How do you know when you’ve met the right person for you?
The answer is often clearer in people’s imaginations than in reality. They fantasize about laughing, having fun together, and feeling filled with love for their new partner. But the reality is often a bit more complicated. When you spend time with someone who’s a good match for you, the depth of your feelings may take you by surprise or grow slowly. You may or may not feel intoxicated with love and lust. And most importantly, even if you’re in love, that doesn’t mean that person is someone whom you can build a life with.
So how do you know you’ve found a partner you could build a happy life with? You’ve likely found “the one” when he or she meets these 5 criteria:
1. You enjoy time together. No matter how good your new partner looks on paper, the two of you need to “click.” You must share interests, or at the very least, have fun when you are together. Almost by definition, “the one” is someone who you want to pass time with.
2. Time spent together leaves you feeling good about you. There are characteristics about yourself that you value – perhaps it’s your creativity, your intelligence, or your fashion sense. For a relationship to make you truly happy in the long term, you must feel that your partner recognizes these traits and respects them. By seeing and valuing in them, “the one” will support you in becoming ever closer to the person you’d like to be.
3. Your partner is capable of an interdependent relationship. The happiest and most successful relationships are those that allow each partner to enjoy their independent selves while also relying on each other. Each person feels appreciated and supported in pursuing their individual interests. But they also depend on one another for support, comforting, and encouragement. This can sometimes be a difficult balance to strike, but “the one” must be able to at least work on creating a healthy interdependence with you.
4. Your partner is ready for a committed relationship. Timing is important. So, even if you are in love, your partner must be ready to commit to nurturing a committed relationship for it to work out well. Otherwise, he or she can only be – at best – “the maybe-sometime-in-the-future one.”
5. Your partner is a good communicator. Sharing thoughts and feelings is essential to developing a close relationship. When tensions arise – which will happen – you need your partner to be capable and willing to talk through those issues in a constructive way. This doesn’t need to go perfectly smoothly, and you may need to help each other stay on track. But “the one” must be able to communicate well through good and bad times.
There are no perfect people or perfect relationships. But there are relationships that enable people to feel happier and more fulfilled – in the moment and over the years. When you meet someone who has the potential to do this with you, pay close attention because you may have found “the one.”
Entries for the Relationships blog are for general educational purposes only. They may or may not be relevant for your particular situation; and they should not be relied upon as a substitute for individual professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you need help for an emotional or behavioral problem, please seek the assistance of a psychologist or other qualified mental health professional.