The misfit couple who totally works somehow. The opposites who attract. The relationship that dissolved and came back together. Despite the fact that we're instructed to find love based on how "right" it seems initially, more often than not, the narrative surrounding the everlasting love (or, at least, the healthy, fulfilling, gratifying love) we're seeking comes around in the most unexpected ways. Often, the "signals" we search for to determine whether or not we should stick with it aren't what we should be looking for at all.
At the end of the day, there's often no real way to determine whether or not a relationship is "right," other than just sticking with it and waiting to see. There's no special code that lets you know you've found a soulmate, there's no feeling that suddenly overcomes you and tells you with unwavering conviction: "Yes, this is it." It would be nice if it worked that way, and it often does work that way for the sake of movies and books and other entertaining things, but we have to remember that sometimes the truth we want to exist in fiction is fiction itself.
So here are a few counterintuitive things that happen when you've found the kind of love you want to keep fighting for. The Real Deal. It's often not like what you imagine you're going to feel — which is why it's so important to understand that lasting relationships are about a lot more than just a good "feeling."
You Want The Same Things In The Long-Term, Even If You Don't Want The Same Things Now
You both want kids, you both want to live in a small city, you want to maintain the same degree of financial autonomy; essentially, you agree on the fundamental parts of life that are non-negotiable. While this isn't the only thing that determines whether or not a relationship will last, it's a huge part.
You Didn't Feel A Spark Initially
The "spark" that lasts is the one you build. When it happens immediately, it's just a chemical reaction — when it's something you develop, it's built of compatibility, respect and a true love for one another.
The Predominant Emotion You Have With Them Is "Calm"
As the Buddhists say, "If you meet somebody and your heart pounds, your hands shake, your knees go weak, that's not the one. When you meet your 'soul mate,' you'll feel calm. No anxiety, no agitation."
You Act Like Friends 80 Percent Of The Time, And Romantically/Sexually 20 Percent Of The Time
The right relationship for you is the one in which you are with your very best friend... who you also happen to want to have sex with all the time. However, people usually switch these percentages around, and end up wildly unhappy. Because what we mean by "act like friends" is "have a deep, profound compatibility."
You Aren't Swept Away; You're Grounded
Your life isn't transformed because you know them, but your life does make more sense. You feel a stronger sense of purpose, a deeper desire to work as hard as you can and establish yourself for the two of you. It doesn't save you, but it helps you save yourself.
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