I wonder sometimes if our grandparents spent so much time deliberating about whether they had found ‘the one’.
Is questioning whether you’ve found the right person a product of the present, or have people always ummed and aahed about whether they’ve managed to find their soulmate?
Do dating apps and the sense that there might be something better out there (someone airbrushed and glossy, with perfect white veneers), merely a few button-taps away have something to do with it?
Or is ruminating over whether you’ve found Mr/Mrs. Right just something that everyone experiences, regardless of age?
Questioning whether our partner is right for us can leave us feeling guilty and shameful.
Especially if you grew up on fairytale romances, die-for-me Romeo and Juliet stories.
But the truth is that some couples are better matched than others.
These 7 signs are a good starting point for determining whether or not you’re with the right person for you:
1) You feel like you can be yourself around them
Oftentimes, we find ourselves assuming a character around certain individuals.
We pretend to be bubbly and fun around new friends (let the existential questioning and impending thoughts of death come out to play later).
We pretend we love cooking when with our in-laws, when we in fact don’t know how to boil an egg.
We pretend we’re never, ever upset, because god that would be so depressing for everyone else (when in fact we are sinking into a pit of misery).
If you don’t feel like you have to hide or modify any element of your personality around your significant other, that’s as green a flag as they come.
What’s even better is if you not only feel like yourself around them, but the best version of yourself.
2) You’re both satisfied
Does being in your relationship make you feel happier than you did prior to meeting your SO?
Who do you like more – pre-relationship you or current-you?
Do you think there are any ways in which your partner is holding you back?
If, on the whole, you can reflect on life prior to meeting your partner and confidently say that it has massively improved since they entered into your life, you’re winning.
Life isn’t always perfect.
Particularly in long-term relationships, there will be some weeks or months where it’s not all fine and dandy.
But the right person for you will never detract from your overall happiness.
When in a relationship with someone right for you, you shouldn’t feel like you’re being held back, your wings clipped.
Nor should you feel anxious or exhausted.
You might not wake up every morning feeling on top of the world, but you should be able to say, with confidence, that you both complement and improve each other’s lives.
3) You’re confident in your conflict solving abilities
“We literally never argue. We’re made for each other.”
I nodded politely at a friend sharing what she considered a clear-cut indicator that she had found her soulmate.
Four months later, and we were sitting at the same table while she mopped away floods of tears.
They had argued once in 3 years.
Never having had to navigate conflict or how to resolve arguments before, they had instantly butted heads.
What seemed like the perfect, idyllic relationship crumbled within minutes.
The very notion of arguing threw them so off guard, they seemed instantly convinced that there was no way that they were meant to be.
Perfect couples don’t argue!
Perfect couples are just great at communicating calmly, expressing their opinions, listening to the other person, and then finding a solution that suits both people.
On top of that, they’re great at reassuring each other of their love during periods of heightened emotion and making up after verbal disagreements.
So don’t be too put off by conflict with your partner. It’s natural to disagree. You’re both two very different people.
What’s more important is your ability to communicate and resolve these disagreements.
4) You never feel like you’re playing mind games
Early dating stages are so complicated.
She takes 4 hours to reply?
He puts up a couple Instagram stories of him having fun on a night out with the boys?
Time to drop a thirst bomb and make him wonder where you’re going!
She talks nonchalantly about not wanting commitment and being unsure of whether or not she wants to get married…
One up her! You’re now the non-committal king.
Having to engage in this toxic dance with your partner, where showing true feelings is regarded as weak, and you can never be the first to confess your attachment, is very tiring.
But if you feel like this doesn’t apply to you and you don’t understand why someone would possibly try and manipulate or play mind games with someone they love, you’re in the clear.
5) Neither of you hold grudges
As far as you’re aware…
Getting a bit salty over something your partner said or did and having a lingering feeling of hurt for a couple weeks is quite normal.
However, if you can safely say that you’re not being kept up at night thinking about that one time 3 years ago when they said you had a funny looking chin, you’re safe.
The lack of grudges is probably due to your joint ability to solve conflict when it does arise.
Owing to your natural ability to communicate and work through issues, you can confidently say that neither of you clings on to arguments of the past or harbors any ill-will towards the other.
6) You don’t want to change them nor they you
Sometimes, people tire of one another in relationships.
That little scrunch of your nose that your partner used to love becomes something that sets them off within seconds.
Or you no longer find their stamp collection hot.
The honeymoon attraction wears off and even quirks and habits that initially attracted you to one another start getting irritating.
Everyone comes with flaws, but if you can wholeheartedly say that you love your partner – flaws and all – it’s looking good.
Obviously, relationships take growth and commitment. There will be phases where you have to iron out minor issues such as communication expectations or how you navigate cleaning the house together.
You might ask them to step up and start pulling their weight around the house. Or they tell you that you might benefit from waking up earlier on weekends so that you can both hang out together.
I wouldn’t call these changes necessarily. There’s a bit of give and take in relationships, and you’ll no doubt find that you have to adapt to one another’s needs.
However, you should never feel like you have to fully change an aspect of your personality or eradicate an interest to meet your partner’s desires.
Deep down, you should both feel seen and loved – flaws and all.
7) They’re happy when you’re happy
“Oh gosh, look at that beautiful parakeet!”
Your partner responds with a grumble and keeps their eyes glued to their phone.
Not a great sign.
John and Julie Gottman’s theory of ‘bids for connection’ covers the principle of one person trying to connect with their partner.
This can be done by pointing out a cute bird or a pretty sunset or interesting architecture.
Or even sharing a YouTube video with your partner and waiting for a response.
It may also be done by telling a brief and mundane story about a dog you saw on your walk to get your morning coffee.
The purpose is the same – one partner reaches out with the end-goal of receiving a response from their partner.
This works best if the recipient is equally as excited about seeing the parakeet, is enthused by the YouTube video, or enthralled by your tale of how you saw a fluffy Chow Chow on your morning walk.
If you can safely say that you and your partner respond to one another in these bids for connection with enthusiasm and interest, you can be sure that you’ve found someone good for you.
Gottman studied this concept and found a strong correlation between turn-towards bids (whereby your partner engages with your attempt to connect) and the longevity of marriage.
So even if you’re not interested in parakeets or YouTube videos of people falling over, consider your partner’s interests and continue embracing their attempts with open arms.
The more emotional connection, the better!
Oh no… I haven’t found the right person for me!
I’ve tried to tailor this article so as not to send you running back home to tell your partner/spouse that the internet said you guys weren’t a good fit – time to pack your bags and be on your way.
What applies to one couple won’t be relevant for another.
The key is that you both remain open and honest with your needs and expectations and remain willing to grow and learn about the other person.
No one can look into a crystal ball and assure you that you’re with your soulmate. And no, the online quizzes can’t be trusted.
But if you’re having some doubts, remember that it’s completely normal.
However, hopefully these 7 signs have slightly reassured you that you’ve found a good match, or helped you to realize areas in which you both need to do some work.