Ah, “the one.” The concept that there’s one person meant for you, while lovely, is often followed by questions of how you know you’ve found that soulmate. Ask anyone you know that is in a long-term relationships and you’re likely to receive vague answers of, “I just knew” and “everything just made sense.” While that’s sweet for them, this ends up being more mystifying than helpful for you. Not to worry.
Whether or not you believe that there’s one right person for you out there (among 7.8 million others), there are a few specific qualities that are present in most long-term partners (and successful relationships). Below, top relationship experts share their top five signs that you’ve found your person. Consider these your green flags.
Before we get into how you know you’ve found “the one,” let’s talk about what that even means. While books and film would have you believe this is some magical person that you’re supposed to be with, professional opinions are a bit more grounded in reality.
In simple terms, when most people say that they’ve found this person, what they mean is that they’ve found someone they feel is their life partner, says Dr. Chloe Carmichael, clinical psychologist and author of “Dr. Chloe's 10 Commandments of Dating”, tells us. Lisa Bahar, marriage and family therapist and adjunct faculty for Pepperdine University’s Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology program adds that this “synergy” or sense of being on the “same wavelength” often comes from sharing some fundamental beliefs about relationships and the world in general.
The pitfall of this idea is that there’s only one specific partner that you’re supposed to somehow find and be with. This is where relationship professionals and our favorite cheesy rom-coms clash. Across the board, our experts agree that, in all likelihood, there are actually multiple people who could be a potential partner.
This is great news! If you thought you’d found the one and it didn’t work out, rest assured that you haven’t missed your only shot. There’s a high chance that you’ll meet someone else that’s just as—if not more—compatible for you. That being said, there are definitely a few key signs that you’ve connected with someone you could have a wonderful, successful relationship with. These include…
What are the qualities to look for in a partner? While they don’t need to be identical, your partner should, at least, have similar core values and priorities as you. This could involve religion, political views, future planning, and even things along the line of education level and finances. “These are values and priorities that define a person’s character and perspective on life,” says Bahar.
She explains that people often look for others who relate in these ways in order to click. While opposites can attract—and help each person in a relationship grow—having values and priorities in common can massively aid in creating a strong foundation and clear outlook on the future. If you’re unclear if this is the case, Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby, marriage and family therapist, author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to an Ex Love”, and host of the Love, Happiness, and Success podcast suggests asking yourself if your partner has a track record of making what you feel are good decisions, and if their long term goals feel compatible with yours.
Having healthy communication is when you’re able to be honest and transparent with one-another, without a conversation devolving into a hateful or bitter argument. As you can imagine, this is crucial in a relationship that wants to go the distance.
Being able to communicate will be the tool that gets you past inevitable conflicts and disagreements. Dr. Bobby notes that it’s important that someone shows the ability to “stay in the ring” and have productive conversations—even when they’re challenging. Your partner should be able to apologize when they’ve done something wrong, and hold themselves accountable when need be. Likewise, they should also point out when you’ve done something to upset them and talk it out without getting defensive. Regardless of topic, your success as a couple and moving forward should always be the goal, not ‘winning’ or coming out on top.
Simply put, your partner should be comfortable showing you affection. However, it’s crucial to note that there isn’t just one way that someone can express this. In fact, affection can be expressed through various acts. You’ve probably heard of the love languages—words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, quality time, and physical touch.
Similar to that logic, your partner should be able to show their affection towards you in the ways that you feel you need (and vice-versa), whether that’s cuddling on the couch, praising your work, or doing you a favor. Just don’t expect someone to catch on to your specific needs in this area right away. If you feel it’d be helpful, have a conversation about how you both like to receive love and affection. From there, a partner that’s in it for the long haul will put in the effort to meet those needs.
Likewise, your relationship should possess intimacy. While intimacy can lend itself to sexual compatibility, it can also mean that there’s a genuine closeness between the two of you. According to an Instagram post from Therapist Alyssa Mancao, like love languages, there are also different types of intimacy—emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical. Mancao notes that these types of intimacy foster necessary closeness and connection in a relationship. While your partner may express their affection in ways specific to you, you should feel intimate with them on each of these levels.
While not often spoken about, an ability to seriously discuss your future together is one of the clearest signs that someone is the one. “Being ‘the one’ is more than just an immense enjoyment of each other’s company and a general sense that you have the same life blueprint. Being ‘the one’ in the sense of a life partner will typically also mean having a genuine willingness and ability to make a future-oriented commitment to you, in this moment,” explains Dr. Carmichael.
Before committing to the idea that someone is the one, she urges you to first understand more about whether the person is truly thinking in a future-oriented manner about a relationship with you specifically. If they are, great! If not, they may not be in the same place as you, nor want the same things. In either case, this is paramount to discuss with someone you consider a potential life partner.
As compatible as you may be on paper (or notes app), the strongest indicator of someone being “the one” is whether or not you’re both willing to make it work and work through marriage problems. While similar interests and values are important, you should both be prepared to build a strong foundation and work for your future together. If we’re being realistic, lasting relationships without conflict don’t exist. Because of this, you both need to be willing to fight for your relationship’s success.
“[The one] is willing to work through deeper emotional blocks or hard times with each other,” states Dr. Paulette Sherman, psychologist, author of “Marriage and the Law of Attraction: The Secret to Creating Your Perfect Relationship”, and host of The Love Psychologist Podcast. When you’re both prepared to put in the work for a future together, consider it a strong indicator that you’ve found the one.
The idea of finding your meant-to-be partner is a daunting one. On top of other common dating mishaps, it can sound like a tall order when you’re seeking someone you can have a serious relationship with. Likewise, it can be intimidating to question whether the person you’re seeing is really that compatible for you in the long term. In any case, try to avoid unnecessary spiraling and really think through these key factors. What’s most important here is that you’re honest with yourself about your relationship—even when it’s hard. When all else fails, just know that love isn’t an exact science. Take all the time you need and, ultimately, trust both your head and heart.