Falling in love can be easy. Chemistry aside (and there should be some chemistry) the quest to find the one person you want to share your life with can be a challenge.
How can you tell that this person is right for you or you are right for each other? Don’t be blinded by the initial attraction.
A study in 2003 from the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found, in fact, that people really want to be romantically connected to someone they view as being very similar to themselves. They prefer someone of a similar level of attractiveness, wealth and status, and commitment to family and monogamy.
Then, a 2009 study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that among newly married couples, there was a strikingly high similarity to each other in the area of attitudes and values, and smaller amount of similarity to one another when it came to elements of personality. Once again, this demonstrated that people were picking mates like themselves. Another important finding of this study was that when researchers examined the level of marital happiness and satisfaction, the happier couples had the most similar personalities, though not necessarily similar attitudes.
Ask yourself some questions. Consider the following:
To know whether you have found The One you first need to know who you are. What are your expectations—of yourself, of a potential partner?
What you learned about relationships growing up affects your decision. Are you hoping to emulate your parents’ relationship–or avoid it? Which parent did you identify with? Whose part do you want to play? If you date a person like your gentle parent because you are attracted to those traits, you may end up being frustrated by their passivity. If you crave intimacy, you’ll struggle with a mate who’s distant.
Be honest with yourself.
What’s going on in your life? Do you feel pressured to find a partner? Are you trying to make up for a past bad decision? Are you happy with who you are as a person? If you’re hoping to find the one meant for you because you feel incomplete, if you want a partner to fix your problems, you are likely to be disappointed whoever you end up with.
Outside of romance novels, there is no perfect mate. Everybody settles for a bundle of virtues and faults, a mixture of good and bad. There is not just one perfect partner but rather a myriad of people, some better than others,that may be a good fit. The first step is to know yourself. Know what is important to you and what is important to you in a partner. What do you value, what are your beliefs, interests, spirituality, and what traits in a partner are more important than others? Maybe a great sense of humor is vital, someone who can make you laugh and laugh with you.
Know the Other Person
The next step is to know the other person. Look at what he or she does, as well as, what he or she says. At a minimum, don’t put up with violence or addiction, whether to substances or behaviors. It’s good to try new things however if something is absolutely against your values or beliefs, have the courage to say no and let the chips fall where they may. And then re-evaluate whether this relationship is best for you.
Don’t assume you can fix the other person. First, it’s not your job, and second, it’s not possible. Ask yourself whether you are attracted to the actual person or to what you see as his or her potential.
Think about how he or she treats you. Does he or she support you or put you down in front of others? Does she keep her promises or make excuses? Is she respectful of the people you are close to? Does he or she begrudge the time you spend with friends or family? Does he or she hide significant things from you, things like professional failures and successes, cheating, debts, doubts about sexual orientation, chronic illness? Is he or she afraid of commitment?
How Do You Feel When You’re Together?
Consider your behavior when you’re together. Can you talk about things like sex, whether you want children, your attitudes toward money, religion, or politics? Maybe the topics might be about retirement, vacations, grown children moving in with you or where you might live. Agreeing on everything is an indication that something’s wrong. Do you fight and when you fight, do you both fight fair? Is there too much drama, clinging or control? Does one person always give in to the other or is there a good balance of give and take?
Do you trust each other? Can you be honest about your faults? Are you a team? Do you notice what’s going on with each other, pay attention to one another’s feelings and needs? Are you emotionally available to each other? Do you miss each other when you’re not together? Are you each other’s best friends, that is, do you really like each other as people? Do you accept each other, warts and all?
How well do you get along with each other’s friends and family? Do you have similar values and priorities? Can you be happy just being quiet together? Is there humor in your relationship? Do you enjoy some of the same interests?
And finally, do you play to each other’s strengths? Do you encourage each other to be the best version of yourselves?
Knowing It’s Really Right
To find the one for you and know it’s really right requires, first, that you know yourself, second, that you know your mate, and last, that you face the truth about yourselves. Are there red flags that you are ignoring? Take the time to think about the red flags and decide if those are things you can live with or if they are big in the grand scheme of things.
If you can be your real self when you’re with your mate and if he or she supports you in being your best self, you have made a good beginning. If you feel accepted, respected, and loved when you are together, you know you’re on the right track. When you trust each other and work as a team, through thick and thin, you’re well on your way to knowing it’s really right.
In this world of millions of people, its tough to find some one that is a good fit, but its possible. It takes time. Don’t give up. It could end up being well worth the search and you could enjoy the relationship for years to come.