Recently I had the pleasure of speaking with Isadora Baum and Carolyn Steber from Bustle. We spoke about the possibility of ever knowing you have found “the one” in the earlier stages of dating. Although we all have different needs to be met while in a relationship; I believe there are some questions we can ask ourselves to be sure.
The first question you should ask yourself is how you feel in the presence of your partner. Do you feel self-conscious? Are you worried about how you are being evaluated or that you need to be a certain way so they will like you or want to spend time with you? Is the other person mentally and emotionally present with you? If you don’t feel like you are “at home” when you are with this new person, then you might want to find out why you feel uncomfortable. If the reason you aren’t having increasing comfort with each other is because they are standoffish, guarded, or unwilling to share details about their life, these are all pretty good indications that you will have to struggle to find out what’s going on with them in the future.
Another question to ask yourself is how do they handle interruptions of their time or when they are caught off guard? Do they snap at you or seem irritated being requested to do something they hadn’t expected or anticipated? If you see signs of someone who may have different personality spikes when they aren’t in control of the tone or pace of the situation, then they may not be willing to allow you to have influence. This will leave you feeling unbalanced in the relationship.
It’s an old cliché to notice the way a person treats a waiter at diner to get an indication about how they will treat you when they get comfortable around you. The reason is because someone who is dismissive or minimizes other people’s feelings, contributions, or value in an unbalanced power scenario likely isn’t able to acknowledge or empathize with those who are impacted by their behaviors. Similarly, the way a person responds to animals and children is probably an even stronger indication of how comfortable they are with themselves and their ability to tolerate giving space to other people in their life. Both children and animals can behave unpredictably, and it can reveal someone who has a lack of patience dealing with inconvenience or potentially messy situations.
The one who is “right” for you will likely be at comfort with adjusting to other parts of your life, such as how you both like to spend your down time and whether or not your friends like each other and support the relationship. If you can imagine this person sliding into your daily life and being a complement to what you already enjoy doing and who you like spending time with, then you are more likely to feel this person is a perfect fit.
Lastly, do you feel like a better version of yourself when you are in their presence? Do you suddenly see yourself as more intelligent, interesting, or self-confident based on how the two of you interact? These kinds of emotions tend to create a positive feedback loop that both of you will want to keep nourishing and will often lead to a sense that you were “meant to be together.”
Remember that the early stages of getting to know each other are usually the simplest and less complex of all stages. If you find yourself in the early stages of a relationship with someone whom you have a lot of complicated emotions with, they might not be the one.
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