If you’re someone who wants to find a lifelong romantic partner to share years of your experiences with, then you’ve probably asked yourself if your partner is “The One.” Whether you’ve been together for a few months or a few years, it can be difficult to figure out if they’re just an important person in your journey or if they’re the actual person that you want to spend the rest of your life with. According to experts, if you’re with “The One,” some things should come naturally to you in the relationship.
“When it comes to your partner being ‘The One,’ it does not mean you won’t have doubts,” Lauren Cook, MMFT, a clinician practicing emotionally-focused therapy who specializes in couples counseling, tells Bustle. In fact, having some small doubts is normal and healthy. “If you have mindfully chosen a spouse, it’s normal to carefully consider the strengths and weaknesses of the relationship,” she says. It can actually be harmful to try to convince yourself that a relationship is absolutely perfect, because that is never the case. Instead, she says, when you’ve found your person, you’ll be actively choosing them and accepting them fully — flaws and all — because you love them for who they are.
Here are some things that will come naturally if your partner is “The One,” according to experts.
1. Your Independence
When you think of a partner who is your soulmate, you might imagine the two of you snuggling close together long into old age. But an important part of finding your person is having someone who will let you grow as your own person and will give you space when you need it. “When your partner is ‘The One,’ there is still a healthy sense of independence and separate identities are maintained,” Cook says. A loving relationship means that each partner can still be secure in the relationship without having to be codependent or spend every moment of their time attached at the hip. Instead, they’ll cheer you on as you flourish.
2. Discussions About The Future
If you’re not sure whether the person you’re dating is the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, it can feel awkward to talk about future plans. But when your partner is “The One,” you’re not afraid to talk about the future, Cook says. When you’re first dating, discussions about potential future children, whether or not you want to get married, or where you’d like to live can feel like intimidatingly deep issues, but when you feel secure about your future with them, there’s no fear or hesitation when it comes to these conversations, she says. In fact, there’s probably a lot of excitement.
Any long-term relationship is going to experience some disagreements and mistakes, no matter how blissful the partnership feels most of the time. One major sign that you’re with the person you’re meant to be with is that you don’t keep score about who puts in more work in the relationship or who shows more love. “When your partner is ‘The One,’ there is no tit-for-tat when it comes to helping each other out,” Cook says. “Sometimes one partner will pick up the slack more than the other, but because the love is freely given and received, there is no ‘you owe me’ factor.”
4. Your Full Attention
When you’re bored during your commute home from work or standing in line at the grocery store, you might find yourself automatically reaching for your phone to see what folks are up to online. While this can be a good way to pass the time when you don’t have someone to talk to, one sign that your partner is “The One” is if you don’t find the need to be on your phone a lot when you’re with them. “When you’re that interested in your partner and they are ‘The One,’ you’re not finding yourself in scroll mode,” Cook says. “You are present with one another and you actually look at one another and talk,” she says. “In fact, you may even find yourself losing track of time and just feeling totally immersed in the present moment with your partner.”
5. Finding Things To Talk About
If your partner is someone who is very easy to talk to, they might be your person, Dr. Laura Louis, author of Marital Peace, and a licensed psychologist who specializes in strengthening relationships, tells Bustle. Maybe the two of you can chat for hours without running out of things to say or you’re always running to them whenever you have something interesting to share. “If you can talk to your partner without fear or caution, that’s a great first sign of knowing who ‘The One’ is,” Louis says. Of course, there may be times when you’re able to sit together in complete silence without feeling like you have to fill the space, but regularly wanting to share your feelings and experiences is a great sign.
6. Mutual Support
You and your partner might be so busy that you barely have time to have a meal together at the end of the day before crawling into bed. Or maybe you have more flexible schedules, which allow for plenty of fun activities. Whatever your situation is, when you’ve found your person, it’s important that you feel like you matter to them, Louis says. “For example, if your partner participates in activities that you like to do, it can make you feel happy and appreciated,” she says. Whether they also love the things you do or not, the fact that they make an effort says a lot about how much they love you.
7. Your Best Self
“‘The One’ is that one person who you can be your best self with,” Adina Mahalli, MCT, a certified relationship expert and mental health consultant, tells Bustle. “When your authenticity can’t help but thrive around your partner, it’s a sign that they’re ‘The One.'” Some people might bring out your not-so-great qualities, like encouraging your overspending habits or making you crankier when things don’t go your way. But when you’re with your life partner, you’ll feel more yourself than ever. “You’re able to be vulnerable around them in a way that doesn’t make you feel vulnerable so that your true colors can shine brightly,” Mahalli says.
If these statements ring true when it comes to your relationship with your partner, that’s wonderful. You might have found “The One.”
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