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How can I tell if he or she is "the one"?

Updated: Jan 8


A client who was dating a nice man for couple of months once asked me: "How can I tell if he is "the one"?". She was hoping I could give her a check list or a formula she could use to identify the "right match". She wanted to make a long term investment in her potential partner and was trying to use all her resources (feelings, logic, intuition) to understand if she was on the right path.

How often we try to put all our eggs in one basket and expect our partner to fulfill all our needs. We hope they will stay with us forever and make our life a fairytale. How wonderful would that be?

But the concept of finding "the one" is limiting and often based on fears. This is especially true as people get older and feel afraid that their chances of meeting true love are smaller, that the pool is shrinking.

People come to our life for a reason. Sometimes they stay with us for many years, sometimes they change the course of our life and then disappear after a short time. As human beings, we want to feel safe and stable. The concept of having "the right" partner makes our future look predictable and full of hope. For many people, the desire to find "the one" stems from beliefs inherited from their parents, culture, and social environment. For example, shameful ideas of divorce can result in the need for a "perfect match" and to stay with him or her for the rest of one’s life.

The "right” person does not exist in relation to future because both people in a relationship are constantly changing. Also, it’s almost impossible to fulfill all one’s needs with a single person. The concept of "the one" is static and does not give enough room for growth and change. The “perfect match" can be identified only in the present moment and there is no guarantee that the definition of what is “perfect” will stay the same forever.

"The one" is not a person with certain qualities that you need, it is a person who can be in sync with you as you grow and change in life and who can accept you as you are and be flexible in a relationship. It is a person who shares your goals, values, interests and who flows in the same direction as you.

So better questions to ask when you consider a potential partner are: "Is this the person I want to grow and explore the future with?" and “Can I accept the person as he or she is and deal with his/her uniqueness, weirdness, and imperfections?” You don't want to limit yourself with the concept of "the one" if for some reason the relationship did not work. If you do not set a high expectation such as the “perfect" partner, you will feel less pressure in relationships, be more flexible, and more likely succeed.


Anna Morgan

Dating & Relationship coach

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