People always talk about how you should have your life together before finding love. Sure, that sounds cool... but sometimes only in theory. After all, no one is perfect and no one's life is, either, so of course, you don't quite have everything exactly the way that you want it. The truth is that while you don't have to be perfect in order to find love (that would be a super tall order), you can still make your life as great as you want it to be. That's going to make things a million times simpler when you do meet your future boyfriend. You won't have to balance finding a job with spending enough time with him because you'll already have an awesome job, just to name one example. You don't have a crystal ball and you have no idea when you're going to meet someone that you're really into. But you can still make your life as awesome as possible before that amazing guy comes your way. Here are 15 things to figure out before you settle down
15 Your Career
Of course, it's not impossible to find what you really want to do with your life when you're madly in love with your boyfriend. It's just better to do this before you settle down with someone. You'll be in a much more mature, calm place and won't be dealing with all the crazy ups and downs of job hunting and soul searching. You'll feel much more confident when searching for love because you'll already have found what you want to do with your days. You won't have to say something like, "Well, I studied Political Science in college... but I have no idea what I want to do..." That won't go over super well on a first date. Sorry but that's just the truth. If you can figure out your career before you settle down, you're going to be much happier and more secure with who you are. That will make you a million times more attractive.
14 Your Health
It's no secret that these days, more and more people are dealing with health flares and food allergies and low energy. It's not the worst idea to figure this stuff out before you actively try to find love. You want to be in a good place so you can enjoy the experience of finally finding someone to call your own. If you suspect you have a gluten allergy, for example, you might try to hold out on going gluten-free for as long as possible. Hey, you really love your bread and your pizza and your pasta. No one can really blame you for not wanting to give those things up. But if you hold out and then fall in love and then go on an elimination diet, it might be kind of stressful to be in a relationship when dealing with that, too. Sometimes it's nice to figure out stuff on your own when you only have to worry about yourself.
13 Your Hopes And Dreams
There is a dream... and then there is real life. Sometimes those two things are totally mutually exclusive, and other times, you can follow your dreams in a way that still is realistic enough. It is pretty powerful when you hope for something to happen when that dream is the only thing on your mind, and then you make it happen. You feel super amazing and can't believe that you were able to do this... and yeah, you definitely impress yourself. It is pretty cool when you can follow your dreams and actually get some stuff done in terms of your career before you settle down and have a serious boyfriend. That is going to make you a really attractive potential parter and you are going to enjoy your life much more, too. Think how great it will be when you can add a great boyfriend to your already awesome life.
12 Your Perfect Future
Of course, your future isn't going to be perfect. Just like your current life isn't 100 percent perfect. Just like you aren't, either. Your future is probably going to be anything but perfect and you will face lots of ups and downs. But that's only going to make it better. You can never expect perfection because it doesn't exist. But you should still have an idea of what you want your life to look like a few years from now. This will keep you moving forward and will allow you to stay positive even on days when you think about giving up entirely. You will be able to make the right choices because even if you can't see it right now, you will know that your hard work will absolutely pay off in the future. That is going to be really powerful. When you know what you want your life to look like and what you want to accomplish, that makes it easier to pick the kind of guy that you want to date.
11 Your Deal Breakers
People may tell you that you're way too picky, especially if you seem to go on a lot of first dates and it's been a long time since you met someone that you really liked. But remember this: you're not crazy for wanting to be with the best possible person. You're not. You have a right to want certain qualities and say no to other things. Your dating life will be about a million times easier when you can figure out your deal breakers before you seriously search for true love. You'll save yourself time (a lot of time) because you won't keep going on second and third dates when you're not even sure if you're physically attracted to this guy or if you even like his personality. You don't have to apologize to anyone for having some deal breakers. It's okay if you don't want to date someone who smokes, or who doesn't have a great work ethic, or who doesn't want kids.
10 Your Non-Negotiables
These are different from deal breakers but totally along the same lines. You want to know what you absolutely won't accept from a partner. Maybe you want someone who wants to share their life with you and that means that you want to see your boyfriend every single day. Maybe you need more space than that. This is totally up to you but it's a good idea to figure this out before you fall in love and suddenly your brain and heart and hormones are all going crazy and you have no idea what to think. Remember to trust yourself when it comes to what you won't tolerate in a romantic partner because you will think differently about this then your best friends. That's why sometimes you just can't believe what your BFF puts up with from her boyfriend but she doesn't seem to think it's a problem at all. She's not wrong and you're not necessarily right, you're just different.
9 Your Work/Life Balance
You can still find love if you're working like a crazy person and never take a single day off... but it's going to be a lot more difficult. First of all, if all you do is work and you have no time for fun or even trying to date, how are you even going to meet someone? Will you ever have a free evening to go on a date? Probably not. Then there's the fact that once you do find someone to add to your life, you want to spend time with this new guy, don't you? It's so much better to learn how to balance your responsibilities and still live your life, too, before you fall in love with someone. Figure out what time you can take off, whether it's every single weekend or just some weekends, and how to still find time to do the things that you love. Even if that means watching reality TV shows like. Yes, that totally counts, and you should never give that up.
8 Your Insecurities
Everyone has flaws and quirks and that means you, too. You probably have a part of yourself that you do not completely love. You are not alone there. If you can learn to love every inch of yourself, though, you are going to be more attractive to guys. And you are going to have more fun when you find someone you really like, too. No one expects you to be totally and completely perfect. But guys will want you to like yourself as much as they do. Otherwise, it makes the relationship really difficult since you're always going to be wondering if you're good enough if you look good enough, and if this is even going anywhere. Seriously, figure this out before and you will have the best chance at finding love and actually keeping it in your life, too. Which is probably what you want because otherwise, what's the point?
7 Your Likes And Dislikes
You could love traveling to far-flung, fascinating places. You could think the further away, the better. The more foreign culture, the better. The more adventurous, the better. Or you could choose your couch over any big trip or fancy party any night of the week. You could be a health freak or someone who can't resist a good french fry. You should know what you love and hate about life before you even think about dating. This is all part of being confident and happy and secure with who you are. The truth is that if you don't know who you are and what you love and hate, then the person that you date won't know, either, and they might not think that you're girlfriend material after all. And that would really suck, especially if you really liked them, right? Give yourself the best chance of having a real and amazing relationship.
6 Your Routine
You definitely have an every day routine because everyone does. You might not think that this has anything to do with a relationship but think about it this way: how you spend your time means a lot. How you spend your mornings, evenings and weekends is pretty important because once you find someone, you want to know what you're not going to give up. You can't bail on a yoga class that means the world to you just because you have a boyfriend. Seriously, he will understand and you can see him after or later on that day. If you need quiet time when you get up to read and wake up, that shouldn't change, either. Don't give up the things that really matter to you because the truth is that your boyfriend isn't going to stop what he loves, either. You probably already know that dropping everything in favor of your new relationship always backfires. So don't do that.
5 Your Biggest Goal
Everyone has something they've always wanted to do but never got around to. You might as well figure yours out before you fall in love for real. You don't want to resent your boyfriend because you never took up yoga or ran a marathon -- it won't be his fault but yours. You can't blame him because only you can make changes in your life. And if you're only hanging out with him instead of living your life or being your own person, that's on you as well. Think about what you really and truly want to accomplish in your life. It's better to figure this out when you're still single (or when you've just met someone but haven't really settled down with them yet). When you're distracted by how into someone you are, it's harder to remember the things that you want to do in your life. So figure this out beforehand and thank yourself.
4 Your Friendships
You may think that your fiends will be your friends forever. But if you've ever broken up with your friends (and you probably have), then you know that's not always super true. You realize that a certain person is kind of toxic and just not the best person for you to spend time with. They make you feel bad and never support your decisions or the good times in your life. It's a really good idea to trim your friendship circle down to the girls who really get you and support you and are always there for you. When you get into a new relationship, you want to have good girlfriends by your side. They will give you the best advice, help you out when you need it, and they won't be negative or make you feel bad because they're really just jealous of this new great guy in your life. You don't need that, that's for sure.
3 How Much You Want To Commit
You can say that you want a serious boyfriend, and hey, maybe you do. But do you want to get marred someday? Do you want kids? Do you want a house or to buy a condo sometime in the future? It's a really good idea to figure this out before you settle down with someone. Imagine falling in love with a new guy, realizing that he's truly the one for you, and wanting to share your life with him... and then telling him that you don't want marriage and kids and the whole deal. If he does, then that might be a deal breaker for him and that might spell the end of your new love story. The same thing might happen if you want that stuff but the guy you've met doesn't. You have to figure this out beforehand because then you will really and truly know what to do. It's not going to be easy but at least you will feel confident in your decision.
2 Your Stress Levels
The truth is that if you are a big ball of stress and always freaking out about something, sure, you can still find love. Maybe guys will find your personality super charming.... but that won't last. The guy that you call your BF is going to wonder why you're always worried about something and he might bail on you after a while because he just wants to enjoy his life and not be so down in the dumps all the time. You won't be able to blame him, will you? There's also the fact that when you're stressed out all the time, you're not having fun, you're not enjoying your life, and you're not really understanding how grateful you should feel for being where you are. If you can figure out your stress levels and stay calm in the face of the ups and downs that happen in life to everyone, then you will have a much better time finding love... and keeping it, too.
1 Your Story
Your story is pretty much everything about you, your past, and your future. It's who you are, what you've been through, where you're going. You want to be able to present yourself in the best possible light on your next date. But since you've already done the work and you've put in the sweat and tears, you don't have to do much. Just show up on first dates, try your best to make meaningful connections, and try your best to not judge people too much before you really get to know them. If you can own your story, you won't believe how well your next relationship will work out. It just might be your last relationship ever and the one that makes you realize that you have truly found love and happiness... and that you really are settling down, too. If you can figure out these 15 things, settling down won't be far off in your future.