Chemistry happens. And sometimes, it happens at what feels like an inopportune time. Maybe you’re in an introspective space. Or you’re purposely taking some time for self-exploration. Perhaps you’ve decided you need to cultivate your current mental space without the duties or compromises that accompany building a healthy, blissful relationship.

For most people, there is no better time to be uncuffed—that is, sans the shackles of a relationship—than the summer. The season’s warmer nights often spill over into weekends filled with sun-kissed folks connecting and hooking up during barbecues at homes of friends, rooftop parties and jaunts to exotic locales.

Still, that’s when it can happen—you meet the exceptional gal or guy who piques your interest more than you expected and, after a few dates, you realize she or he is hitting more of the boxes on your checklist than your last three exes combined. Now it’s time for a decision: Do you have “the talk” or keep it light? Here are five things to consider before vaulting into the deep end:


>Remember Why You’re Uncuffed Being in a mature relationship requires selflessness of time and spirit. Are you ready? Think about why you’ve chosen to be single at this juncture in your life and whether you are emotionally prepared to invest in a partnership. Additionally, give yourself permission to honor your decision to remain solo—even if you’ve found a great person. There is often pressure to commit when you’ve found an ideal match, but it also has to be the right time for both parties. Don’t set yourself up for disaster by offering a commitment you cannot fulfill.

Read more in the July 2015 issue of EBONY Magazine.