No matter how grounded or realistic you are, when you're ready for a serious, long-term relationship, there's always that hope that the person you just started dating might finally be "The One." For the most part, it's much easier to tell early on if someone's really not for you (i.e. if it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't). But recognizing the early signs that your partner is your soulmate isn't always as easy.
While recent study published in the journal Personal Relationships found that love at first sight isn't actually real, Licensed Clinical Psychotherapist, Julia Colangelo, LCSW tells Bustle, that knowing someone is "The One" can actually happen immediately.
"Early signs can be spotted immediately to about six months, only if you have regular, near daily contact, and have agreed to the status of your relationship whether it be open, monogamous, or polyamorous," Colangelo says. For people who are dating exclusively but don't have consistent contact (you go an average of two or three dates per month), this would be a much longer process. "I would say folks who feel or believe in their soulmate (because not everyone does) might really have a sense for a person quite early on IF both individuals are being their authentic selves," Colangelo says. Because, let's face it, being authentically you in the beginning stages of a relationship isn't always the case — which is why she says many people often feel "tricked" after the honeymoon phase is over.
So if you want to know if your partner is right for you early on in your relationship, here are nine signs you should look out for.
1It's Easier Than You Would Expect A Relationship To Be
Of course, relationships do take work. But it shouldn't be a constant rollercoaster of major ups and downs, especially early on. So if you could describe your new relationship as "refreshing," then that's probably a good sign.
"This does not mean easy," Colangelo says. "It's simply easier and less drama free. If things start off rocky, there must be a commitment to see things through, otherwise that may be a red flag."
2You Began With Honesty
You can't have a successful, long-term relationship without honesty. When you first start dating someone, it's easy to hide certain aspects of yourself away until you become more established. But if you find yourself comfortable with being open and honest to your partner early on, that's a good sign that they really might be the right one for you.
"If there's a sense of safety and a holding environment where you feel confident in the other person with any information or experiences you share, they could be it," she says.
3You're Not Having The Same Doubts With Others You've Dated
Many of us enter into new relationships with some kind of past baggage that make us hesitant to take the next step. But when you find the person who's right for you, you're not going to have the same doubts that you had with other people.
"This doesn't mean that you're naive about the relationship," she says. "Instead there is an experience of hopefulness in the other person and what you're sharing with them as opposed to previous experiences."
4You Feel So Much More Confident In Yourself
If being with your partner has made you feel stronger and more confident, that's a really good sign. "...This means you're feeling comfortable and your brain is sending you messages that you are in a safe and comfortable setting," Colangelo says.
Be sure to pay attention to these feelings. "Others at work or friends may comment on these changes, and they are meaningful and likely connected to your level of confidence with the other person."
5You're Both Willing To Do Whatever It Takes To Spend Time Together
If you're a workaholic, this could mean leaving work before a certain time in order to catch a late dinner, or changing from working out at night to the morning so you can make date nights. "It may seem almost unrealistic to others, but you both find yourself saying and feeling, 'I can't wait to see you again' followed by the actions to then actually see each other multiple times per week," she says.
6You're Both Open To Love At The Very Beginning
Feeling hopeless after every failed date or relationship can have a way of closing you up to finding that special someone. But believing that you deserve someone who loves you and treats you right is important. "This is vital if there is opportunity to grow together," Colangelo says. "If you're feeling this openness at the very beginning (and so is the other person), this is a sign in the right direction."
7You Can Tell Each Other Anything
"The core of a solid relationship is communication, both verbal and nonverbal," Colangelo says. That's why she says having the ability to put aside your pride or fear of rejection to confide in your partner is an important sign to look out for.
"Hiding our deepest secrets can lead to feelings of dishonesty and mistrust which don't tend to lead to the strongest relationship foundation. We all experience and fear rejection however I encourage clients to share those pieces earlier rather than later — never the first date, but surely within the first six months of a relationship."
8You're Both Planning Ahead To Be In Each Other's Lives
If you're both planning ahead by inviting each other to parties, family events, and work events in advance, that's a good sign you see each other as long-term. "This willingness to blend your work, social, and personal lives together is fundamental and will be vital if you are to partner up for the long haul," Colangelo says.
9They Bring Out The Best In You
One of the best ways to tell if your partner is your soulmate early on is recognizing that they bring our the best in you, and you bring out the best in them without either of you losing your own identities. "It's not going to be perfect," Colangelo says. "But if it's mostly positive, you're onto something!"
It's important to remember that "The One" can come into your life at any time. They might not look or be the way you always imagined them to be. You might recognize they're right for you right away or it may take some time. But as Colangelo says, "Have trust." If it's a healthy, stable, and consistent relationship, it can go the distance.