is even possible to have a strong physical connection and surge of euphoric feelings that can be interpreted as “love at first sight.”

Sometimes two people have amazing chemistry and succeed in essentially having an immediate connection at “first sight” that can develop quickly into feelings of love. More commonly, we search for someone that we are compatible with in one way or another. Compatibility is about sharing common interests and values, with an underlying foundation of respect for one another and their differences. It can be easy to want to rush into a relationship because of how romantic and exciting the beginning stages can be. It can be equally romantic and exciting however, for relationships to allow time to develop, with each partner putting thought and attention into knowing more about one another and how they want to share their lives together.


Dr. Dianne Bohorquez is a clinical psychologist with a background in health psychology. She graduated from UCLA and received her doctorate from the California School of Professional Psychology. Dr. Bohorquez has worked in various settings such as Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, City of Hope Medical Center, UCLA Center for Culture and Health, and community based agencies. Her clients have ranged in age from 3 years old to 96 years old. She has also worked in research and has co-authored articles examining quality of life in Latinas with cancer. Currently Dr. Bohorquez is working in various mental health programs that address the needs of the underserved.

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