It’s something that happens to all of us at some time in our lives: We fall in love. After all, the search for a partner is part of the human condition. The tricky part is falling in love with the right person and staying in love. Very few people can say that the first person they fell in love with is the person that became their partner for life. Today, most of us have several romantic relationships before we take the plunge and commit. The big question is: How do you know when you have found The One? How do you know that the person who right now seems to be the centre of your universe is someone you’ll still want to be within two, ten, twenty years’ time?
The answer is quite simple: You don’t. There is no way to tell without a doubt that a relationship will last until death do you part. Love is a bit of a gamble, really. Luckily, there are ways to tell how favourably (or not) the odds are stacked when it comes to the future of your relationship. Of course, different people have different criteria of what is important to them but below are some of the important signs to look for.
1. You Have Mutual Respect for Each Other
A successful, healthy and happy relationship simply isn’t possible without mutual respect. Respect brings with it trust and with trust comes security in the relationship. This isn’t really rocket science to figure out: If you don’t feel secure with your partner, or vice versa, the relationship doesn’t stand much of a chance. What is a little more complicated is to understand what respect is.
Respect means that you accept and appreciate your partner for who he or she is. You are proud to be with your partner and you let him or her know it. You never feel the need to deceive your partner and you are always loyal to him or her. You take your partner’s emotional and physical wellbeing into account in everything you say and do. You value your partner’s right to an opinion, even if you don’t agree with that opinion. You regard your partner as your equal and treat him or her as such.
When you have found The One, all of this will come naturally. More importantly, your partner will feel and act the same way towards you. It takes two, after all.
2. You’re Relaxed in Each Other’s Company
This is a no-brainer as well. If you feel you need to walk on eggshells whenever your partner is around, this isn’t the relationship for you. Sooner or later your legs will tire from the effort and those eggshells will break, leaving you with a nasty mess to clean up.
Being relaxed around your partner means that you can trust him or her enough with your thoughts, dreams and fears. It means that you feel accepted and respected and it means that you can be yourself, warts and all. It also means that you can have fun together and actually like each other. Being with The One will make you feel like you’re wearing your favourite, cosy old jumper instead of the scratchy, expensive number that you hardly want to move in for fear of ruining it.
3. You Help Each Other Be Better People
The right partner will bring out the best in you. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll become more ambitious or more successful or that you’ll have a better body. It just means that you’ll become nicer; the kind of person that others want to be around. More importantly, you’ll want to be a better person. If you’re wondering if your partner is the right one, ask your close friends and family. Their opinion isn’t the be-all and end-all but they can give you a more objective assessment of how the relationship’s been affecting you.
It’s also important to remember that when you’re really with The One, you will both feel like this. You also need to bring out the best in your partner. If it isn’t a two-way street or if at any time one of you find yourself making excuses for the other’s behaviour, this will only lead to resentment later on.
4. Your World is a Better Place with Your Partner in It
Many people say that when you’ve found The One, you’ll just know. It’s about feeling like you’ve found your other half, like you want to say that line from Jerry Maguire, ‘You complete me.’ You feel that life is more interesting and that even when the going gets tough, things will turn out okay because your partner is there to help make it better. The butterflies never really leave when you see your partner and you light up when he or she enters the room.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t live your life unless your partner is right there with you. If you need someone else’s energy and attention 24/7, that’s just neediness. With The One you’ll still be able to do your own thing but you’ll be able to do it with an extra bounce in your step.
5. You’re Both Making the Effort
Every relationship has its ups and downs and the most perfect person will get on your nerves sometimes, even if it’s just for being so damn perfect. As any couple who have been together forever will tell you, the secret to getting over the bumps in the journey is to be able to communicate well and resolve the problematic issues. This isn’t easy and you shouldn’t delude yourself into thinking it will be but the point is that no relationship will last unless you both do whatever it takes to make it last. It’s incredibly important that you both want to make the effort, though, and that you’re both committed to a future together. The One will want to be with you as much as you want to be with him or her.
Have you found The One yet and if so, what was it that made you realise, ‘This is it’? If you’re still looking, what are your deal-breakers? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.