Relationships

How Do You Know Your Partner Is the One?

kiss-at-door

We’ve talked about dating, heartbreak and what to ask before you get married. But lately, I’ve been ruminating over one question even Google can’t answer: How do you know when a relationship is right? (Yes, I typed that into multiple search engines, yielding many lists, but not much help.)

So I sought the counsel of committed friends (and some acquaintances, and a few strangers) and asked: HOW DID YOU KNOW? Was it a moment? A feeling? A decision? Some of their answers really surprised me…


We laughed at each other’s jokes.
“We had both recently read the same weird sci-fi book series. My husband always says that’s how he knew. I knew because no one had ever made me laugh as much as he did, and no guy had ever laughed as much at my jokes. We were each other’s ideal audience.” — Gemma

It was a choice.
“Maybe this is just semantics, but I say: Forget about ‘knowing.’ Perhaps some people experience that, but every time I thought I did, it turned out to be an illusion. It didn’t last. The difference with my wife was having that ‘knowing’ feeling, but also a feeling that together we could make a relationship that was the one. That would adapt to and incorporate us both changing. I feel like knowing who’s ‘the one’ is just as much a life choice as a love choice.” — Colby

How Did You Know Your Partner Was the One?

It felt inevitable.
“I met my husband on the Chinatown bus. I am normally SO shy about talking to strangers, so I had my earbuds in and my face turned to the window and my work in my lap — a wall around me. But he sat next to me, and somehow we ended up chatting without a pause from New York City all the way to D.C. I wouldn’t quite call it love at first sight, but rather this strong feeling of ‘but of course,’ or inevitability, but in a good way. I just had this instinct from that very first conversation that this person was going to be important in my life; that he was, well, the one.” — Laura

We became a team.
“I didn’t have one of those singular moments where a lightbulb went off. For us, we just went through the process of being together, until we gradually solidified into a team: Team Us, Team Weirdo, Team Let’s-Just-Stay-in-and-Watch-a-Movie. When we first started dating, we reveled in that blissful early stage — the one where you each see the other as beautiful, brilliant sex-deities and you become pretty sure that, before you met each other, you were just two zombie pod people wandering aimlessly through the world, waiting for soulmates to open their eyes and show them what it means to live? — and all of a sudden we were in love.

“Several months later, we reached that slightly less exciting, but much more comfortable (read: sweatpants) second phase of the relationship, the one where you realize you’re just two human beings trying your best despite numerous faults and shortcomings. We didn’t have a choice. We were a unit, and life has become an amazing, joyful, silly, scary, confusing, bittersweet thing for us to figure out together.” — Liz

He made everything better.
“Being with him felt like being on vacation from real life.” — Thérèse

How Did You Know Your Partner Was the One?

Everyone else knew.
“There was definitely a powerful feeling right away, and yet we didn’t get engaged for seven years. When my husband finally announced our engagement, his friend famously said, ‘Congratulations on not being the stupidest person on Earth.’ The point is, even if it’s clear to everyone else in your life, sometimes it’s hard for you to just know. Because it’s not so much a knowledge but a continuous process, choosing to share your life with someone, day after day.” — Jessica

It was never a question.
“Unlike my previous relationships, I wasn’t haunted by deeper, nagging questions of whether or not I wanted to be with him. Disagreements didn’t threaten to end in a breakup — it was always just assumed that we would keep going. Dating my husband was the only time I never saw the period at the end of the sentence.” — Megan

He made plans.
“My fiancé and I had been dating for a month when he told me, two weeks in advance, that he’d made reservations for Valentine’s Day. I was like, ‘He’s so organized, I love it. I’m definitely marrying this guy.’ ” — Ilene

I couldn’t imagine my life without him.
“In our twenties, after we’d been together for a couple of years, I considered whether we should take a Ross-and-Rachel-style ‘break’ so we could date other people and see who was out there. Or just to be out there. Not because I was getting bored — quite the opposite — but I was a little freaked out by the growing feeling I had that we might be together forever. The more I thought about it, I realized there was this choice: I could see other people, some of whom might be totally decent, and then go back to him, knowing with more certainty that he was the one OR I could see other people and never be able to get him back, because he could have moved on. Forever. The minute I gave those scenarios any thought, I knew I could never risk it. I remember welling up with tears just thinking about it. So that’s how I knew. By realizing I already had what I could never give up.” — Ruby

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I still don’t know.
“Describing the moment I realized my relationship was ‘right’ is impossible because there are days when I’m still not entirely sure. We’ve been together for eight years — through four apartments, two career changes and one wedding — and yet expressing authority on this subject isn’t something I do easily. Doubt is a part of life. I’m not sure you ever really know something as big as that.

“That said, I’ve always thought of love as an action, not a feeling. I believe in my relationship because of the small things we do for one another every day. Like yesterday, when my husband sent me a weird cat GIF at the exact moment I needed to laugh. Somehow, he just knew. I’ve never been a particularly romantic person, but that felt pretty special to me.” — Danielle

He was the nicest.
“With my fiancé, it wasn’t the crazy roller coaster I was used to. He was kind. For instance, very early in our relationship, he schlepped an air mattress all the way from the Upper West Side to my downtown apartment when my girlfriends were staying for the weekend. It wasn’t anything hugely significant, but I remember being surprised because all the previous jerks I had dated would never have offered. I just kinda knew this guy was a keeper.” — Danee

It was love at first sight.
“Funny, it’s hard to break down the feeling I had, the certainty, into words, because when I come up with a list of characteristics that ‘made’ me fall in love with her, it sounds like there could be a bunch of people out there who would fit the bill, but really, the first night we met, I just knew that she was the one. It was the energy. There was so much positivity flowing in both directions. I loved what she was saying, and how she was responding to what I was saying. We laughed so easily, we got each other. If I could have married her that first night, I would have.” — Alex

Everything felt okay.
“In a nutshell, soon after I met him, my whole life felt better. I started to see myself the way he saw me — I felt funnier, prettier, smarter. I was those things when I was around him. We brought out the best in each other. The minutiae of my day felt interesting and worth sharing. Nothing felt scary anymore. There was just this overwhelming sense that as long as this person was in my corner, everything would be okay.” — Eliza

How Did You Know Your Partner Was the One?


Unscientific as the business of love may be, I was amazed by the breadth of everyone’s responses. Indeed, talking to actual humans proved to be quite helpful. So I’d love to open up the floor for anyone who’d like to share their story…

Are you currently in a relationship? How did you know your partner was right — or not? Have you ever had doubts?

P.S. How to keep the sparks alive and 12 relationship tips from a wedding reporter.

(Top photo by Angie Royer; Tom Hanks & Rita Wilson at their wedding reception, 1988; couple on the beach via The Pie Shops Collection; stills from When Harry Met Sally)

  1. Leo says...

    I’ve found the “one” in a very unusual way. I’m 46 and my SO is 46 as well. I’m Originally from Uruguay, my mother was from USA, my dad from Argentina and my grand dad from UK. So, I’m a real mix.

    We moved to Mexico when I was 8 due to my dad’s job. When I was in Secondary school, out of the blue, I became one of the popular girls, I had the “handsome boys” after me…(this happened when I was around 11 to 14 years old). In my classroom there was a boy who was bullied all the time by all the other male classmates, because he was too short, very skinny, he wasn’t attractive at all and he had the looks of a 9 year old boy…. he was quite funny, but I ignored him. We spoke very little to each other, because our personalities at school were worlds apart. Then, after sharing three years in the same classroom, the school term finished and all the students moved on, some into new High schools, others to new cities etc… so, we stopped seeing each other.
    Anyway, moving forward in time, years passed and I moved to UK when I turned 27. I got married to an English man at 29, but we got divorced 7 years later. Two years after the divorce, I started dating a Danish man, but at the start of 2016, suddenly, through Facebook, a former female classmate, found me, and decided to create a group to try to find and reunite the Secondary school group where I studied in Mexico. I accepted the invitation and joined the group, but, because I was living so far away, I could only join them via Skype when they got the first reunion at the house of one of the classmates. Then, there is when I spotted the little boy who used to be bullied… but he had changed a lot; he was completely different, in a very positive way. We started chatting, via Skype of course, and we exchanged whatsapp, emails etc… This was in January last year (2016). In the same January, my relationship with the Danish man (after many years) started to crumble, actually it was never good, but I always thought that there was room for improvement, but it never happened. One day, the Facebook group decided to play a game, for fun-, so, there was a question for all: if you had the chance to marry anybody in the group, who could you have chosen? That was our opportunity to say it. Well, the “little boy” , let’s call him Jay, said that it would have been me, so I replied, just playfully, that it would have been him too. We got really surprised! After that day we started chatting about anything and everything, then, the daily calls started, (he is divorced), and slowly-slowly we started fell in love, actually very much. I broke up with the Danish man, then I decided to travel and visit my schoolmate in person … My… Oh my….! When I saw him, this was the first time in my entire life that I thought… “He is the one”! I cannot even explain it. And he thought the same! We fell in love even more, a lot, a lot more!! So, here we are now, he is travelling to Europe to visit me in February; I already know that he is going to propose, – and of course, I’m going to say YES-, …we have already talked about getting married at the end of the year! And I’ll have to move back to Mexico after living in UK 20 years…What I’ve found incredible, is that we are 100% compatible, and when I think back, when I was a little girl, I could have never guessed that I was going to finally find love at 46, 32 years later, with the little boy who was bullied by everyone at our school, whom I ignored at that time, but, that today, by life serendipity/chances, he is the love of my life and we love each other so, so much, I feel so lucky!

  2. Evita says...

    Before I married, I always thought I would have 2 marriage in my life. I don’t know why I thought like that, but I never dreamed about “the one”. And then I met my husband. I married him because I felt like he was the kind of person who could find solutions to everything, so I had no worries about our relationship, our marriage, our life, and the others. He was very positive and happy all the time, and he had the ability to make others happy. However, our relationship made me exhausted now. Our life changed a lot in the past 4 years. We moved to a new country, we worked on our Master degree(I already finished and he will finish soon), we have a 2 years old and I am 6m pregnant with our second baby. We moved from apartment to apartment and then to a house. I know we both experienced a lot of stress. We are out of our comfort zone I guess. I found out there were so much things he didn’t how to do, and how different we are when we deal with things we don’t know. And then we had different opinion about everything. We watched different movies. I read boooks, and he just watched “stupid” videos and twitters. We had no things to talk except taking care of my daughter together. And after many arguments, now everything we said to each other, we thought we were picking each other, we were hurting each other. I knew a lot of times we were just overreacting, but we couldn’t help thinking the worst of each other. He’s not happy. I’m not happy. And now I’m so tired that I’ll give up finding solutions.

    It’s so nice that I can take advantage of this article and write down so much my feelings, otherwise I have no one to talk to and even if there’s one I don’t even know where to begin. So life changes, maybe “the one” changes too. We just keep going with the choices lay in front of us.

    • Christina says...

      Oftentimes you see what you look for in someone. If you are always focused on the bad, you will see bad things. If you focus on the good, it will multiply.

    • Evita I think if you can, you should go easier on yourself and your relationship – A young child, studying, moving to a new place and being pregnant must be overwhelmingly stressful, and hard for your relationship to navigate. I say this not as someone who is an expert mind you, but just wanted to offer my words of comfort! Blog posts like this one, are inspiring and beautiful, and they can help you think about why you love your person and what is special about them, and that is lovely. But let’s be honest, they can sometimes be disconcerting too, and before you know it you are comparing yourself to everyone else and worrying something is wrong because you didn’t realise you wanted to marry your husband the night you met! They can make you feel like it is bad if your relationship has to be worked on, when personally I believe everything that is worth something needs to be worked for. I agree with you that we keep going with the choices in front of us, and I think that is what you need to remember! However stressed and tired you are, you can still make little positive choices, to be happier and healthier in yourself or in your relationship – whether that is trying to do one tiny kind thing for your other half every day, or even (or as well as) for yourself. Know that this was always going to be a hard time and it will pass and it will make you stronger – either as a couple, or as an individual or both. I once read in Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Planner (a book I wholly recommend) her grandparents secret to a happy marriage was one indoor game, and one outdoor game they shared together. Simple, but maybe effective. Good luck with your new baby, and I hope things get better.

  3. Katherine says...

    This Mary Oliver poem, ‘Not Anyone Who Says,’ has been the only way I’ve been able to put words to just knowing he’s the one.

    Not anyone who says, “I’m going to be
    careful and smart in matters of love,”
    who says, “I’m going to choose slowly,”
    but only those lovers who didn’t choose at all
    but were, as it were, chosen
    by something invisible and powerful and uncontrollable
    and beautiful and possibly even
    unsuitable —
    only those know what I’m talking about
    in this talking about love.

  4. Poppy says...

    Beautiful post, thank you for this interesting topic.

    I realize I am late but if anyone can read my post and share a thought, I would be more than happy. My partner and I ended last week our relationship after a little more than a year. We were both sure, from the beginning, that this was it. I am a 38 years old professionnal and he his 46. We aren’t kids. We are adults with life experience, able to recognize something good. I never waisted time in a wrong relationship. I always knew right away when someone was good or not for me and I quickly moved on. I feel so hurt and confused- how could I have been wrong for so long?

    A few months ago, we had a couple of his friends over for dinner at his place. While the guys were talking in the kitchen, his friend’s girlfriend casually mentionned his use of ritalin in order to control his ADD symptoms. I believe she assumed I knew but I didn’t. I pretended I did and switched topic. This came as a real choc to me since he never told me anything. I kept it to myself, ashamed that I had discovered something he obviously didn’t want to share with me. Later, I learned he visited a psychiatrist and had passed some tests. I also recently learned that he used to suffer from depression and took antidepressants a few years ago. So to me, it seems like he has history with this type of illness.

    Right now, is anxiety has reached the level where he can’t sleep until 4-5am, his mind racing and keeping him from sleeping. I made some research, called a few neuropsychiatrists, psychologists and ADD specialists in order to educate myself and understand the situation. Anxiety, among other, is a common symptom of untreated ADD. This past summer, he admitted he needed medication to control his anxiety but he never followed up. He dosent want to talk about it and I have to say, it makes me so uncomfortable to see how closed and awkward he his about this that I just shut down. Right now, most of his nights are spent on the internet and playing videogames.

    I’m not a doctor but I believe he might be slightly depressed at the moment. All this combined to not working (he quit is job to concentrate on becoming a full time artist- he can afforded, he is not being irresponsable), has no regular schedule, no self-accomplishment and feels guilty for wasting his time: nothing to do all day long and mostly, waking up at eleven or noon, if not later.

    I tried everything to talk with him, bring the topic while walking on eggshells, afraid of his reaction. I got nothing but anger. The only thing that soothes me is that now I know why he is sometimes so rude, overly excited and fidgeting, distracted, can’t keep focus when I talk to him, loses track of time, loses his keys and wallet almost everyday, is always late everywhere to a point where everyone is annoyed at him, loses his temper, is often very emotional and dramatic, often exagerates, etc.

    He always accused me of being impatient with him- when I am a very patient, loving and caring person. I am not perfect, I have my wrongs and I did lost patience at times but over his reactions towards me reacting to is reactions- never over his symptoms. This even when I had no idea what was going on.

    I truly and deeply love this man. I would have done anything for him. I was entirely commited and dedicated to him but no relationship can bloom if there is no trust. I feel like he was hiding from me this part of him that left me hurt and confused as I couldnt understand his behavior and somehow, his immaturity.

    I became sad and drained over time, even frustrated. I never understood why: I was gradually changing for a bad version of myself. Everywhere else, at work, with friends, with strangers in the street I was the sweet person everyone likes. But together, we would fight over the most ridiculous things. His behaviour, without knowing what it was, was triggering an unhealthy dynamic between us.

    I was using all my sickdays from work and my weekends to be by his side and take care of his 87 yard old mother. I was trying to built a healthy routine for meals, sleeping, etc so he would feel better. All this without knowing about his ADD. I often felt lonely, unloved and misunderstood without being able to put a finger on the reasons for such peelings- with a man who, I known did loved me. The relation was amazing on so many levels but something was dragging us down. I played videogames 3 hours each evening just because I read recently ADD’ers brains feel good about it. I climbed mountains, went for 8 hours hacking rides, finally understood his need to be hyper active. I was interested in him and everything he liked- with very little return but I didn’t mind too much, as long as he was happy. There is nothing I woulnt have done for him.

    The too many arguments drained us. I would never have left this relation (it was a mutual split but i initiated. He said he wants me to make efforts and that I should chase him for the hurt I caused him) if only he acknoledged that he has a problem and took care of it- but he seems to be in complete denial. He claims he only went to a psychatrist to get ritalin for his jet lag whenever he was traveling. That he has no idea why his friend told me about that, that she invented or that I didn’t understood what she meant. He is very mad at her, saying no real friend would say such a thing that could harm your relationship (when it’s not, his reaction his). He asked me what more did she said or talked about which leads me to think there is more to the story.

    I care for him. I am deeply sadened that he is 46 years old, never married, has no kids, no family, no sibblings, no real friends close to him. I thought I could bring him the love, structure and stability that he seems to lack but I failed. He is alone. If we didn’t work, I love him enough that I want him to take care of himself and be better later with someone else. To be honest about who he is because no decent woman will accept to live this life.

    Ending this relationship is the hardest thing I had to do. We wanted to built a life together, get married and have a family. We both couldn’t stop crying. We both had found the love of our life and it’s over. I can’t believe it. ADD would never have been an issue to me. He could have missed a leg or an arm, I would have love him the same. As wounded as I am- and have been for a while- a part of me is relieved. At least, I no longer have to deal with frustration, sadness and mostly, denial.

    He started making some amazing changes and I saw his efforts this past month since the Fall but we had one last major fight about his ADD (me saying he was denying it, he telling me I was only trying to explain my ‘impatience’ towards him by justifying myself with his non existent ADD). Sometimes, he admits he has it. Others, he says he dosent. It’s insane and really confusing. We can’t even use the word ADD when we talk; he is incapable of pronouncing those words. I am often left wondering about myself: am I really inventing this story?!

    If someone can tell me why do I still have the feeling in my heart that he is my person when obviously, we couldn’t make the relationship work would be appreciated. I am shattered.

    Happy Holidays and may you all be blessed xo

    • Alexia says...

      I want to prelude this with the fact that I am much younger than you and have never had a serious romantic relationship before. However, I’ve managed to grab some granules of advice from others and various life experiences.
      Anyways.
      While I have no answers for you, I will say this: you are the only person who can truly know if this relationship is the “one”. If you hestitate in thinking, yes, he is the one for me, chances are he probably isn’t. Just trust your gut. Sometimes things don’t work out. A relationship is about more than love–you may love someone, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend the rest of your life with them.
      If you can, it might be a smart decision to seek professional counseling.
      xoxo

    • Kerri says...

      I’m so sorry you’re feeling this way. I experienced a similar situation with my last boyfriend (though not quite as intense with the outright denial). It is so frustrating and so, so unfair to feel like you are doing everything right yet somehow you’re still the one who ends up in tears, questioning everything about yourself.

      When mental illness is involved, the “rules” go out the window — everything gets turned upside down. And that’s not his fault, but it certainly isn’t yours either; and the fact that you feel relief having ended it is a HUGE signal. It sounds like you don’t need him the way that he needs you – and while that’s truly unfortunate for him, you do not “owe” him anything. Sounds like you have done more than anyone else in his life has done to care for him. You owe it to yourself to look out for yourself, your own mental health, and your own feelings.

      I decided to end things with my ex because I had that gut feeling deep down that Alexia mentions in her comment. Sometimes it gets buried under sadness, under the crushing weight of heartbreak, under fear of loneliness and fear of losing a best friend. But for me, that gut feeling was there – and from what you’ve written, it sounds like it is for you, too.

      Of course, having that gut feeling doesn’t mean that this will be any easier to get over (Isn’t it crazy how much power one person can have over another, without even trying?!). But, know that people break up every day. And if it was easy, even MORE people would break up when they should. You’re brave for standing up for yourself, and this, too, shall pass.

    • Rosie Stephenson says...

      You must be so tired, so heartbroken. I am so sorry.
      As one of the previous commenters noted: when mental illness, addiction, are involved, everything else goes out the window.
      I’m older than you, I’m 55. Twice married. My first husband has Aspergers, my second was an narcissistic addict. I am currently dating a guy with Aspergers and feel the familiar feelings of isolation, sadness, confusion, disappointment, arising in me again…
      You love the man. You’re committed to his peace, contentment. You know that love means you don’t bail when illness happens. But….if you continue to invest, love and care for this man? You will absolutely continue to pay a heavy emotional, spiritual, financial and physical cost.
      I’m so sorry… I send you warmest wishes, love, hugs. Please be kind to yourself.

    • Poppy says...

      Dear Alexia,
      Dear Kerri,
      Dear Rosie,

      Thank you, each of you, for your kind words. You have no idea how footing it feels to read you in this moment.

      Let’s hope that 2017 will be a better year.

      I wish you all the best, all the health, love and success in the world. To you and your loved ones. Peace and quiet.

      Happy New Year :-)

  5. Tricia Bates says...

    I knew I was in love with my college boyfriend when he brought a contact case for me on our spring break. He didn’t want me to have to sleep in my contacts when I slept over on the trip (I was staying in a separate house). He had actually thought ahead. I was smitten.

    The current boyfriend and I have been together 4 months. We haven’t used the L word yet. But I think we will. And when I look back on it, I think I’ll remember the moment I knew as when I asked him to bring me medicine when I was sick – and instead he showed up with a full get better package with water, medicine, food, and chocolate for when I felt better.

  6. Cait says...

    I met my now husband while I was day drinking with some friends at their apartment, which he happened to be moving into. I’m not very much of a drinker and I don’t know why none of us weren’t at work, but he didn’t seem to think any less of me for it and we all decided to go see a foreign film the next day. Only he and I showed up. I remember walking back to his apartment, which was only a block from mine, in late afternoon sunlight. I can’t remember what we were saying, but I remember looking over at him and thinking to myself how easy and natural it felt, that I could do this for a long time. Then I freaked out and banished the thought. After four months of pretending to be just friends who did things together 5 nights a week, we finally started calling it dating and three years later got married. We still like to go on early evening walks, when all of the old couples in the neighborhood are out. I still think to myself, I could do this for a long time.

    • this is so sweet and I don’t even care I’m commenting months later.

  7. Deniece Williams says...

    I am here sitting on my bed and still in the same space I was since I was 16 years old ‘Is there soulmates?’ Now 30 married with 2 children I still don’t know what to believe as I struggle with that question everyday. Let me write in honestly and not in pure frustration as I think at this point as I could quickly say I hate my husband it would be in pure frustration. But I don’t know if he is the one or anythinh I ever dreamed off. All I wanted was for someone to understand me fully, be my best friend, help me to silly so we can share some weird but funny moments. Let me laugh from my heart my inner being, let me not to worry about a thing once he is there my mind would be complete. And yes the list may go on and on but my husband is far from this. He doesn’t remember the simplest of things like when we first met yet he says he love me. I wish I didn’t marry him I wish I had waited for probably that special love. I am here so confused I feel like I just want to hide far far a way. I cry day and night blaming myself for making that stupid mistake of marrying this guy actually of just being with him. I wish I could go back to the start. I hurt everyday as I now have to suffer this pain of making the wrong decision for a lifetime. I want out. How do I get out? He is not a bad person but just not the person I want to be with forever. It is so confusing I can’t even think at times. I just want to be happy by not asking myself these questions if I am with the right guy I just want to know I am with the right guy.

    • Misty says...

      Chances are, he is feeling exactly the same way. If he really loves you though, he is willing to be adaptable. Have you spoken with your husband about how you feel? I’m not suggesting you outright tell him you think marrying him was a bad choice, but opening the lines of communication back up may help you remember what it was that made you want to marry him in the first place. If it is too scary to try and breach such a difficult topic with a conversation, maybe you should try writing him a heartfelt letter. Writing a letter gives you more time to really think about what it is you want to say, it allows you to erase the parts that are unkind or said out of an emotional response, and with a letter you can proofread what you are trying to communicate multiple times until you are certain you are expressing EXACTLY what you need to get off of your chest.

      There was a reason you got with this guy in the beginning, and life sometimes gets so complicated its easy to lose sight of your true self and get lost in the relationship. Finding your way back to who you are as an individual and rediscovering what it was that drew you to your husband in the first place is the most important step to finding happiness in your current relationship instead of just giving up under all of the stress and pressure and trying to start over with someone else.

      If you are this unhappy in your current marriage, do you honestly think that someone else can/will fulfill the needs that aren’t currently being met? Have you tried taking steps to help him help you feel more fulfilled? Have you considered all of the pros and cons of staying together vs separating? And, the most important question, do you still love and trust him?

      Marriage counseling may seem a little old fashioned to some, but sometimes having an outside perspective that gets an intimate view from both sides of the table can be helpful in not only figuring out where it went wrong but working toward getting back to a happy place together.

      I wish you the best of luck in your love endeavors and hope that, regardless of what you decide to do, you always try and find your own happiness because nobody can be expected to make us happy if we can’t make ourselves happy first.

    • Deniece Williams says...

      Thank you so much for sharing so genuinely on my situation. But you know I have tried doing some of the things you have suggested such as writing to him and expressing my feelings. This I have done so many times in so many different ways, such as via letter and phone texts.

      We have been together since I was 19 years old and he is 12 years older than I am. We have now been married for 10 months, a marriage I think I wanted more than he even though he proposed three years before the wedding on his own. I just don’t know, he gives me mix feelings I think sometimes he brings out the worst in me you know. One minute I hate him and the other I love him. But, funnily I start feeling more of the hate these days than love. As a matter of fact I think hate is just a strong word let me say I love him but feels as if I am not in love with him anymore. Not sure if I am clear.

      He has been away for work purposes for the last 7 months and if I call him and just wanna hear is voice. He sometimes tell me to allow him to miss me so he can call too. Then I felt so heart broken as all I want is to hear is voice. So I stopped calling for a while and when he asked what’s the matter I texted him and tell him for the umpteen times how deeply hurt I was about our relationship as he can be so cold and selfish at times. He apologized for the umpteen time and said he wants me to be happy and the kids and I mean the world to him and he will do all which is right just to make me happy and that he wants to change. This I hear so very often. Now, from the last couple of days I haven’t called him I just give him space, yesterday he just sent a wattsapp message to say hi and that he was ok and at a wedding. I replied and that was that. I realized he had been on wattsapp until night with no more messages to me so I didn’t bother to ask. The following morning saw a wattsapp message asking me how I was so I replied and ask how he was, then he said he wasn’t feeling well he had a headache. I gave my sentiments and told him to take something for it. That was that until 2 hours after I realized he still has been on wattsapp but not messaging me. I don’t know if I am wrong to feel this way but its something he does very often, and I wondered if a pure man who loves his wife so much wouldn’t even want to hear her voice the last thing before he goes to bed and the first thing when he wakes being that he is a away? Theses are some of the things I have to go through and put up with. Sometimes I wonder if it is the age difference as most times when we are having a conversation it’s just limited to how are you and the kids nothing else. We hardly share laughter there is nothing common in our relationship and that’s just sad. I tried finding stuff for us to do, encouraged counselling or even do online research on how to build or reignite our relationship. I even send him information from online relationship sites but he never look it up or read about it or even care.

      I really just don’t know what to do anymore my relationship is VERY BORING and I really don’t like that.

    • L says...

      Hey girl. I know you posted a month ago, but I just saw your comment and it reminded me of a situation I was in a while back. I had been dating someone for ten years, and like you, never felt “sure” of it. We had a lot of issues, but the relationship felt passable and brought me comfort some of the time, but ultimately I felt stuck and unhappy.
      I started seeing a therapist to try to figure out my confusion about whether I really wanted to even be with this person I thought I loved. Therapy helped me a great deal. There is not much you can do to influence your husband to be different, but examining what it is you can control, what it really is you want deep down, is a difficult but ultimately really really important thing to address. You may decide to stay, but you want to feel like you are choosing to stay, and you want to be able to explain to yourself why. You want to feel good about the choices you’re making for yourself.
      I ultimately decided to leave my relationship, and found someone else, who every day makes me feel loved, and every day I feel certain of how much I care for him. I wouldn’t worry about the age difference. I was dating someone my own age before who neglected me in the way you’re describing, and now am with someone much older who texts/calls all the time. It’s like night and day, and I am sure if I had stayed where I was, I would have been wondering, like you, for a long, long time.
      Best of luck. I’m rooting for you! XO!

    • Cara says...

      Maybe read the book Men are from Mars Women are from Venus?

    • Rachel says...

      I’m sorry you feel like this. Someone’s writing that really helped me through some tough times is the therapist Sheryl Paul on her site conscious-transitions. I wish you the best of luck whether you decide to stay or go x

  8. Nia says...

    Wow, everyone’s stories are so beautiful and heart-warming. I’m currently at the young age of 18 and I’v been dating this guy for about 7 months now. The first conversation we had was like talking to someone i’d known all my life. We had managed to tell each other our deepest, most personal secrets within a couple hours. Afterwards, I remember thinking “something special had just happened.” Since that conversation, we’ve talked everyday for 7 months. He answers my questions before I even get the chance to ask them. He knows me so well for the short amount of time that we’ve been together. The way he looks at me when he thinks I can’t see him gives me an indescribable feeling. He broke down every single wall without an ounce of effort. He is by far the sweetest and most kind-hearted person I’v ever met and being with him feels so natural. I can’t help feeling like I’v already met the love of my life. I hope he’s my one and only.

    • Michaela says...

      Hi :) I’m also 18 and have been with my current boyfriend for 2.5 year now. We’ve been through a lot of bad stuff mostly when we were so young – like at the age of 16. But we’re happy now, have been living in a dorm together since September and I hope this is just a beginning of our story :)
      I’m wishing you to have the relationship like all these people in the comments :)
      Just don’t forget about those special days you wrote about ’cause that’s really important. :)
      Best of luck,
      Michaela xx

  9. Tab Phillips says...

    I watched him for a year and a half. we worked at the same place. I was an employee and he was a sub contractor. The days I didn’t see him, I wondered about him and his daily routine and if he would show up that day to the store. He was not my “type”. He was nothing I had “envisioned” and dated in the past. He smelled good too. I just continued to ask that higher power “how will I know?”. No answer. One day, I ran into him and one of his friends and he introduced me as “someone he would ask out if she didn’t have a boyfriend” and thats when I knew. “I don’t have a boyfriend” was all it took!

  10. Shelley says...

    The last man I fell in love with brought me to my knees. I would have jumped through hoops of fire to please him; how he thrilled me so. But he was a messed up divorcee with a free schedule and an appetite so you can guess how it turned out. Yep, I tripped on one of those hoops and was incinerated.
    The next man that came along was quirky, and funny and thought I was hilarious so I accepted second and third dates and six months down the line I keep accepting his calls. For a long time I thought ‘ yeah he’s lovely, but I dunno. ‘ I just didn’t feel that FIRE. I wasn’t sure. I thought he wasn’t sophisticated enough. You know, he had a few little mannerisms that were not City, definitely Country. I thought I saw myself and my future differently.
    Like Boston Ivy he has been slowly colonising. He started around my humour, proceeded to my appetite and is now closing around my heart. He’s the sweetest. His kindness and generousity are boundless. As a lover, voracious. And he is offering me the things I want without a discussion about them, it seems he knows or is on my wavelength. It is said you never expect the person you fall in love with. There was no crazy fire, no out of breath-walking on sunshine-outrageous joy but the quiet way in which he has made himself known and open to me is all the sureity I need.

    • Nadia says...

      This. This is incredible and so true. Sparks dissipate, but with the right kind of nurturing, a slow building fire roars endlessly. Love this!! Thanks for sharing. :)

  11. Alyssa Leister says...

    I’m in an interesting place right now. Within the last month, I was connected with someone who just moved from my hometown area to where I currently live. We were connected and instantly hit it off in a “we want to spend every day together, eating and laughing and talking” kind of way.

    We spend most evenings together, doing everything from cooking together to watching Dexter (his suggestion, my new addiction), to shopping for his apartment together. Every single moment is precious and I feel more content and more joy than I have ever felt with any other person. No amount of time feels like enough.

    The to-do list of things for us to see/do/cook/eat in our city grows and it’s the kind of list that I never want to end. I’d love for that list to grow forever, and at some point, for him to realize that he’d rather do life with me than without me. Because that’s how I feel about him. And how, if we were to end up together, I’d point to as the way I knew he was the one.

  12. Thank you for some really good advice!!❤👌

  13. I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of “the One” and love to read and hear about people’s experiences. I often wonder if there’s any way to tell since I’ve had so many unique and special initial relationship moments with people, even if the relationship itself turns out to be not so great.
    My last boyfriend I thought was the One. We were friends and colleagues first, so while it was scary, the transition to couple felt inevitable. Our communication, our sense of humor, our passion for friends, family and creativity seemed on point. There was no drama, no chase, everything felt so easy, which was different for me. I come from a history of relationship dysfunction and violence, both in my life and my family, and this ex opened me up from that. Because it felt easy and passionate and so different from previous relationships, I thought he could’ve been the One.
    In the end his lack of honesty with himself and me about what he wanted would break us up.
    Since then I’ve focused a lot on the idea of choice and compatibility. It’s impossible for two people to be perfect for one another but there’s a possibility two people could find a love worth CHOOSING every day, even when things get hard. Mix a sense of humor and honesty in the mix and maybe that’s how you know.
    Despite what I’ve been through in my past and this relationship I feel confident love exists because I’ve felt it before. I’ll always be a sucker for romance, and these stories are no exception.

  14. Theo Matta says...

    Fairly confident this is unheard these days but my husband and I knew after just six weeks of dating. We married a year later and have just celebrated our 40th anniversary.

  15. Jessie says...

    I knew after three months of long distance dating he was the one. There was no drama, no games with him. I couldn’t understand why. Wasn’t there suppose to be? Oh wait, he’s just a nice guy. He also truly like me and all my little quirks. It was a gut feeling for me. I just knew. We’ve now been married for 11 years and have three girls.

  16. Sam says...

    I didn’t realize this right away, but thinking back to it made me realize he is the one. First off, I am most generally quiet around people unless I’m really close to them. Well when he picked me up for our first date, right away I started talking to him like I knew him my whole life. We just clicked. I have been with him for two years now. He is definitely the one.

  17. Fannie says...

    When I met my Sam, he spoke and he melted my heart in a way I just knew I will never ever have to search or be lonely again.

  18. Jaimie says...

    I was always looking for the a husband and a soulmate my whole life and always pictured that it would happen after high school, but as the years went on I started to doubt there was someone special for me. I had all this love to give but I kept getting hurt over and over again. I had always had long distant relationships that never went anywhere and never even met any of my boyfriends in person. I shared a emotional and mental connection but not a physical one. I was always very uncomfortable in meeting men in person and was self conscience but when I was online I was sexy and confident. I went through 13 years of pure hell to find the man of my dreams. I literally been on every dating website you can imagine and searched thousands of profiles. I dated some but they always lived in another state. I started to search locally one night I was heart broken and felt so used by one guy after another. I felt so emotionally drained it felt like my heart was black and blue from the pain. I cried out many times before that night but I suddenly felt like that night my prayer was answered and that I would find my true love finally. I thought it be a good idea to delete my profiles and try to meet men in person, I wanted to open myself up to dating some guys in person. However I felt if I did that it would be wasting their time and mine. That day I went online and went on my POF profile. I had gotten some messages and was messaging several guys back it forth. I then decided okay am just going do one more good search and see if there is anyone out there. Then it happened I stumbled upon this guys profile and decided to shoot him a message. I said hey there would you like to chat? He responded immediately and we exchanged numbers. He called me immediately and I was hesitate to pick up I been so hurt but this guy deserved a chance. Am glad I answered that phone because that was my soulmate on the other line! I knew he was the one because I instantly felt a connection like we were in person talking..
    We immediately were flirting around and started texting later that day.
    I decided after talking to him later that night that he was everything I was looking for! I then decided to delete all my profiles and I choose him over another guy I was talking to previously. I believe I made the right decision. One thing that was extremely important to me is that he was Catholic like me so when I found this out it made me very happy.
    It was so hard for me to find a another Catholic to date so I knew it was God. The reason he is so amazing is that he loves my body and accepts me for who I am. He has never been offended about what I said and has helped me to be more open and accepting of myself.
    So the story is just beginning on Friday we are going meet in Vegas.
    That is where he lives which is only 2 and half hours from me. We been talking for 2 weeks once Friday roles around. We decided to get physical because its something I never had! Am 29 still and a virgin who has never been kissed. Am not ugly am extremely attractive but I was picky and wouldn’t just date anyone. So it feels amazing that am going give my virginity and first kiss to the right man and my soul mate. I don’t want to wait and he doesn’t either. Its something we both want and desire. I love him and I know he feels the same for me and we will be getting married very soon.
    Am excited to spend the rest of my life with him and make him my husband. He was worth all the heart ache, pain and brokenness because the first time we talked I felt it! I knew he was the one for me and am more happy then I ever have been! True love is out there, you just need to wait for the right person and please pray to God because He loves you so much and wants the best for your life and wants you to have something that will last a life time! I never thought it would happen and had so many doubts but God had a different plan in store and I thank Him everyday for the love of my life!

    • Jaimie says...

      I also wanted to say am moving to Vegas! :)
      To be with my sweetheart

    • Lindsey says...

      I would love to hear an update Jamie!

  19. Amy says...

    In retrospect, I knew the moment I first met him (and he says that he knew when first saw me days before). I didn’t realize I had done it, but I had pushed those feelings aside. It wasn’t until a year later that I saw him again and felt like I was going crazy.

    Then, it was about a month later that he said something that mirrored my own life so well that I realized what all the feelings meant. That was a ver clear sign from the universe that hit me in the head and said, “this is the only guy for you.”

    Also, everyone else seemed to think we were a couple before we had even kissed – We are each other’s missing piece and I don’t know how I could live without him in my life in some way.

    Of course, life has other plans for everything and several years have passed since we both realized we were meant for each other and were still not “together.” Someday, I know it will happen though because there is no way in hell the two of us can exist in this crazy world and not wind up together!

  20. Thank you for sharing other experiences in this post — so nice to see the different dynamics. I can definitely say that my boyfriend feels like a vacation from the real world… It was strange the first time we met, because when I was introduced to him, I could tell immediately that he was a sweet, good person. I also made a comment to his best friend (my brother-in-law) that, “man, Jason’s cute.” I knew something was up, because I had always been attracted to a certain “type” (skinny, long dark hair, beard), and Jason was the total opposite — bald, blue-eyed, and very muscular. I, of course, had doubts in the beginning, mostly because my family was totally bitter and hostile (and unnecessarily angry… tossing clothes on the floor angry) at me for being with a non-Assyrian. I also had preconceived notions of what would be my ideal man, and I battled with the fact that Jason was different from that. It then hit me three months into our relationship that a college degree, a nice beard, and a hipster/vintage fashion sense would not fulfill me at the end of the day. All of that doubt really shadowed the amazing person in front of me, and once I let it go, I could see clearly that we could be for each other, and that it would be an exciting effort.

  21. Jessica says...

    So lovely to read all the comments! I really feel the love. I met my boyfriend on a website, we started chatting and I liked talking to him since I had just gotten out of a relationship which wasn’t very good for me,so I was very sad and needed someone to talk to. We met and I liked him. We kept on seeing each other and I really wanted his company, though I was very clear in my statement that I did not want a romantic relationship with anyone, because I was so heartbroken. For some reason, he accepted that and we stayed friends for many months, having so much fun, laughing and quoting lines från the LOTR-movies. I felt really safe with him and was always happy whenever I was with him. After a while I started looking at him in another way. Suddenly I saw that he was beautiful. He was kind, so funny and he cared about me. The more time we spent together, the more I fell in love with him. I asked him if he wanted to have a relationship with me (finally, according to him he was waiting, hoping that I one day would say those words) and he said yes. We’ve been together ever since, it’s soon a year now and I love him more than anything. He is my best friend and it is so easy being with him. I am just me, and I feel strong, happy and still I feel so safe with him. I trust him and I can’t imagine my life without him. I’m 20 and I want to marry him when the time is right. I just know it. Though I’m young… He is all I ever wanted and everything I will ever want.

  22. Annie says...

    The next one should be “how did you know he WASN’T the one?” then the next one, “How did you get through the hard times?” I see in everyone’s responses a similar feeling, people are more drawn to the posts about people who went through the hard times and came out the other end, either together, or apart, but still, they got through it somehow.

  23. I knew my girlfriend was The One since before the beginning. I don’t really know how to explain it except to say that, just as when the nurses tell you during your first pregnancy that “you’ll just know” when real labor has started, you JUST KNOW.

    I wrote a whole post about how I just knew: http://www.kelseyespecially.com/2014/07/the-one/

  24. I found this post via Nubby Twiglet’s blog and it was wonderful to read. I’ve just split up from my boyfriend of 18 months, I love him very deeply but it is not an easy relationship for either of us. We are trying to work things out.

    I hoped he would be the one but was/am unsettled by the not knowing for both of us, and the fact that while there is so much love, there is also so much conflict.

    It’s easy to get swept up in the “you’ll just know” and “it’s so easy when you find The One” sentiment, but it has been so unbelievably reassuring to read so many posts from the “it’s hard work” side of the fence.

    I am particularly heartened by the thought of Choosing and will be thinking about this a lot.

    Thanks for such a fantastic, helpful, thought-provoking post.

  25. Liz says...

    I knew my husband was “the one” very early in our relationship. He showed me how to live for the moment! We complement each other in so many ways, and I wouldn’t want to navigate through life without Pete at my side. I did not fully understand the true meaning of “soul mate” until we met. We feel lucky in love and we’re blessed to have the life we created together!

  26. This is a wonderful post and I wanted to keep reading. Every section made me smile, they were just infused with so much optimism and certainty. I loved it.

    I have just split up from my fiance. It was absolutely, 100% the right thing to do and reading this post made me realise that again and again and again and in every line. A relationship will inevitably go through challenging times but the relationship shouldn’t be a constant challenge a constant subservience and suppression of feelings and thoughts for fear of the response (disapproving, sometimes angry).

    THank you again for such a great blog post.

    • Grace says...

      Hi Pen. Your reply rely struck a chord with me. Tough times in my relationship right now and “the relationship shouldn’t be a constant challenge a constant subservience and suppression of feelings and thoughts for fear of the response (disapproving, sometimes angry).” resonated. My husband is wonderful and loving but sometimes I feel like I’m not allowed to have a voice.

  27. Amy says...

    I knew that my husband was the guy to marry because marriage/being committed/moving in together/having a baby etc etc with HIM didn’t scare me. Everything before him was terrifying. The questions, the timings, the fear…none of that was there with my husband. To say our relationship is ‘easy’ makes it sound like we’re lethargic and take each other for granted, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s easy because we make each other happy, and we both put more effort into that than anything else. He makes me happiest when he brings me a cup of tea in the morning. He doesn’t drink tea or coffee. That’s true love.

  28. Wow all of the answers were so sweet! My boyfriend and I met during my first weekend at college. I was so shy and had a hard time talking to strangers, and even though he is an extrovert, we hit it off right away. We could not stop talking and hanging out until we started dating two months later.

    Meet Me in Midtownn

  29. Tanya B says...

    I’m still in the beginning stages of a relationship. We are still getting comfortable with each other, and that is fine. The funny thing is, I’m pretty certain that he is the man I want to marry, and I have known it since our second date. Everything I learn about him just confirms that.

    On our second date, we went on a hike at a local park. In the process of talking and sharing, he told me about the time he went on a 14 mile hike in the Rockies. He went with a group that included his boss and his bosses young kids. Of course, the kids pooped out pretty early on in the hike. He then carried one of them on the rest of the hike. When it finally sunk in that this was the kind of man who was so unselfish and kind to carry a small child that wasn’t even his for miles , I knew I wanted to have his babies, which led me to the conclusion that I wanted to marry him.

    I haven’t told him yet, but maybe I’ll eventually screw up the courage to tell him. :)

  30. Such a sweet post! I love how everyone describes their relationship- so beautiful, humble and honest.

    I’ve been in commited relationship for five years and we’re getting married this year. We never asked each other about “the one”. When you know, you don’t need proof or reason, you just simply know. I know he’s “the one” that I want to spend the rest of my life with and I know he’s “the one” that I want to share my dreams with. Again, you just know it. (:

  31. Sophie says...

    I’ve only been with my partner 4 months but i know he belongs in my life because he does the tiny things that other guys missed.
    At the end of our date nights, we would walk back to the underground together to go our separate ways and just before we reached the entrance he would say “let’s walk to the next station” just so we could spend an extra 10 minutes together, we never want the night to end, sometimes we walk an extra 2 or 3 stops. This I have never encountered before him! I hope he is the one <3

    • Julie says...

      Hi Sophie, It’s now the 3 may 2016, and I am so moved by your post, I really wonder where your relationship is now, are you still together? Still walking extra stations?

  32. Natalie says...

    My fiance and I are getting married in October, so this feels very timely. Thank you for this post!

    I didn’t “know”. I do now, of course, but I didn’t “know” for a good long time at the beginning of our relationship. We were casual friends first and for the first three or four months of dating I maintained a very “if it works out, great… if not, no biggie” attitude.

    After discovering that we both love hiking and being outdoors, he planned a backpacking trip for just the two of us about six months after we started dating. I remember very vividly having the thought of “Oh, wow. I’m falling for this guy. There are going to be a lot more backpacking trips in our future.” And there have been and will be.

  33. Annie says...

    I wonder how much of a relationship feeling ‘right’ boils down to right timing.

    I would be fascinated to hear the answers to similar questions but centered specifically around timing…

  34. Emmanuella says...

    Haha, on my laptop, I saw that picture of Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson from the waist up as I was reading one of the anecdotes and thought to myself “Wow, Rita Wilson has a surprisingly beautiful and contemporary wedding dress for it being the 80s”! Then I scrolled down, saw the bottom half of the dress and said “whoops, nevermind” :)

    I loved reading these, especially the one that said “forget about knowing- it’s a choice” and also the one talking about it being a process. Thanks for compiling!

  35. Irene says...

    A really huge thank you for this article! All of the stories are so sincere and lovely, I’m just so touched… Thanks again!

  36. Things were so good with my now-husband that I eventually started a business helping other people find love via online dating. How did I know it was right with him? a) The sex was fantastic for both of us; we were totally compatible in that way. b) We didn’t fight much, but when we did, we sort of learned to communicate better because this relationship was worth learning better habits for. c) We were consistently proud of each other—sort of bragging about each other to our friends and family, and proud to walk into a room with the other person on our arm. Perhaps none of this is specific enough, because there was another magical “it’s just right” quality that’s harder to describe, but those are the really concrete obvious things that just clicked in a way no other relationship ever had.

  37. What a lovely post! I might or might not have teared up reading the comments…

    My story might be the odd one out—because it’s about an ex. It made me realise that finding and being ‘the one’ is as much about chemistry as it is about decision and our readiness. He was my friend first but it wasn’t a platonic friendship—so going from being friends to being a couple was at the same time something that just happened and something that we decided to do. The long walks, pillow talks, silly laughters (we could laugh together about anything), (almost creepy) similarities, same reactions to things, ability to read each other’s minds without having to say anything, nerdy inside jokes that make people say “Oh you two and your weirdness”—that’s how I would describe chemistry if I had to. We were that “weird couple” that no one could understand but were just happy. So what we had was special, the difference is, I DECIDED that I wanted him to be the one because I wanted that forever and he decided that he didn’t.

    So now while I’m looking for that great chemistry, I’m also looking for someone who wants to commit to preserving it. Someone who doesn’t wait around for a “lightbulb moment” and just decides that he wants me to be the one for him.

    • Jennifer says...

      I had to respond to yours. You are by far an absolute gem, and I know you’ll find him one day. Thank you so much for sharing your point of view. I truly feel that “knowing” is more a decision than anything else. While you were telling yourself “yes, yes, yes.” throughout your relationship, he must have been telling himself, “no, no, no.”. This is just so sad but it happens. Love is just as much a choice as is figuring out if someone’s “the one”. Anyway, sorry for going on and on. Goodluck with finding your soulmate :-)<3

    • Jane says...

      I am over a year late to this post but thank you! I am currently going through the ‘i enjoy alone time, I’m insure about my future, why am i focusing on this now’ thing. Your point about readiness hit the nail on the head. It’s not that I don’t love him (even though I LOVE my alone time), its that I’m not ready for marriage (I’m 22) right now and seeing all these tv shows about weddings and ‘the one’ has freaked me out! I’m not ready now, i might not be later, but i should chuck my relationship away over something that’s years and years in the future (he’s 18). So thank you for making me realise why I have been uncomfortable. I have previously thought yeah you’re the one but now I’m like oh I’m not sure. But I still love him. So yay :)

    • unknown says...

      hey, I’m in this same position right now with my friend, everyone always says you guys are so cute, I really like him but he says ‘if it happens in the future then it happens, if not then…’ I don’t know what to do.

  38. I’m going to sound like a grandma and say that I believe that love is a long-term decision and not a heartbeat. Sure there were lots of exciting aspects about dating and being married but ultimately in the years to come, there would be many times when we would have to consciously choose to love one another for the relationship to last. :)

    • Tanya B says...

      You don’t sound like a grandma at all. My friend and I have been saying that for the past ten years, and we both just crossed into 30 this past year.

  39. catherine says...

    This is a wonderful, beautiful and important question and I love reading about so many touching experiences. However… Like a few others, I particularly applaud the “I still don’t know” and other questioning thoughts.

    Because what if you do find yourself – or your partner finds him/herself not sure? What is that supposed to mean? Does it mean that one of you is simply not “choosing” to love the other as perhaps you did before? I don’t think so, because if you loved the person before, you wouldn’t simply wake up and CHOOSE not to one day.

    Does it mean that the love was not genuine in the first place? Surely not, because it was real enough to have existed and strong enough to have lasted for some duration of time, perhaps even still be there.

    Does it mean that it is gone? I don’t think it has to, but it is a difficult and painful reality to evolve from.

    And beyond this – what if you find yourself experiencing some of those amazing, exhilarating, deep moments with someone who is not your partner? Then what?

    This is all to say that I want nothing more than to believe in these powerful connections. – Actually, I do believe in them, very much so. But they’re also far more complicated for some than we could ever realize. And the doubt and conflict are worth exploring as much as the fireworks and light bulb moments.

    • catherine, thank you for writing this. It made my Day!

    • J says...

      Catherine, I also loved this! I feel exactly the same way.

    • Jody says...

      Thank you for this.

    • Kate says...

      Yes, thank you for articulating exactly what I feel.

    • Elinor says...

      Just coming across this post for the first time…I also loved your comment, Catherine, as it really resonates with me. I would love for another post to explore this further — or that this discussion could somehow continue. It’s fairly rare, I think, to find people who don’t automatically think your relationship must be fatally flawed if you have doubts or anxieties about the “rightness” of your relationship. It’s very hard to distinguish between your own personality/tendency toward doubt or anxiety that may be driving your feelings (and you could feel this way with anyone) versus something about this particular relationship.

    • Jennifer says...

      I LOVE your post. You put my exact thoughts into words, (far better than I could have ever put them). Thank you so much for that. For me this “light bulb feeling” everyone seems to have, just comes and goes. Some days, I feel that my boyfriend is the absolute one and that I cannot possibly live without him. And other times, I’m just not sure. I feel that there’s unnecessary pressure on couple’s to feel/find/determine this one moment of certainty, that is meant to define their relationship overall/forever. But I also can’t help but feel that it’s unrealistic. People are so much deeper than that. I don’t know. Or maybe just a few of us are a lot more complex? In any case, your post spoke for me and I’m sure plenty of others so thank you so much again :-)

  40. Stephanie says...

    I have been with my boyfriend for 8 years and I still don’t know if he is the one. I often ask married people the “how did you know” question because I am plagued by the immensity of the decision (now that I’m in my 30’s) . I wonder if there will always be some degree of doubt that seeps in with the ebb and flow of long term love.

    • Beck says...

      This describes my exact situation, glad to know I’m not the only one to feel this way.

  41. When I became friends with my now husband, I was actually dating someone else. Well, he was on a mission for our church, so we weren’t actively dating, but he was still my boyfriend and I was sure that I would marry him when he came home. But about six or eight months before this boyfriend was supposed to be home, I was spending more time with this other guy, and felt myself drawn to him. I just wanted to spend time with him. I was really confused about my feelings for a long time, but eventually decided to break up with the one that I had been dating to see how things went with my now husband. Things went great. It was easy with him. I was already in the mindset of being in love and preparing to be married soon, so it was easy to fall in love with him. We became serious fast and were married a year after we started dating. I did choose him, but really being with him just made sense. It made sense to my mind and my heart. Four years later, we are still in love and happy and looking forward to the rest of our lives together. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s been worth it.

    Kristi | Be Loverly

  42. Anna says...

    My boyfriend and I met in high school, but we didn’t start dating until we were 23 (we’re 27 now). I never thought I could see him in a romantic light, and I even turned him down when he tried to put some moves on me during a college break (I think we were 19 at the time). We reconnected when I moved back to our hometown at age 22, but I still thought he would only ever be just a friend (I remember telling my mom this when she asked if there was anything between us). Then I went on a couple of dates with guys who could not have been more wrong for me in every way. After the last one, I went to a music festival with Jared and we had so much fun together. I realized we were right for each other in all the ways that the other guys were wrong… and I also realized how attractive he was. Something just clicked, and all of a sudden I had this feeling that if something started between us, it would be big– like, lifetime big. We started dating a few weeks later, and now nearly four years later, we’ve been through a couple of rough patches, but I’ve never doubted our rightness for each other or my desire to stick together for the long hall. I can so easily picture us as parents, and as growing old together. Before I had that feeling, I wasn’t sure I ever would… but it truly felt like a lightbulb lit up over my head.

  43. lucky says...

    I knew he was the one when we had spent many evenings staring at the sky, searching for falling stars…he would spot them easily, I was always saying, “wait…where, oh I missed it..” When I finally saw my first falling star I made a wish for him. I knew he was the one because I wanted more for him than for myself, I finally knew what it meant to love someone.

    • wow, that is so beautiful.

  44. AB says...

    My husband says he knew I was the one after I cried watching Scorcese’s No Direction Home. I think for us, knowing was in the small moments like this.

  45. oh i just adored this post (and all the comments!)
    As a hopelessly romantic 20 year old, these just give me such hope and excitement at the thought of meeting my special person in the years to come. I love a good romcom or literary romance, and hearing real true love stories are even better!
    ps – i loved what Alex said about Jo – so beautiful!

  46. KM says...

    I’m a member of the “I just knew” club. I dated A LOT in my 20s and into my early 30s. My hubby and I met……on Craigslist (Women Seeking Men), really! I posted an ad seeing if anyone wanted to grab a drink, we met at a bar, got wasted, and stumbled back to my house (no, no – THAT did not happen). The next morning, in my hungover haze, I knew he was “the one”. Well, I should say: I immediately knew I would soon be falling in love with him, and a few weeks later I realized that level of love = “the one”.

    We packed A LOT into our first few years together, and definitely weathered some rough patches. Within 2.5 years of meeting we: moved in together, got engaged, got pregnant, had baby, got pregnant again (when baby #1 was only 7 mos old!), got married, had baby #2/bought house (yes, in the same month, ugh), and bought my family’s business.

    We ended up attending some couples therapy sessions which were invaluable, they completely connected us in a way we weren’t before AND helped us each see the other’s perspective. (I truly believe empathy is super important in a relationship.)

    I also learned from my husband something I keep going back to in my mind: he told me (to him) the most important point of marriage is that when you get to the end, you’ve become a better person because of it.

    That makes me strive to better for him, and for me (and of course for the kids, but they just suck it right out of us so they’re a given!).

  47. Lauren says...

    My boyfriend and I have been together 3 years as of this month. Before that, we were best friends for a couple years (because I had just broken up with an ex and wasn’t attracted to him), and even though he liked me he nobly restrained himself from pursuing it because I wasn’t ready and he knew I didn’t see him that way. He’s very “not like most guys” in that way. But, we started spending a LOT of time together–he was my favorite person to hang out with, ever! And once I finally broke up with my ex for the last time, he’s the person I wanted to tell IMMEDIATELY, like it would be great news for him because he would find out that waiting all that time would finally pay off. And it has! I’m so grateful he felt that if he couldn’t have me as his girlfriend, he would keep me as his friend no matter what. He’s so old fashioned and serious about relationship stuff, so it took him 8 months to say the L word (I said it 3 months before that! He made me wait so long!) but ever since then he has never let a day go by without making sure I know how much he loves me and how “lucky” he is to have me. Now all we dream about is getting married and moving away together and having “six children” (we’ll see about that, buddy). Yes, he lacks certain qualities that generally would be on my must-have list, but we understand that we are a team and we’re here to be HAPPY and make each other happy. Even if someone else came along that did have all the qualities I’d want, I still wouldn’t dream of giving mine up. Love him to pieces.

    • Em says...

      This is really sweet :)

  48. Shayla says...

    My husband and I met (we think) when I was 15 and he was 22. Obviously, nothing too romantic happening there. We grew to be close friends for 3 years, then he told me he had feelings for me – but with the worst timing. I dated other guys (read: jerks), and then finally after 7 years of friendship, something clicked. He had lived across the country for almost a year and after he came back to visit, I realized how much I missed him. He had been this constant in my life for so long. The first thing my mom said when we started dating: “You better not break his heart.” I said I love you after 2 weeks. He asked me to marry him after 4. I think the best way to describe it is this: easy. It wasn’t complicated the way other relationships had been. There was no question he and I were sticking around and that we were in it for the long haul.

    Thank you for a wonderful post. I thoroughly enjoyed it :)

  49. My fiance and I met when he was in town running the Chicago marathon. We were both on tinder -he was looking to meet someone to go out with for lunch as a meet cute story, and I was looking for a relationship or a free lunch. It took some convincing for me to meet him as he lives in the UK and I was really ready to meet my one (jokes on me) He showed up to the date with my coffee order in hand as a surprise, as I took it a calmness came over me and the thought “There you are!!!” popped into my head. We had an amazing first date and then he was off to catch a plane back home. I had a moment of doubt we wouldn’t see each other again, but the calmness came back and the thought “He’s your husband, he’ll be back.” Sure enough when he landed, he called to say he wanted to come back in November. Our third date was Thanksgiving spent with 12 family members. He said that meal is what sealed the deal for him that I was his one. We’re now planning a very small wedding for October, and after a short long distance marriage we will jump for joy when we get our visas are sorted.
    After reading this article it only solidified how he embodies all the thoughts and ideas above.

  50. Anna says...

    The first day of school he was late for class and when he walked throug the door i remember thinking that if i was gonna get with someone from our class i wanted it to be him. two months later he spent an hour trying to convince me that it was a great idea to be his girlfriend.
    Thats when i knew >(

  51. Brooke Kunz says...

    so many sweet thoughts. i’m tearing up reading them! i knew my husband was the one because of the comfort and the feeling that, like someone else said, we would always carry on despite any hardships in our relationship. my husband was very “teachable” while dating, which i loved. :-) everything wasn’t perfect from day one, but we learned how to communicate and work together in a way that couldn’t be better with anyone else!

  52. Carol Wayne says...

    We had a messy beginning….but somehow life just felt better with him…we have been married for 35 years and when I see him after a day or a week apart I always feel so lucky to have this decent loving man in my life ……we have 3 adult children and a grandchild on the way….when our son and his wife told us about the new baby we just looked at each other…this is why you stay together and it was hard sometimes to see that, but the love was bigger than our individual selves and we committed to that….

    • kim says...

      Tears. Such a lovely sentiment. I don’t think I want children (and the probably future fiance agrees) but your words made marriage as an institution make a lot more sense–thank you!

  53. Andrea says...

    When we started dating I had never been in a serious relationship before. I always ran away. I knew he was the one because all of my neurotic bullsh*t just kind of went away. All of my normal keep-you-at-a-distance instincts just simply weren’t there. I wanted to be with him, all the time. It felt so smooth and natural to be together. If I had to pin down an actual “moment,” I would say it was a few weeks into our relationship, when he was telling me a very personal story and he teared up, and I just panicked. It was like something inside of me was breaking down and all I could think was “Oh no! I never want him to be sad! This is not okay!” Which was immediately followed in my mind by, “Whoa. You really love him.” We’ve been together for seven years.

    • KK says...

      Thank you for posting this! It makes so much sense to me.

  54. mara says...

    i consistently choose my husband. even when he’s very unloving or unlovable, i choose him. marriage is sacred, it’s as sacred as you choose to make it anyway. and to me, marriage is the highest covenant humankind knows. i choose to love him and i choose to stay with him daily.

    for his part, i fell in love with him watching him eat at a friend’s birthday dinner. i thought, i could watch him eat. everyday. forever.

  55. Laura says...

    Our early days of dating were exciting and comfortable…and I knew pretty early on because of that :)

  56. Caitlin says...

    I love all these stories! I have found some of them to be quite comforting because sometimes I have doubts as well. I particularly like the quote about love being an action and a decision. :)

    Although I’m not married to my boyfriend, I think I knew he was ‘the one’ on one of the first nights out we spent together. I was actually dating someone else at the time (even though my current boyfriend and I both knew we had feelings for each other) and when we were dancing, my now-boyfriend asked if he could kiss me. He asked! Chivalry isn’t dead!

    I of course said no because I was with someone, but it didn’t ruin the night. We talked for over 2 hours the next day and he apologized for making me feel uncomfortable but little did he know that simple question is what sealed the deal in my mind. I broke up with the other guy and started dating him a couple weeks later and now we are going on 6 years together!

  57. N. says...

    I was 17, he was 19. I was half in love with a different boy who made me feel like I had to be SO cool and not at all like myself. My now-fiance was coming over to “hang out,” and I remember being so nervous it was going to be awkward, trying to think of what I could say, hoping there wouldn’t be any uncomfortable silences. When he came over, he handed me four mix cd’s he’d made me, two of them all 90’s music (SWOON.), and we sat on my bed, decorating the cd’s with Lisa Frank stickers and talking endlessly for hours. Later that day, we played DDR at my best friend’s house and he impressed me with his surprising dance skills (which he still has, let me just say). After he left, I told my best friend, “he’s going to be my boyfriend,” and now, over 8 years later (4 of them long distance!), we’re getting married. I don’t really believe in the idea of The One, and I don’t really have a ton of dating experience to compare it with, but I do know that from that first day of being super comfortable with him, talking about anything and everything, I’ve always felt “safe” with him – perfectly at ease, perfectly myself. No matter what I’m doing or where I am, it’s always more fun when he’s with me. I think love is a choice, and we each chose to make each other “The One.”

  58. Ruby says...

    I have been with my husband for 8 years. We’ve shared more hardships, more heartbreaks in that short period than most couples never will. He has been my rock and my anchor. He’s loved me for who I am, and has devoted his life to making me happy. Yet, I needed more, I needed passion and lust over quiet, strong love. I have been with another man for about a year now, and I am slowly but surely realizing that my husband is the one. That the love that we shared is stronger and more beautiful than anything else I could ever experience.

  59. We are celebrating our 5th wedding annaversary today and I dont think we ever woundered “if we knew”. We were (are!) just sa madly in love that all the big desicions and scary steps felt like the easyest thing in the world. My husband is American and I am Swedish so it was many big steps.. many month seperated on each continent, and I am grateful for them all. It was a good test.

  60. I think the idea of finding, or being found by, The One is a huge lie. It takes all of the pressure off of you to be who you need to be. It’s an inherently selfish idea (you don’t hear people talking about being The One for someone else), and at the very foundation of a good relationship is unselfishness. I’ve been with my boyfriend for three years and things have been amazing and things have been really hard, but if either of us had been operating out of that mentality, we would never have gotten this far. I think you choose the one, and you make the choice everyday to be the one for them as well.

  61. i was engaged twice before meeting my husband. i wish someone had told you it doesn’t have to be hard, you don’t have to compromise (especially for the first years), and he will be everything you imagined and more. it was love at first sight. we met, married, and are now expecting a baby all in a year and a half. when it feels right, you’ll know it.

  62. Oh what a lovely post! And many comments to read through still, which makes me feel all fuzzy because I like to be reminded of the fact that we are all the result of the love of thousands.
    The first time I saw my soulmate (cheesy but that is genuinely what he is), I was probably 12 or 13. We were in the same school, but he’s 5 years older, so he was OLD to me and didn’t really trigger anything, but I do remember seeing him walk past in the playground. I remember a feeling of familiarity.

    We met properly when I was 16 and he 21. A mutual acquaintance introduced us because we happened to be in the same schoolroom at the same time. We had a little chat and he asked me if I would go for coffee with him. Bear in mind I was young, he was a “proper” adult, he smelled of leather and cigarettes and washing up powder and things forbidden. Maybe all that played a role, maybe it didn’t. After coffee the next morning, he walked me back to the school gates and said “I almost want to kiss you”. That was 14 years ago. Granted, for the next 5 years, he didn’t know I was his soulmate and we both had other relationships. Not very good ones. I always went back to him and whenever we saw each other, the energy was overwhelming. I still don’t know why he decided he was ready to be with me when he did, but I can happily say it all worked out. Knowing your soulmate and watching them suffer (previous traumas, difficult childhood, etc.) and not being able to reach into their lives and pull them into the safety of yours is very disturbing. But now we have our life, and 8 years later it’s better, fuller and more exciting than I imagined during those 5 years of longing. The love I feel isn’t based on anything material, it’s something I know. There’s never been and will never be any question about it. He’s half of me and we belong together (and I’m not quoting Mariah Carey here…)
    Go love!

  63. It just felt like the perfect series of coincidences – the perfect confluence of events and we seemed so right for each other. In fact, I was describing a recent bad date to a friend when I met my husband! He was kind of eavesdropping on our conversation (we were sitting at a bar) and laughing at us, so I just started including him in the conversation (and the bartender told me he was a regular customer who behaved decently). Then, time and time again, he proved himself to be a standup guy. The first time he met my cats, he gave one of them a nickname on the spot and told me he loved cats. Just recently, I randomly told him “My fictional glam rock band name is Yesterday’s Lipstick” and he responded immediately, “You need to spell it YESTERDAZE LIPSTIK” – a nod to an obscure British glam rock band I love. No one else would say that to me and know why it was the best joke, and note he didn’t have to ask me why I was making up fictional glam rock band names… he just gets me.

  64. ryan burgess says...

    I love this post.

    With most of my (past) relationships there was always a mix of extreme infatuation and extreme anxiety. It’s like I never knew what would happen next and it was exciting but also unnerving. With my husband, from the moment we met, that anxiety vanished. There were no longer these extremes. We were allowed to just love each other and feel good about it.

    <3

    • Jessi says...

      Ryan, I relate to this completely. I don’t doubt myself or my feelings with my boyfriend. There is this magnificent calm in our relationship. We’re on the same page, we share the same values, and any little bump in the road feels like just that, a small bump. I knew he was important from the start, but the process of knowing he was the one was gradual and relaxed. We both just knew early on that we were going to stay together.

  65. Jamie says...

    In my experience of middle class, Midwest America, there is so much pressure to find “the one”–the right major in college, the right mate, the right wedding dress, the right parenting choices, etc. If a sense of certainty comes, great, but if it doesn’t, you feel like a failure.

    Once I thought I found “the one”–the person who drove me to the brink of what being alive can feel like–but he left me. I lost a lot of time mourning that loss because society makes it seem like a real tragedy if you lose “the one.” Like I lost my chance at happiness.

    When I first met my husband, I almost didn’t go on a second date because he made me feel comfortable instead of spellbound. He made me feel like “me” and not a woman from a Hollywood love story. It took me a long time to realize that the biggest gift anyone can give you is permission to want to be yourself in all of your rational, doubt-laden glory. “The one” I needed to feel certain about was myself, and it took someone who I didn’t initially feel certain about to teach me that.

    This changed how I think about a lot of decisions–a decision can be the right one without being the perfect one. A decision can be the wrong one even if it feels perfect. I think a lot of people waste time waiting for some wedding-industry marketed certainly when they could be choosing individualized happiness.

  66. Adelle says...

    In my experience of middle class, Midwest America, there is so much pressure to find “the one”–the right major in college, the right mate, the right wedding dress, the right parenting choices. If a sense of certainty comes, great, but if it doesn’t, you feel like a failure.
    Once I found “the one”–the person who drove me to the brink of what being alive can feel like–but he left me. I lost a lot of time mourning that loss because society makes it seem like a real tragedy if you lose “the one.”
    When I first met my husband, I almost didn’t go on a second date because he made me feel comfortable instead of spellbound. He made me feel like “me” and not a woman from a Hollywood love story. It took me a long time to realize that the biggest gift anyone can give you is permission to want to be yourself in all of your rational, doubt-laden glory. This changed how I think about a lot of decisions–a decision can be the right one without being the perfect one. A decision can be the wrong one even if it feels perfect. I wasted a lot of time waiting for certainly when I could have been choosing happiness.

  67. Tamara says...

    Interesting. I adore my husband madly, and I hope to spend my entire life with him, but I also hope and believe there are others I would be happy with, too. I don’t take for granted the good fortune I have had in meeting someone who loves me too, one who is willing to prioritize our family and life together as much as I do, but I think this idea of The One is kind of scary and semi-oppressive, especially as someone else mentioned for anyone who has lost a partner or otherwise struggles to find one. If something were to happen to either of us, I hope we would find joy again, you know?! Rather than going into the specific facts around how I met my husband and how and why we decided to spend our lives together, here’s the big difference between him and others I have loved — there are many boxes on my previous Must Have list that he doesn’t check, and I realized through maturity and life experience, that that was OK. My husband is my partner, my lover, my sharer-of-home-body-and-money; he is my Favorite person, but he is not my All. I actually really value that distinction now, although did not always. I am happy that I get to share my love of reading, art, fitness, fashion, politics and history, etc., with other people; this allows me to continue to cherish the friendships I had before my husband came onto the scene and new ones I have made since that are also great loves in my life, and to foster them so they remain present into the future. There are lots of people I hope to grow with! Once upon a time I KNOW I would have held his lack of interest in READING or POLITICS “against him,” so to speak, but now – it doesn’t matter. My husband doesn’t have to be my Book Person. I’m glad, actually, that my best girlfriends are my Book People; that they are my HALF MARATHON PEOPLE. It’s something special I share WITH THEM, and keeps us connected. ( After all, by virtue of my husband being MY PARTNER IN LIFE, we inherently share lots and lots of things unique unto our union, you know?!) I picked my husband because he is smart and hardworking, he makes me cackle with laughter on a daily basis, he makes me feel beautiful, and together we are silly and playful. I love our dynamic, and while it’s mostly easy and natural, we do still choose to be kind, say please and thank you, make choices with the other in mind, etc. We compromise and sacrifice, but also give-give-give, and share enough interests and values and chemistry and sex appeal and all that, to make it all worth it and to work. I think LOVE is an insane mix of chemistry (e.g., luck!), good communication, shared values & some shared interests, and as others mentioned, choice – daily choice – to be a kind and thankful partner.

    • Lauren says...

      PERFECT. Some of those “he’s not my ____ person, or my _____ person” have come up for me lately, but it never made me think twice about whether I think I can “do” the rest of my life with him. You explained that so well and I feel even more content now :)

  68. j. says...

    This was a beautiful post, probably my favourite so far since I’ve been reading A Cup of Jo (and I’ve been reading it for a long time!). I’m getting married in exactly one month… Me! The one that was never ever getting married with him… The one who was never ever getting married. We were always ‘the one that got away’. And after dating for a year, it’s now so clear and we are both so happy to be getting married. We’ve both had a good share of both long and short relationships, both committed and just flings, and never felt the urge to get married. But only a few months after we started dating, talking about marriage was so easy and natural. There was never a proposal, we just decided to do it together.

    Still, do we know we are each other’s ‘the one’? No. Probably because non of us think that there is someone who is just walking around, waiting to find you. We are both children of divorce and are very realistic about the hardships of marriage. But we want to try. And we want to build it. Just like someone on your post said “Love is not a feeling, it is an action”. It’s something you decide, not something that happens to you. It’s something you create. And what I’m certain of now is that it’s something we want to build together. Even when in doubt, it always feels right.

  69. Kukla says...

    I’ve been a reader for years and this is my favorite post thus far. I love hearing from couples that had a long dating past because that’s what I have. My boyfriend and I have been together for over four years and are questioned all the time by friends, family, co-workers (sigh, especially the co-workers) not understanding our relationship. They think there’s a problem since he hasn’t asked me to marry him and I find myself having to justify our relationship as their grabbing my hand to check to see where the ring is. It’s mortifying to say the least. I’d love a post on couples that are unmarried but just as committed to loving one another. XOXO.

  70. Rachel says...

    My husband and I will celebrate 23 years of marriage in October. Fifteen years ago we hit a major rocky patch (thanks to both of us) and I don’t think either of us knew at the time if we would come through it together. Making the decision to stay together and consciously rebuilding our relationship made us both realize the other was truly the one and I think that is when we really fell deeply in love with each other. Not the most fun way to go about it, but our relationship is on a completely different plane than it was previously and we are both grateful for that.

  71. Lais says...

    I love this post! so inspiring e conforting. Iactually felt happy for this strangers and the love they found – and built! You girls rock. Thank you! :)

  72. Erica says...

    Alex & I were 17 & 19…crazy, insanely young. We had been very coyly flirting back and forth that year…and I always felt that sheer, starstruck feeling whenever we were around each other. We began dating in September and just fell in ridiculous love very quickly. We both knew it was forever during Valentine’s Dinner the next year. It was a dimly lit restaurant overlooking the beach with candles everywhere. I’ll never forget, as we were eating and talking…we both just sort-of stopped and looked at each other and started smiling so big…and it felt electric. Literally, like sparks flew, haha. We both were like, “Yeah, this is it for me” . It’s been the same 10 years later & we are both still madly in love.

    • Emmanuella says...

      That’s such a sweet and lovely story. By the way, if sparks were literally flying, I’d go see a doctor about that :)

    • Alicia says...

      Omg I love this…

  73. Michelle says...

    When my father’s cancer came back, he was the first one I went to. We were just friends then. I knew that when I picked up the phone, let him be there for me – that he was the one. This silly man who kept showing up at the same parties as me, sitting next to me, and talking about 90s sitcoms – was the one. 6 years, 4 cities, 4 jobs and 1 wedding later – we’re still having our Frasier Fridays and he still remains firmly by my side.

    • jessie says...

      frasier fridays!??! adorable.

  74. I knew fairly quickly… we had our first and second date on the same day and realized we had a similar sense of humor and goofiness and nerdiness. Shortly after he asked me out he told me that almost a year previously he had wanted to ask me out, but didn’t… I didn’t seem interested at the time apparently. A year later he got up the courage after watching a confident friend casually ask for a girl’s number. The timing was right and I said “Yes.” Within a couple weeks we were practically living together and within 6 months we were talking about moving across the country together. 8 years later and we are happily married and have 2 kids together. You just know…

  75. Alison says...

    With my husband – I kept thinking this was the way a relationship was supposed to go, and that the next time I would want it to be the same. Then I realized wait, I don’t want there to be a next time! We were very young when we met (19) and met only 2 months before he deployed for the first time. I remember making the decision to officially date him before he left because I knew it would be worth it, I knew this was something special. 10 years, and 1 baby later – it was! great post!

  76. It may sound harsh, but I think its simple. I think you know when you arent asking the question “when will I know” …I am getting married in September to the love of my life. We’ve dated for 8 years, sometimes tumultuous ones, but we just kept returning to eachother. I always knew he was it for me, but didnt know if it could work~ now we’ve proven to ourselves that it does.

  77. emily jean says...

    I went about it all backwards. We had a baby, bought a house, married a year later, and had an incredibly rough patch (for which I accept all the blame, even though he is gracious enough to concede a little). It was only then that I truly realized butterflies and sparks fade and YOU determine whether or not you’ve found “the one” based on the amount of work you’re willing to put in. And it is work, but I am grateful I decided to put it in, because it is the most rewarding work I have ever done. The reward is lifelong unconditional love. How great is that?

  78. M says...

    I’m glad you included the “still not sure” story. People change and you stick with them, choosing to love them. Sometimes it hurts reading stories of couples that are so in sync, but he is the One because I married him, and that is good too.

    I would love to hear stories from older people who stuck it out through hard times and found love for each other again.

  79. Keli says...

    I love the honesty in this post. I’ve been married for almost a year now, and I used to freak myself out because I didn’t know if I “just knew.” I was placing too much concern on what it was *supposed* to feel like and missed a lot of what just naturally felt right. I’m, unfortunately, a doubter and a worrier by nature, and I almost let my own thoughts get in the way of one of the greatest decisions of my life: marrying my husband. It’s refreshing to hear others’ experiences and versions of “just knowing.”

    • Thanks for your comment Keli — it resonates with me and my doubts/anxieties about if my wonderful boyfriend is really “the one” or “the best” match out there for me. I would love to hear how you worked through your doubts and ultimately got clarity about your decision (or if it still felt like a huge leap when you actually got married).

  80. We do not know that is the ONE… until the end ;)

    kiss
    from
    Greece!

  81. Lindsey says...

    One of my favorite posts ever…I didn’t want the stories to end!

    As cliche as it sounds, I knew b/c I felt like a had been hit by a lightening bolt…but it wasn’t right away.

    In my case, the lightening struck twice. My husband had been one of my best friends for 4 years when suddenly I realized I loved him and wanted to be with him. The feeling was so overwhelming and immediate I wanted to call him at that exact moment and tell him. Cut to a year later: we are dating and in the car on a roadtrip. We are laughing and he touched my hand in this sweet way and the lightening came again. This time it was like I saw our whole future together – marriage, kids, travel, a home. I saw this big, full, beautiful life with this man and I knew it was right and that it was going to be so much fun. It has been almost 10 years since that second lightening bolt and it has been just as fun, messy and beautiful as I imagined.

  82. Sarah says...

    I know that we’ll be together forever because I have never been frightened of what that means with him. I had been in a relationship for all the time we knew each other so it took an embarrassingly long time for me to even realise that he liked me. I later found out that he felt tongue tied every time we were in a room together, while I believed that he just preferred chatting to our other colleagues! When I finally began to understand my own feelings, decided to end the longterm relationship that had been going so badly for so long, and handed in my notice at work, we suddenly felt such an urgency to be together: we snuck off at lunch time, not bothering to look for our colleagues in the local park, to talk about life and music and relationships; we started going for ‘One drink’ more than one evening a week; we found any excuse to sit beside each other. At my leaving drinks my manager plied us all with white wine (dutch courage, she knew what was up) and then disappeared for the last train. And on our walk to the next bar he pulled me aside and told me what strong feelings he had for me and I just told him that I knew.

  83. Before our first date, we’d worked together briefly and kissed one (drunk!) night at a bar, but had never really spoken at length. I’ll never forget driving into the city for our first date. I am probably the most anxious person on the planet, and I can get myself worked up into a proper state about ANYTHING, and yet I remember thinking “I’m not nervous AT ALL! I’m just excited to see him!” Somehow, I just knew I felt comfortable in his company. During that first date, I tripped over a twig and fell flat on my face and somehow wasn’t embarrassed – we were just so comfortable together that nothing could phase me that day. We’ve been together 5.5 years, and just got engaged. We’re from different continents, so we’ve had to move internationally twice (visa-hopping, as we call it), but not being together has never been an option. From that first date, I have never once doubted that he was the one – it felt inevitable from the very beginning.

  84. Alyssa Leister says...

    I definitely am still on the journey of searching for the right guy. But there have been several things that have triggered me in past relationships that it wasn’t right.
    -Realizing that if he proposed (after being together for 2 years at that point) that I could only say “ehhhh” and not OH YEAH SIGN ME UP!
    -Feeling like our relationship was mostly like walking on eggshells waiting for the next big blow up.
    -Hearing from my parents, who I am SO close with, say “There’s no way we could ever really be ok with someone like that for you.” That was eye-opening because they love pretty much everyone as best as they can!

    So now I’m on the hunt, for some who makes me say “OH YEAH, SIGN ME UP!”, puts my anxious self at ease, and someone who loves my family and especially, me just as I am!

  85. These stories are beautiful. I’ve never been in love so I don’t have a story to share…. yet.

    Erin | http://beingerin.com

  86. Agnes says...

    Maybe it’s not my place to say anything because my current relationship is still new but i k n o w this guy is The One, and I think i more or less knew it from the beginning.
    We went on our first date, and though i thought it would be just a short, casual drink, it turned out to be the best first date ever – the one when you just can’t stop talking, and you hate that time is passing and eventually (at 4am!) you say goodbye just because you need to go to work in the morning.
    When I left the taxi i felt…calm, and this is what i want to say – i wasn’t afraid if he was going to call or what was going to be next. I was calm and confident that from then on everything is going to be perfect. And it is. With every day i’m finding new beautiful things about him. And i love him more and more. i want to spend the rest of my life with this man.

  87. Mallika says...

    I think I rambled on irrelevantly in my earlier comment.

    I think I knew my lover is the one cuz if all the evenings we spend home together in our tiny shack of a home, happy to rain check on any one in the outside world (socially) and we have a great ball of a time together. No parties or pubs or hanging out with friends come close to the fun we have together.
    When my best friend who i used to meet almost daily for a chat called me after I’d socially disappeared for a while, I told him that staying home and hanging out with O is just like being out and a superb party, minus the loud music and an uncomfortable bra.

  88. Ail says...

    It was his kindness and unapologetic honesty that drew me deeper in a relationship with him. But the exact moment I knew was when early in the relationship I was sick with a tummy bug, highly contagious and he came over to cook dinner for my little girl as I was too weak. He then put her to bed and stayed with me cuddling me on the sofa watching the Notebook film. It was the first time I cried in front of him, and I pretended it was because of the movie.

  89. Mallika says...

    My lover and I met at a time when we were both at complete odds with the thought of idea of dating. (I call him lover cuz that’s exactly what he is, also we aren’t married yet) ..I was a backpacking soon to join the the convent to be a nun girl! I had cut all my hair off and thrown away any form of make up i ever owned to rid myself of vanity. And he was busy in the throes of repelling women since the last relationship he had been in was a total claustrophobic disaster. He didn’t want to have very much to do with women for a long foreseeable time. We met during what was supposed to be my last work assignment before I quit my career ‘forever’… And it was hate at first conversation for both of us.
    3 years later of cuddling or days away, I still have my career intact, iv grown out my hair beautifully and I can’t ever imagine life without this crazy boy.
    In retrospect we both agree that the ‘hate at first sight’ was probably an instant attraction that we both secretly strongly disliked since it would be an obstacle in the immediate life plan that we had.
    How did I know he was the one- after inseparably having out as ‘friends’ for a length of time, I was the one that ventured to say that I wanted me than friends (big sudden life change) and he refused me. And the fact that despite being hurt by that, I still had a feeling of comfort in his presence (waaaay more than I’d ever felt with previous boyfriend) it took him 4 weeks to finally get down to asking me to be his gf… And in that moment I think we both knew. 2 months later he asked when I would be ready to marry him. We’ve been living together ever since and plan to marry when we are ready to have kids only. (cuz we both don’t feel the need for a marriage certificate to validate our relationship)

  90. Shanna says...

    Oh, I could just read these stories forever.

    There are three distinct reasons that jump into my mind. Each could stand alone, but combined, it can explain why I’m so deliriously happy to be married to my best friend, long after the naysayers said “the honeymoon ends.”
    First- he thinks I’m hilarious and I can make him laugh (usually at my own expense, but I’ll take what I can get). I’m not a particularly funny person, so this was very important to me, because I love to laugh, and I wanted to be able to ensure our future held lots of humor, especially in the difficult times.
    Secondly- it took breaking up for 6 months for us to realize how utterly and completely miserable we were without each other. Like we separated something that belonged together. That time was so crucial to our relationship that I always include it in how long we’ve been a couple.
    Finally- during that separation period, I serendipitously found a list I had written many years before (like as a teenager) of five traits that were non-negotiable in my future husband and I realized this man, with all of his humanity and flaws, fit every single criteria perfectly, and he himself said that my list described the man he prayed and strove to be. I still goosebumps when I remember that conversation. It meant that no matter what happened next, I knew the important things were in the foundation and we could build an amazing future together.