This is an article I originally wrote for the dating website Singles Warehouse

Let’s say you’ve been single for a while, or maybe you recently got out of a relationship and you are ready to start dating again. This time, you want the relationship to last, but how do you know that you are ready to begin something new and healthy?

Before hitting the dating scene, make sure you ask yourself the following three questions:

Do you feel like you have a full life?

Do you have a variety of friends and social events on your calendar? Do you have hobbies and activities that you feel passionate about? Do you feel like you have a purpose in your life? If so, chances are that you are more ready to include someone else in your happiness.

If, however, you are hoping that someone else will provide you with all these things, you may be sorely mistaken.  Expecting someone else to make you happy places a ton of pressure and unrealistic expectations onto the relationship. This kind of one-sided dynamic rarely works out, often burdening the other partner and sending them running for the hills.

Do you like who you are?

This is similar to the previous question, but more internally focused. Answering this question requires brutal self-honesty, but it is very important to sort out. You can help yourself along by asking yourself the following questions. Do you usually feel upbeat and optimistic, or depressed and anxious? Do you feel that you deserve to be loved and in a relationship, or if someone were to show interest, would you wonder if something is wrong with them? Often, people enter relationships hoping that a new person will magically whisk all their emotional problems away. That is a recipe for disaster.

The emotional fabric of relationships consists of the emotions we individually bring to the table. You may find yourself initially uplifted by the endorphin high of a new relationship, but eventually old unattended problems will resurface, coloring all the good feelings and undermining any chance the relationship has of succeeding.

Can you tolerate being alone?

Do you feel like you need someone to complete you or can you find pleasure even when you are completely alone? Numerous studies show that the best relationships consist of individuals who do not sacrifice their individuality once they are partnered. That means they are equally as capable being together as alone. Those who struggle with this may often find themselves mired in codependent relationships that deplete emotional resources and destroy self-esteem.

This bears repeating:

You cannot possibly bring somebody else into your life unless you are happy with yourself and with your life as it currently stands.

If you do bring somebody else into your needy and unhappy world, you will bring them down, cause problems and aggravate them with your insecurities. Sure, you will feel great for the next few months while the relationships is in its infancy, but if you are not fundamentally happy and secure with yourself, your issues will bog down and destroy your relationship eventually.

Go out and live your life. Start new hobbies, travel, make new friends. Create the life around you that you always wanted. Many people find therapy to be very helpful while making big changes in their lives.

Then and only then will you be ready to bring somebody else into your life.

Remember, another person cannot make your life for you. To be happy, you need to create your own life for yourself, and only then will you be ready to bring somebody else in to enjoy your happiness with you.