04/03/2012 03:11 pm ET | Updated Jun 03, 2012

How Do You Know If You've Found "The One"?

This question originally appeared on Quora.

For the people who speak romance instead of logic:

This is advice I gave a younger person who said she knew she wanted to marry her boyfriend because she "loved him."  She thought that being "in love" meant she had found "the one."

Are you a loving person?  Because loving people are capable of loving lots of people in their lifetimes.  You are likely to find many people pleasant, agreeable, exciting, and enjoyable.  That doesn't mean you need to marry any of these people.

At some point, you may find yourself loving a person who is particularly compatible with you.  You find your ways of thinking work well together.  You have similar values in life.  You have similar goals for your future.  

Congratulations!  You have found a potential life-mate.  Not "the one" by any means, but a really good one.

Does that person feel the same way?  Do you both display equal commitment to long-term relationships? Does your history together cover a wide range of experiences?  Do you have a realistic idea of life together?  Now you have a decision to make.

Many people phrase their decision-making like this:

"This must be the right choice because I'll never find anyone else as ____ (good, special, wonderful) as this again."


"This must be the right choice because I've never found anyone else as ____ (good, special, wonderful) as this before."

Statements like this are setting you up for disappointment!  Instead, consider this:

  • You're likely to find other people to love.
  • You're likely to be compatible with some of them.
  • Some of them will possibly hold even greater potential than the person you are with now.

Ask this question instead: is your current relationship good enough that you are willing to take a pass on all future "potentially better" loves?  

Take some time to think about this.  Rest on it, pray, meditate. Picture eating breakfast with that face (aging, sagging, wrinkling) across the table for the rest of your life.

If the answer is still a solid "yes!" then go for it.  But if you have niggling doubts ... give it more time.

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