How Do You Know You Have Met the One?

Q. How do I know I have met “the one”? — 20-something

A. When making it work isn’t work:)

Well that is one answer but it seems to sum up what a lot of women say. I did a post on this subject a few months ago and that was a common theme.  A lack of drama but not a lack of fun. As one woman said,  “if it’s that much work getting to the point of commitment, it’s not going to get any easier afterward.”

I recently was asked the question again and in honor of Valentine’s Day thought I would share so more 40:20 hindsight on “how I knew”.   It’s not love at first sight for all but there is a sense of something on the first encounter — the ability to talk all night and forget time or a sense that you could have known eachother forever…guess that’s a good sign that you could know eachother forever.

Here are some stories from 40-somethings who found their “one”:

The one comes along when you can see it, rather than when you are looking for it…

“I think a lot of it has to do with being in the “right” place yourself – being strong, independent and content.  It’s true it happens when you least expect it… because you’re not actively seeking it.  When I met my husband, I had just come out of a very long and unhappy relationship.  I spent the last two years coming to the realization that it’ s better to be happy alone than unhappy in a relationship.  When I finally moved out, the feeling was exhilarating and liberating. The last thing I was thinking about was a boyfriend!  I was enjoying being single and being free to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.  I was happy and that attracted people to me.  Happy people are like magnets.  One night I was out with some friends who were whining about how there were no cute guys at the bar. I was just happy to be out with the girls having a few drinks.  This guy walked in the door and I said, “That guy is cute.” He is now my husband.”

When you can participate in each other’s lives without taking it over…

“I knew he was “the one” that night. Conversation was easy, never awkward. Things felt balanced – meaning not all physical or all intellectual.  He immediately loved my dogs, knew half of my friends, liked the same kind of music, ran in the same circles. And he added to my life.  He made me better.  Mostly, he made me laugh and laugh we still do all of the time.  He participated 100% in my life without controlling it, taking it over or trying to change it.  He had his own life, friends, interests and I had mine and they blended together well. Life is not all rosy. We have been through very tough times, but we went through them together.  Yes we fight and we both are opinionated and stubborn, but eventually we get over it because he is my best friend and I am his.  I always want to spend time with him, and he with me. We have fun together.”–40-something, married, Brooklyn, NY


When you don’t put up the barriers you put up in the past, (and when he’s willing to go on vacation with your sister and you)…

“On our first date… we went out for a drink that ended up lasting four hours. Then we went for a hike on New Year’s Eve day and it just took off from there. We just clicked.  It felt so good and it was so natural. It was all there. I’d never felt that way in my life. I felt like OMG I’ve never been in love before and I thought I had. I just never had felt this before in my life.

I was always hesitant to travel with a new boyfriend because that’s a big deal. With him I had no issue. I was planning a trip to Mexico with my sister and my best friend and at the last minute I just invited him. So he came to Mexico with my sister and my best friend three months into the relationship. That’s big for a guy. We just had a blast.

It’s was as if we’d known each other for years. We just felt so comfortable. I had never felt that way in my life. I had been in relationships before too where I should’ve thought I might get engaged and all my girl friends are “He’s going to propose to you” but I never really believed it with those guys. I never really felt like it was right. With him I knew absolutely. I never felt like that confident about a relationship, about the way he felt about me too. I just knew it and so did he. It was just so much fun. I didn’t have a doubt in my mind.” — 40-something, married, San Francisco, CA

When you can talk all night….but also when the silences are comfortable.

“I think I was just more relaxed. I was more interested in just enjoying us than making us work. It was really easy. This is really early on too. We drove four hours to visit a friend. We didn’t talk that much on the drive. Not every minute was filled with conversation. He knew at that point that “If I can be with this woman for 4 hours and be totally comfortable not talking then that’s it”. I think that was the turning point for him. And for me too. I’m not a huge conversationalist. I mean I am but I’m perfectly comfortable with silence with certain people. Yeah I just think that it was comfortable very quickly.– 40-something, married, Detroit, MI

When you realize that there will be ups, downs and differences and that’s not the end of the world or the relationship…

“I think because we were young that we definitely oscillated back and forth. We definitely had our ups and downs. We had a breakup at one point. It’s hard in your twenties. He was struggling trying to figure out what kind of career he wanted. I think that whole career stuff especially for a guy. A guy wants to really feel secure in terms of their direction before they commit to marriage. How sexist does that sound? But for us, we had to work that out.

Also, I think our religious differences made us hesitant.  We ended up going to these group counseling sessions with other interfaith couples. It could be for anybody who is married, engaged or just dating. So we went as boyfriend and girlfriend and that was probably the turning point for us. We learned we were in much better shape than some of these other couples who didn’t have friends or support at all. Their parents were threatening to disown them if they got married. We realized how fortunate we were that our families were supportive and that we would figure it out somehow.

From there it was just a feeling we both felt finally right about. I think he sensed I was getting a little itchy about it but  I didn’t sit there and hound him about it. I remember on our wedding day, I was nervous about the party but I was not nervous about marrying him. I knew what I was getting into. It just felt good. It felt right.” — 40-something, married, Larchmont, NY

40-somethings, would love to hear more stories on how you knew you met the one!!

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