It's interesting to think about how we try to decipher who is romantically "right" for us. We all know that a good, true, stable love is not built on simply thinking that someone is attractive and compatible on the surface. And yet, a layer beneath that, we also know that just because someone is unlike us, or even our polar opposite, does not necessarily mean they aren't well-suited to be the Love of Our Life. So what gives?
The reality is that love is a choice. Not in that you can simply close your eyes and decide to "feel" something, but because love is a complete awareness of, and unconditional coexistence with, someone. It's about finding the person with whom you jive well enough that it feels more natural to be with them than anything else.
All of that said: We have some work to do when it comes to how we figure that we're "meant to be" with someone. It's more common than not to base a lot of why we think a relationship should work on spurious "signs" and "signals" and "evidence." The harsh but crucial reality to acknowledge is that very rarely do healthy, happy relationships begin with people committing to them because they got a sign from the universe. Here are some things that suggest you're not as meant for someone as you think you are (before you're too far in to break away in one piece).
You Spend More Time Trying To "Figure It Out" Than You Do Actually Being With The Person
If you're just holding onto a pipe dream, a "someday," or a hope that it could eventually work out on its own, well, I'm sorry if it seems like I'm kickin' ya while you're down, but that war is already lost. You're either working on your relationship, committing to it, building a love and a life for yourselves, or you're not. Love doesn't just come back or magically appear one day. Lust does. Attachment does. But if it's love your'e after, then neither of those are probably what we're really looking for.
You're Everything To Each Other ... Except Friends
A lot of people will argue that your partner shouldn't be your best friend, but I have personally found the opposite to be true. The relationships that work — really, really work — are built on a foundation of friendship, trust and respect. The romance and sexiness and glimmering eyes across the dinner table are garnishes on top of an already stellar drink (please excuse that terrible metaphor and just keep rolling with me here). If you're not friends with your partner, you're not really with them.
Your Rationale For Why You're "Meant To Be" Is Just That: Completely Rational
If you ask two people who truly, truly love one another why they want or feel they are meant to be together, their response will almost always be some variation of: "I could give you a million reasons why I love [this person], but at the end of the day, it's more than that. I just do." If your reasoning for loving someone is solely physical, or anecdotal, or logical, you're missing a really key component, which is the magic sparkle shimmer crazy magic of the universe that only really makes itself known when you ask yourself why you love someone and can only come up with "I just do."
You're Simply At Different Places In Your Lives, And You're Waiting On The Day Those "Places" Magically Align
You cannot underestimate how crucial timing is, especially in relationships. The reality is that people won't wait forever, even if they say (or even believe) that they will. A lot of relationships don't — and won't — happen simply because the timing was off. One partner was looking for Mr. or Ms. Right, and the other was looking for Mr. or Ms. Right Now.
Want more dating advice? Check out these tips from bartenders (and subscribe to Bustle's YouTube for more life hacks!):
There Are Things About Them You're Hoping Will Change — Or That They Will "Grow Out Of"
... And your faith that they will change fuels your faith that you are "meant to be." The reality is that, if you can't accept someone in the present, you can't expect that you'll be able to accept them later on, either.
You Think You're "Meant To Be" In Theory, But Aren't Actually Together In Practice
I see this happen very often. People go through a devastating breakup, and then do everything within their power to convince themselves that they are so absolutely meant to be with someone so they don't have to completely face the brutal pain of it ending. I get it. I've been there. (I've really been there, I promise.) And the most important field note I can give to you is this: You're meant to be together if you are together. "Meant to be" is not a thing you figure out — it's a thing you simply are or aren't. That's basically all there is to it.
Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our new podcast, I Want It That Way, which delves into the difficult and downright dirty parts of a relationship, and find more on our SoundCloud page.
Images: CBS; Giphy(5)