Yep. You read that title right. There are tons of articles about how to know if the object of your affection is a keeper. But I’m going to go out on a limb and say that whether they are or not is immaterial if you are not ready to reciprocate keeper status. It is difficult to know if you are ready for a keeper. As always, I can only speak from my personal experience, but here are a few things that had to shift significantly before I was ready to keep and be ‘kept’.
1. You Are Looking For Your Equal.
One of the great romantic myths is that your significant other completes you in some way, that one plus one equals a happy whole. That implies that you are each half people stumbling around in the dark waiting for your life to begin once you find that missing puzzle piece. But I’d rather see it as finding someone who compliments you – two complete humans who together form an awesome team.
Here’s another way of looking at it: Why would you want to be with someone with whom the balance is uneven? Why ‘settle’ for someone – it will only lead to resentment. Or, why put yourself in a position of deference, constantly trying to prove your worth to someone? Ultimately, mutual respect will breed relationship longevity. Not as sexy as co-dependency, sure, but absolutely vital if you want something substantial.
2. You Are Able To See Things As They Are.
Forget X-Ray vision – the ability to see things as they are is the true super power! It is one that I have occasionally and one that makes life easier in general. When you can see things as they are (i.e. not how you would like them to be, nor a catastrophized version), then you know what you are working with and have the power to decide whether this person is right for you. An added bonus that comes from being a seer of The Truth Of Things is that you kinda have to give up the idea of changing someone. The ability to accept someone unconditionally is another step on the way to keeper status because you get to practice one half of that romantic ideal – unconditional love.
3. You Would Rather Be Single Than In A Not So Great Relationship
So now that you’ve gained that elusive aforementioned super power and you realize that you can’t change anyone and that the choice is always yours, it becomes pointless to continue pursuing something that is not right for you. Standing on your own takes courage. It can be lonely being single. But in my experience it is so much lonelier being in a relationship that isn’t working. Ultimately, I think it comes down to this – if you are holding on to someone that isn’t making your heart sing, then there is no room for anyone else. Clear the space and do the work. Which brings me to…