The idea of finding “the one” can be polarizing, especially when there are 7 billion unique individuals out there.
But no-one can deny the power of finding love—being with someone where it feels like they are a soulmate. Where life completely changes and you feel like you’ve met someone who completes you in a way no-one else can.
It’s incredibly special to find someone we believe is “the one”. But it’s also daunting.
What if you fall for the wrong person? What if this person isn’t actually “the one”, but someone who you’ll end up having a toxic relationship with?
Fear not. There are 14 early signs to look out for in a relationship to help you figure out whether you have met the one. I’ve curated these early signs you’ve met “the one” from some of the world’s top psychology experts. After these signs, I then share some practical strategies for finding “the one”.
Read on, and while you’re reading, keep on thinking about the special person you’ve recently met and whether they match these early signs.
What is a soulmate or The One?
Before we get to the clear signs to look out for, let’s first establish what we mean by “the one” or a “soulmate”.
Bestselling American author Richard Bach beautifully defines a soulmate as: “A soulmate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are.”
It sounds romantic. It is.
But many people have a rather one-way view of who “the one” should be—perfect.
Your soulmate is not someone perfect. Your soulmate is someone human, with flaws, weaknesses, and history just like you.
What makes a soulmate special, instead, is how much they add to your life. When you meet them, suddenly, you are more courageous, more accepting of who you are, more willing to take risks—as Bach says, they have keys that fit your locks.
How do you know if you’ve met The One?
According to eHarmony’s Chief of Advice, Jeannie Assimos: “When you’ve found The One, the relationship just flows. Things are fairly easy. You understand each other’s viewpoints and perceptions, and either accept them or feel the same way.”
There’s a feeling of experiencing more in your life. People often describe finding your soulmate like pieces are finally clicking together.
That’s because their appearance in your life changes all of your perspectives.
Psychotherapist and relationship coach Rachel Dack says: “Being in a relationship with the right person creates a different mindset than being chronically single or in a miserable relationship. There’s a natural adjustment in the way you think about the world as you transition from making individual decisions to joint decisions that involve compromise and taking your partner’s needs, wants, and desires into account.”
On the other hand, if you’re with someone you are constantly in conflict with, they’re probably not your soulmate.
Assimos explains: “If a relationship is characterized by conflict, strife or butting heads on a regular basis, that likely tells you the compatibility is not there.”
10 signs you’ve found The One
Let’s go more in-depth. Here are ten signs to look out for when you find the one.
1) You can be yourself with them
There is no clearer sign than this.
You’ve met someone truly special when you can be completely yourself with them—including the unglamorous, mundane versions of you.
Wedding officiant and author Rev. Laurie Sue Brockway says:
“Soulmates often feel a sense of the familiar and a sense of comfort around each other. Many people say it’s easier to relax into that person and allow themselves to be vulnerable.”
Couples are marginally happier when they can be absolutely themselves with each other.
According to Ohio State University professor Amy Brunell:
“If you’re true to yourself, it is easier to act in ways that build intimacy in relationships, and that’s going to make your relationship more fulfilling.”
No wonder why it’s so easy when you’re with The One, you don’t have to be anyone else but yourself!
2) Your goals and values are aligned
One of the major reasons why relationships don’t work out is because two people just have different goals and values in life.
When you’ve met The One, that won’t be the case.
A study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships suggests that we subconsciously look for partners who meet our initial “needs.”
People who are looking for short-term flings often find themselves attracted to someone opposite. Whereas people who want lifetime commitment are attracted to people with the same tastes, values, and goals.
Yes, you won’t be the same in every sense. But for the most part, you are both working towards the same thing.
You both want to establish a life together—a home, a project, or a family.
And while you have individual lives—careers, friends, and hobbies—you agree about one thing: Where your relationship is heading in the future.
3) You handle challenges in a mature and healthy way
Fights and disagreements are inevitable in relationships.
But you know you’ve found the one when you can go through arguments in a healthy way.
According to writer and sexpert Kayla Lords:
“Having an argument doesn’t mean a relationship isn’t solid or healthy or that it won’t last a long time. It’s about how that argument is made and how it gets resolved that matters most […] compromising where you can, and deciding what’s most important: finding common ground, or winning an argument.”
Arguments are normal. After all, you are both different people, even if you’re soulmates. But you handle challenges like you’re a team.
That makes all the difference.
4) You’ve overcome obstacles and adversity together
We all know that life isn’t kind to love.
Sometimes the timing isn’t right or there are too many obstacles stopping two people to be together.
But you know you’ve found The One when you’ve faced the worst adversities and came out as a stronger couple.
According to Rev. Brockway:
“Many couples I have married have overcome racism, cultural and religious challenges and/or critical families because they knew they were meant to be together. Their connection was so deep, even though they hailed from different worlds.
“Soulmates still have to pay the bills and deal with medical appointments. They raise kids, and experience the messiness of life and the realities of growing and growing older together. But people who see themselves as two connected souls tend to share a sacred bond.”
Real love means loving someone through the harsh realities of life.
5) You’re filled with gratitude for each other
You feel incredibly lucky to have found this person. And they feel the same way about you.
The reason why a lot of couples break up is that they forget to be thankful for one another.
You know you’ve met The One if they are clearly grateful for you—and they’re not afraid to show it.
According to certified counselor and relationship expert David Bennet:
“Gratitude is important because it enhances a relationship. Not only does research show that expressing gratitude makes people feel happier in general (which itself can have a positive relationship impact), but it has been shown to lead to longer-lasting and more committed relationships.
“It just makes sense that being appreciative of your partner, and expressing it, is important in the strongest relationships.”
You both recognize and value each amazing thing about one another. So every time you look at them, you can’t help but feel so grateful to finally find The One.
6) They challenge you like no one else can
This is not someone who is jealous of your success. This is not someone who pulls you back and makes you doubt yourself.
Instead, your soulmate pushes you to be the best version of you.
According to Kailen Rosenberg, founder of matchmaking firm The Love Architect says:
“A soulmate isn’t always wrapped in the perfect package, physically or in terms of life circumstances — nor does it mean that the relationship will come without challenge.
“Yet, the difference is that the life circumstances and the difficult challenges are a strengthening power that becomes the glue that keeps you together through the difficult times and helps each of you become your most authentic self.”
You know you’ve found someone unique and special when they have your back and works with you for your success as an individual.
7) You both understand love takes work
Here’s the thing:
Love takes work.
When you meet The One, everything will be instant, easier, sparks will fly.
But like all romantic love, the spark eventually fades—at least to a certain degree.
You still have an awesome connection, but you start realizing you’re different people, and that you constantly need to work on understanding each other.
According to psychologist Samantha Rodman:
“I believe in soulmates to an extent. When you meet someone that you just click with on many levels and things feel easy with them and you feel very happy and fulfilled, this can be a soulmate type of feeling. I don’t think there is only one; there can be many people in the world that you would click with if you met them.
“The limitations of this idea are mainly that people think they won’t have to work on their relationship if they met their soulmate. The truth is, no matter how happy you are or how compatible you are with someone, you will always have to be careful that you act lovingly and that you don’t begin to take your partner for granted.”
8) Suddenly, it’s all about “us” or “we”
You find yourself saying the words “us” or “we” a lot recently/
You’re no longer just thinking about yourself or your plans. Suddenly their opinions and plans count a lot, too.
According to social psychologist Theresa E DiDonato:
“Language is a secret window into how you perceive yourself in relation to others.
“People who are close use plural words like “we” more frequently in conversation than singular pronouns like “I” or “me.” The kinds of feelings that suggest love are likely accompanied by a tendency to use plural pronouns.”
9) You’ve found a home in them
Being around them gives you a sense of comfort and peace that you’ve never felt before. In fact, you may have started feeling this early on in the relationship.
It’s something hard to explain. But there’s a sense of being “home” when you’ve found your match. Life is easier when you know you’re part of a strong team. And though there are bumpy things ahead, you know that this home can’t easily be broken.
It doesn’t matter where you go or what you’re doing together. You can have fun and laugh at the silliest things, even when things don’t go your way. You don’t need to go out of your way to have excitement.
As long as you’re with them, everything is an exciting adventure.
10) You’re ready to make sacrifices for each other
It took so much for the two of you to finally find each other, that you know the gravity of what it means to actually be together.
This is why you’re ready to make sacrifices for each other. You both value each other, that you want to be able to make on another as happy as possible.
According to DiDonato, couples are more likely to go long-term if they’re ready to make sacrifices for their partner.
“Individuals who engage in costly commitment signals are more oriented toward a long-term relationship with their partner. Costly commitment signals are pro-relationship behaviors that require substantial sacrifice, perhaps in time, emotions, or financial resources—e.g., driving a partner to an appointment or giving a gift.”
Even as simple as accommodating your partner’s plans can mean a lot.
“Engaging in costly commitment signals is healthy for relationships, while the absence of these behaviors can damage the long-term stability of a relationship.”
11) You’re addicted to this person—in a good way
Love is a heady emotion. But this time, it’s different.
There’s an undeniable pull that makes you want to be with this person all the time.
That’s because your body is literally on a love chemical rush.
According to psychologist Gladys Frankel:
“The dopamine rush is experienced like a thrill, creating an intense experience like a craving. This is why someone might sit and think about someone constantly or sit in a meeting writing their name. It lights up areas of the brain that are similarly light up as an addiction.”
It doesn’t mean you’re a stalker. But you just can’t get enough of each other—in the best ways, of course.
12) You feel beyond loved
It’s love, but it’s absolutely more than that. Love isn’t just a feeling that gives you butterflies and sweeps you off your feet.
Real love makes you feel supported. It motivates you to become the best version of yourself. Real love inspires you to achieve greater things.
According to psychologist Traci Stein, oxytocin and vasopressin in our system enhance feelings of contentment and security. Once cortisol decreases, that’s when couples relax—giving off that “loved well” feeling.
“Even though most people become less ‘oogly-googly’ over time, they are also less up-and-down emotionally when the relationship is stable and enduring.”
13) You have insane physical chemistry
Aside from feeling this undeniable emotional and spiritual attraction, there’s also a tangible physical connecting with your soulmate.
According to clinical psychologist and relationship expert Dr. Carmen Harra:
“Holding the hand of your soulmate throws your spirit into a whirlwind, even many years into the relationship.”
Research says that sexual behaviors are a big contributor to relationship longevity. In fact, sex is apparently a mechanism that holds a couple together, especially in long term relationships.
It’s not everything.
However, a strong physical connection is something you can’t deny.
“Distinguishing between emotions that reflect passion versus the kind of love that creates a foundation for a long-term relationship is never easy, but research suggests that passionate love might become sustained love when it is accompanied by substantive compatibility, a supportive social network, and mutual commitment.”
14) There’s just a gut feeling that they’re “the one”
You just know.
Most of the time, it’s really as simple as that.
According to Rev. Brockway:
“There really is no guessing or wondering when the real thing comes along. There is usually a telltale sign that lets you know when true love has arrived -– a voice in your head, a sense of recognition or a gut feeling that this is someone special to you.”
It’s an incredible feeling of just knowing. This is your life partner, your teammate, and they’re in for the long haul, just like you are.
Author and dating expert Tracey Steinberg explains:
“No matter what happens in your lives, you both agree that you are teammates and in it together. Your inner voice tells you that you are in a healthy relationship. You trust each other, feel confident and comfortable around each other and feel safe discussing challenging topics in a mature way.”
You can’t explain it, but you can feel that you’ve met the one.
How to find The One
Here’s the truth:
You can’t “find” The One.
At least not in the typical sense.
The oddest thing is, it is often when you stop looking for love that it comes knocking on your door.
But there is something you can do to enhance your chances of finding true love:
Open yourself up to the opportunity, when the right person comes along.
Instead of actively searching for your one true soulmate, why don’t you focus on bettering yourself so that you’re ready when you encounter them?
According to psychologist and bestselling author Dr. Carmen Harra:
“No machine has been invented (yet) that can calculate your compatibility with other people and pinpoint who your soulmate is.
“Deep relationships are divinely inspired and for this reason, your best catalyst to a great relationship is your own energy: your thoughts, emotions, desire, and inner power.”
It’s no science, but you can do some things to hasten the process up.
Here are some tips that can help you attract your soulmate:
1) Believe that your soulmate is out there
Have you ever heard of the power of attraction?
The bottom line is:
You attract what you believe.
So if you don’t believe that someone is out there for you, then you won’t likely meet them.
According to Dr. Harra:
“If you’re skeptical that a love of these proportions can exist and are convinced that your only choice is to settle, you’ll never be shown otherwise. But if you acknowledge that there is a perfect person for you, the universe will reflect your beliefs.”
You don’t have to pine your life away. But at least be open to the possibility that there is someone out there who compliments you perfectly.
2) Stop the mentality that there’s always “something better”
This might sound counterintuitive, but listen:
If you keep searching for “something better out there,” you’ll never appreciate what’s in front of you.
The problem is: you believe you have infinite options. But that only stops you from recognizing a real thing when it hits you in the eye.
In fact, the more your choices are, the less you actually have. Psychologist Barry Schwartz describes this as The Paradox of Choice.
Don’t be confused, however.
It doesn’t mean you have to lower your expectations, it just means you need to be more flexible.
According to research professor Scott Stanley:
“When people search too little or too much, the search for a mate is likely to fall short of leading to a good match.”
“Commitment is making a choice to give up other choices. That’s the deal. Believing that you might have found perfection elsewhere—if you’d only searched a little more—will make it harder to commit to, invest in, and be happy with the person you married.”
3) Know what you deserve
The reason why people settle for less than they deserve is that they don’t believe they deserve real love in the first place.
But no matter what you look like, what you’re capable of, and no matter your past—you deserve a lasting and healthy relationship with someone good and kind.
According to Dr. Harra:
“In life, you never receive anything you don’t think you deserve; you block it subconsciously from happening. The first secret of people who seem to “have it all” is that they’ve recognized they merit all the good in this world. Well you do, too.
“You deserve not just any kind of love, but unconditional love. You are worthy of a partner who meets your every need, and you theirs.”
Are you ready to be your own person?
Someone who doesn’t depend on a partner? Someone who is completely happy and content with who they are?
The truth is, your relationships will always fail if you are not whole.
According to psychologist Ramani Durvasula:
“Sometimes I worry that when a person is on the search for a soulmate they are trying to fill an emptiness inside of them.”
A relationship is not a solution to your problem.
Only you can solve your issues.
Recent research actually shows that you don’t necessarily need a relationship to experience self-growth.
While you wait to meet the right person, focus on loving yourself first. Be someone healthy and empowered.
5) Trust your gut.
Our instincts are rarely ever wrong.
Yet, our human logic tends to dismiss it because it doesn’t make sense.
But when it comes to love, you should never ignore it. After all, meeting your soulmate is wrapped in a haze of magnetism and energy, not logic.
According to Dr. Harra:
“Soulmates communicate energetically, so if you’re intuitively drawn to a certain person or location, pursue your feeling. The same goes for the red flags you might pick up on when you meet someone: if it doesn’t feel right, it isn’t, no matter how many “excuses” the person provides.
“Allow your instincts to steer you clear of ill-intentioned partners and guide you towards a fulfilling relationship.”
Unrealistic expectations about love
The idea that there is only one soulmate for each of us is debatable to a lot of people.
Hollywood is certainly not helping.
The truth is, at some point, we all have unrealistic expectations about love and the ideal, perfect life partner.
And the whole notion of soulmates certainly doesn’t help.
According to therapist and author Michele Weiner-Davis:
“People leave relationships in search of that one person ‘they’re meant to be with.’ That’s a fantasy. There is no such thing.
“People are package deals. There will be aspects of each partner you love and aspects that will drive you crazy. You can trade one person in for a new and improved model, and after the newness wears off, you will be back at square one, needing to learn relationship skills to make love last.”
Yes, finding your one true love is something you should hope for.
As it is, too many people settle for mediocre and downright toxic relationships these days.
Don’t give up on your standards. But at the same time, manage your expectations about finding the right partner.
Life is not like the movies. Love is not all about grand gestures.
Ultimately, a soulmate or The One is simply someone who makes you better as a person. They’re not someone you need to feel complete.
But they add another dimension to your life that no one else is able to give.