• How to Know You May Have Found “The One”

    Dr. Gary Brown, Counseling in LA, Therapy in LA, relationship therapy in LA, how to know if he's the one

    I love talking to people who are at the point in their relationships when they think they may have found “the one.” The glow of happiness and security is a wonderful thing to witness! I’ve had plenty of clients in my office over the course of the past 25+ years that have this glow, yet still wonder if he or she is truly IT.

    I’ve had plenty of clients in my office over the course of the past 25+ years that have this glow, yet still wonder if he or she is truly IT.

    “They might be the one. But how do I REALLLLLY know?”

    “What if something changes?”

    “How do I know there isn’t someone better out there?”

    Before we continue, I want to dispel the myth that there is only “one” right person for each of us. Given that there are over 7 billion of us on the planet, I’d say that there are quite a number of people whose paths we will cross in our lives, any one of which could be a very good fit for us.

    A couple of the questions above can’t be answered, though, or at least answered easily. Relationships are complex things, and there are many factors that go into whether a marriage or long-term relationship will last or not. Something in your relationship might change. Life is full of twists and turns that few can predict. And yes, there could be someone “better.” But what does that even mean?

    Ask yourself this, what is your frame of reference? What are you really looking for? Are you looking for a partner who is emotionally mature, financially responsible, loving, open with their thoughts and feelings? Or is your ideal determined by another set of criteria? There is no right or wrong here. Only a question about what YOU are looking for in a mate.

    Below is a quick test of some main qualities your relationship might demonstrate that would indicate it has a LOT of potential. This is not an all-inclusive list, but it’s a good place to start.

    It’s Easy…Well, More Often Than It’s Not!

    I mean, all relationships have their challenges and bumps in the road. And sometimes, those very challenges may last longer than a 20-minute argument. But by and large, being with your love isn’t super hard. There isn’t an air of constant conflict, and your friends are dreading the next BBQ you guys attend together. You feel comfortable sharing space when you’re together, and you don’t feel as if one of you needs to be “entertaining” the other constantly. It’s easy to just BE.

    Note: Sometimes it takes a while to develop a rapport with someone. Don’t be automatically discouraged if things are a bit awkward, particularly in the beginning of your relationship. Of course, if things are super-awkward, and your gut is telling you it is very unlikely that you could ever feel a rapport with this person, simply move on.

    Along those lines, please keep in mind, I didn’t use the word “perfect.” If you are looking for the “perfect” person, you will never find them… because they don’t exist. What you can find, though, is the one that is perfect for you. The person that, overall, accepts you as you are, and you accept them. That’s a great sign.


    You Can Laugh Together

    There are several things to look for when contemplating whether or not they are the one. Although it is often discussed, I think a healthy sense of humor is vital to establishing and growing a loving relationship. Look, we’re all adults here. We know that there are going to be many stressful times in your relationship, even the best of them. The ability to laugh at some of this – and I speak here both personally and professionally – comes in very handy!

    Dr. Gary Brown, Counseling in LA, Therapy in LA, relationship therapy in LA, how to know if he's the one

    One quick thing about styles of humor; there is humor that is relatively harmless, and then there is humor that is not only hurtful but can actually do damage.

    Typically, the ability to laugh at ourselves is quite healthy. On the other hand, the use of heavy and frequent doses of sarcastic put-downs is utterly corrosive. If your partner is more aligned with the first type of humor, this is yet another good sign. If the later, not so much.


    They Understand that Change is Inevitable in Relationships

    Like it or not, things are going to change in your lives. Those changes are going to have an impact on both of you. Sometimes positive. Sometimes not. Either way, someone who is adult enough to understand this basic life concept is likely going to be more mature in the ways they cope with change.

    If they are “the one,” they will likely be more flexible in the face of changes that occur. It doesn’t mean that all change is going to be easy. But look for someone who is mature enough to handle the inevitable chaos that often accompanies major changes.


    You Share Common Values –
    Even Though Your Personality Styles May Be Different

    Of the many things that indicate this may be the right relationship for you, is that you both share common values, e.g. you both want to have a family, you believe in serving the community, you share certain social causes even if you have different political views, and/or you generally share the same life goals.


    Spending Time Apart Can Be Just as Great as Spending Time Together 

    Jealousy is one of those things that can really get in the way of a fantastic thing. And lots of times, it’s for no reason. I’ve seen jealousy rear its head out of fear and misunderstanding, however, most of the time it’s because of insecurity.

    When you are in a relationship that is healthy and mature, you don’t mind when the other person meets their friends after work without you or makes plans on the weekend to go do something you’re not interested in with someone else. The fact that you each is able to maintain your own interests in the midst of your relationship is actually a great sign! This shows that you trust each other and don’t feel the need to control each other’s movements.

    Of course, I have to say that this can become an issue when the amount of time spent with others begins to outweigh what you’re spending with your partner. Conversely, spending ALL your time with your partner and forsaking your friends can be dangerous too.


    They Treat Others Well

    Have you ever been in a restaurant and your date understands that the server is pretty much a captive audience? If your partner treats them with kindness, understanding (in particular if the server is obviously extra busy), and patience, this is potentially a very good sign that she or he may be the one.  How they treat others is just as important as how they treat you.

    Dr. Gary Brown, Counseling in LA, Therapy in LA, relationship therapy in LA, how to know if he's the one


    There is Mutual Trust, Respect, and Support 

    I can’t understate how important this is… when each of you respects the other as a mate (and a basic human being), your relationship has huge possibilities! Here is the thing – respecting each other, listening to the other person’s opinion, and accepting who they are without trying to change every little thing that doesn’t fit your agenda can go miles in creating an atmosphere of openness and love.

    What’s more, is that he or she supports you not only in your challenges, sadness, or grief, but also as you train for that 5K, or the Ironman Triathlon, or even in your bid to take up skydiving. No matter how crazy things may seem, respect for your opinions, desires, and beliefs is there. Not to say a little push-back isn’t appropriate in certain circumstances. But that leads me to my next point…


    Open and Honest Communication – Even When It’s Not Pretty. 

    Hard conversations are, well, hard. When you need to say something from your heart and you’re not sure how the other person is going to respond, it’s scary. But after a couple deep breaths, and the, “Honey, can we talk?” finally comes out, things proceed.

    Dr. Gary Brown, Counseling in LA, Therapy in LA, relationship therapy in LA, how to know if he's the one

    Throughout the talk, no one gets nasty, starts calling the other person names, interrupts, or starts throwing things across the room. They hear and listen to your opinions or reasons, and a level of understanding is ultimately achieved. Each of you feels secure enough to share your true feelings, and be vulnerable in your fears or hesitations; you know the other person isn’t going anywhere.


    If you are considering if your current boyfriend or girlfriend might be long-term or lifetime material, consider these points. I am a strong advocate for marriage, and healthy relationships in general, and these are all important!

    Please reach out to me if you would like to dive deeper into your own relationship and explore its potential. I’m happy to offer you a 15-minute conversation to see if I can help more!


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