While the idea that everyone has one true "soulmate" may be up for debate, there are certainly a number of ways to answer the question "
is my partner the right one for me?" And often, it requires nothing more than noting how you two handle yourselves when times get tough. If you can love and help and support each other through thick and thin, there's a good chance you're a healthy couple.
But if your partner consistently lets you down, there's a good chance they're not all-in — and thus might not be soulmate material. "If your partner is in the relationship for any reason other than true love ... [they] will have little incentive to put in the work necessary to solve the relationship problems,"
certified counselor Jonathan Bennett tells Bustle. And when things get hard, they might not have the tools to push through it.
Keep in mind, though, that being with a "soulmate" doesn't mean everything's magically going to be easy. "All relationships require hard work and dedication," Bennett says. "If you expect perfection from your soulmate, you’ll definitely be disappointed." With that in mind, here are a few situations experts say can test a relationship, and help reveal whether or not
your partner might be "The One."
Going On Vacation Together
Nothing tests the foundations of a relationship quite like boarding a plane, hitting up a cruise, or going on a road trip together. "Going
on a vacation together can be a great way to learn about how well you and your partner fit," relationship coach Laurie-Anne King tells Bustle. "Going somewhere neither of you have been before forces you to adapt to a new environment and can allow 'true colors' to come out." This is all thanks to the stress traveling often causes.
How you and your partner interact and handle these ups and downs can serve as a fairly accurate barometer for how you might handle the other ups and downs of regular life. As King says, "How do they respond when they are faced with the unknown? In a foreign environment are they able to adapt? Do they express an interest in your interests?" If you can mostly get along through it all — and return home wanting to go on another vacation sometime soon — then there's a good chance you make a great pair.
Meeting your partner's family (and having them meet yours) can truly be an eye-opening experience. First, you'll want to see that they're even open to the idea of meeting those closest to you, especially since any hesitation might be a
sign they're not fully committed.
Second, meeting the family offers the opportunity to look deeper into each other's pasts. "Most people's models for a relationship are formed from the relationships they saw and experienced in their originating family," King says. "Pay attention to how family members treat each other and most importantly how your partner treats [their] family members." While everyone can certainly grow and change, any signs of disrespect may mean they're not soulmate material.
And finally, while you don't have to adore each others' families, being able to remain calm under family-related pressure is yet another sign you and your partner will be able to weather anything, and make it for the long-haul.
Dealing With Something Unexpected
Nothing like life throwing a curveball your way to teach you about yourself, your partner, and your relationship. So pay attention to how you two handle hardships. "A good long-term life partner is someone who can weather the storms with you," King says. "If one of you loses your job, gets injured, or has a death in the family — this is a real test for the strength of your relationship and the character of your partner. Do they respond with strength to the challenge? Do they respond with support? Do they allow you to support them?" Or do they shut down and leave you hanging? If they go the latter route more often than not — and can't offer a reasonable explanation for why they do so — they may not be your soulmate.
Having A Difficult Convo
If you and your partner can get through tough, embarrassing, or upsetting conversations together and come out the other side feeling stronger and more connected, that's a pretty good indicator that the might be "The One".
"I first knew my husband was serious when he brought up something I did that had upset him," says King. "He wanted to work through it. That told me that he thought I was someone who was worth having that uncomfortable conversation with, so that our relationship could be better on the other side. He didn't want to sweep it under the rug because he saw us having a long future and wanted to create a great foundation to our relationship." And that can really mean a lot.
Going Through Major Lifestyle Changes
If your partner likes you just as you are, that's wonderful. But they should also be able to offer support you through a change, too. "If you decide to ... pursue any major lifestyle change that benefits your health, someone who is your soulmate will support it out of love for you," says Bennett. Someone who isn't your soulmate, on the other hand, may become intimidated when you suggest making a change, or try to hold you back. And that's
not what a soulmate should do.
Since careers are such a big part of life, you'll want to be with someone who can ride those waves with you. As Bennett says, "If you have a chance to pursue your dream job, find yourself unemployed, or face any career difficulty, a soulmate will be encouraging and stick by you as much as is possible." So keep an eye out for how your partner reacts, whether your career news is good
While we all hope we'll never have to go through a crisis, they
do happen. And it's in those moments that you can learn a lot about how your partner handles themselves under pressure.
"If feeling stress or pressure makes them lash out at you or mistreat you, this person is not a soulmate," licensed marriage and family therapist,
Racine R. Henry, PhD, tells Bustle. "Adults should be able to handle negative stimuli in a way that does not make others feel unsafe or upset. Being angry does not give a person an excuse to be mean or destructive within their relationship. Especially if whatever is bothering them has nothing to do with you."
Having A Big, Blow Up Argument
While you don't want to be in a relationship that's chock full of fights and blow ups —
since that can be — it is OK to have the occasional argument. And when you do, make sure that you're with someone who can handle themselves in a mature way. incredibly toxic
"If you have a huge fight on a serious issue and talk through it by making compromises and not blaming [each other] other it's highly likely you have met your soulmate,"
relationship expert Jennifer Seiter tells Bustle.
Speaking With Service People
While you should let your partner slide once or twice if they're in a bad mood, take note if they can't seem to speak to people in the service industry without being rude. "If they're rude to wait staff, taxi drivers, delivery people, etc., your partner may be a person who looks down on others or is unappreciative of another person's work," Henry says. "That could show up in your relationship if they feel your efforts fall short." And that's why it might be something to take note of.
How They Act Around Kids & Pets
If you're planning on adopting a dog or having a baby someday — or simply want to be with someone who is calm and caring — definitely pay attention to how your partner acts around kids and animals, as this is often a major test of character.
As Henry says, "How your partner treats animals and children can reveal whether they are a good match for you. Pets and kids are the epitome of innocence in our society and if your partner cannot interact with either in a nurturing and caring way, that can give you insight into whether this is who you want to be with long-term."
Going Through An Illness
Illnesses are often the ultimate test of a relationship, since they require one partner to rely heavily on the other. But it's in moments like those that you discover whether or not your partner is true soulmate material.
"Some partners are unable to handle or deal with things when their partner becomes ill, whether it is the flu, a chronic medical problem or something more serious," Henry says. "If they ask you and help you, that is fabulous and you can consider them a good partner or a soulmate, if you wish. However, if they disappear or do not offer to help you, this proves they are unable to handle or help you in those instances."
All of that said, it is up to you to decide which of these signs are important to you. And ultimately, whether or not your partner seems like they might make a great, long-term partner.