When it comes to marriage, almost everyone can agree: You should settle for nothing less than your soul mate. But it’s tough to know whether the one you adore is really 'The One'. Even if everything seems perfect — you love the same TV shows, you were finishing each other’s sentences on the first date, and the sex is mind-blowing — there’s still a huge difference between Mr. Right and Mr. Right Now. Here’s how to tell whether you’ve found that truly special someone.
In the blush of a brand-new crush, it’s easy to get caught up in silly details that seem like kismet. “His initials are the same as mine!” you might gush to a friend, or, “When she shook my hand, I felt an actual spark!” The fact that your dog loved her on sight may not mean much in the end, but some coincidences are telling signs of a potential love match. Maybe you’re both shocked you’ve never met before, because you have a ton of friends in common or you’ve been attending softball practice at the same field for months. These are more than just coincidences: They’re good signs that this could lead to something real.
As you get to know each other better, it’s important to consider where you and your lover fall on the personality spectrum. Opposites definitely do attract; having separate friends and interests can keep the relationship feeling fresh, while verbal sparring can be a seriously spicy form of foreplay. Of course, if you’re too different, there’s just no common ground. But a relationship with your personality-twin could end up being a huge yawn! While you might envy couples that never argue, zero passion equals one big dud of a love connection.
The best relationships strike a healthy balance between similarities and differences, intimacy and independence. Your lover’s qualities — the ones you admire and the ones that drive you crazy — can teach you worlds about your own strengths and weaknesses. Sure, every couple argues sometimes, but in general, does your sweetheart inspire you to be the best version of yourself? Do you like yourself when you’re with him? If so, he may well be a keeper. If not, it’s time to reevaluate where this relationship is headed.
Speaking of which, when it comes to lasting love, shared goals are a biggie. Unfortunately, on its own, a gut feeling that your connection was “meant to be” doesn’t mean much. Many couples think they were fated to meet — at first. But that strong sense of sharing a higher purpose can fade as reality sets in. Mismatched values are a serious deal breaker, but if your deepest beliefs and highest aspirations match up, this could be a love that lasts.
What about other signs that you’re sweetly in sync...or woefully out of it? If your honey calls you just when you were thinking of her, or gifts you with something you’ve been wanting forever, these are good signs that you two really click. On the other hand, if you’ve mentioned twenty times that daisies are your favorite flowers but your guy still brings you roses, it’s time to face reality: You may need to look elsewhere for your missing piece.
In the end, searching for your soul mate makes staying objective next to impossible. When blinded by love, lust or longing, lean on your best resources — your family and friends, the people who know and love you best. If they can’t stand your date, pay attention, even if it hurts. Otherwise, you’ll kick yourself later, when you figure out they were right all along! And if they adore that guy you thought was a snore-fest, why not give him a second chance? They may be picking up on something stellar that you missed. And finally, tune in to what they say about you and your honey. “You two look great together” may not be the most meaningful endorsement, but comments like “Your new guy seems like a true gentleman” or “You’ve been laughing so much more since you two met” signal their seal of approval.