When you're in a relationship, and feel yourself beginning to wonder
if your partner is "The One", that's the perfect moment to take a look around and assess the overall health of your relationship. For one, if you see this thing lasting long-term, you'll want to make sure there's plenty of communication going on, and that you two are comfortable sharing your feelings and opening up to each other.
Because communication really is everything. "In a long-term relationship it is truly essential to feel comfortable enough to talk about anything, from trivial things, to gross stuff, to major decisions that will shape your future as a couple,"
Sonya Schwartz, a dating and relationship expert, tells Bustle. "Not being able to talk about certain things may show either a lack of interest in one or both partners, fear, or lack of trust. These are all indicators your partner might not be 'The One.'" Or, that you two just aren't ready.
communication can take time to build. So if it feels like you haven't yet created the relationship where you both feel comfortable sharing certain things, it's certainly possible to work on it. You might practice this habit on your own or even in couples therapy, where you can pick up a few tips for opening up. That said, if your partner is able to say the following things out loud, you two very well may be on your way to a healthy, long-term relationship.
"I Want To Try This In Bed"
While it might be awkward to
talk about sex — especially when it comes to sharing fantasies — it's a great sign if your partner is able to open up about theirs.
"It’s not about fulfilling or not those desires," Schwartz says. "It’s more about expressing them and letting you know they exist. Not being able to talk openly about this means there isn’t enough trust between you two, which consequently means they might not be 'The One.'"
You obviously don't want a relationship that's packed full of blame. But you do want a partner who can
share their feelings, and let you know when they're feeling frustrated.
"They can [not like] a certain behavior, [such as] the fact you’ve hidden something from them, or even the fact you forgot something important to them," Schwartz says. "Not being able to talk openly about frustration leads to resentments and may clearly indicate they are not 'The One.'"
It doesn't really matter if your partner does or
doesn't want kids, or even if their dreams match up with yours, as much as it matters that you talk about it.
"Partners are often frightened to talk about this, especially when they don’t know the other’s standpoint," Schwartz says. "If you already had the talk and decided to have kids but your partner has changed their mind in [this] regard, they should be able to say it out loud."
It's one thing to listen, but something else entirely to listen attentively. As Dr. Tessina says, "Both of you need to
learn to listen to each other. If you learn .... [to say] 'tell me more' until the full story is told, you’ll fight less and enjoy each other more."
As Dr. Tessina says, if your partner can recognize the good things you do and offer praise, you may have a keeper. Bonus points if they build you up and encourage you when you want to try new things.
While not everyone's quick to laugh, you might be with "The One" if you know exactly how to lighten each other's mood . "A shared sense of humor will get you through a lot of tough times in your relationship," Dr. Tessina says. "Learn to make each other laugh, and use it often."
Being able to say "I love you" is so important, Dr. Tessina says. But even if your partner isn't the type to say things like this out loud, try to come to an agreement for
other ways they can say or show their love, so you aren't left hanging.
"The first human need is the need for certainty,"
Julia McCurley, an Austin-based professional matchmaker, tells Bustle. Without it, you won't have what you need to build a healthy foundation for your relationship. So if your partner trusts you, and you trust them, that's everything.
"Asking for help instantly conveys respect," McCurley says, as well as trust. If your partner can ask for help, even when they prefer to do things on their own, you may have something special.
A long-term relationship will be healthiest if you and your partner feel secure enough to
admit when you're wrong. Being able to say things like "you're right" or "I see your point" means this person is "secure enough to back down graciously, because ultimately they feel you're in it together," McCurley says.
If your partner is the type
who can forgive and forget — by working with you to patch up old problems — they may very well be "The One," McCurley says.
"The right person believes, without thinking, that a portion of their happiness comes from seeing their partner succeed," McCurley says. "And that means they not only celebrate your success — they help you achieve it."
"You're My Best Friend"
It's important to have other friends outside the relationship, so that you aren't relying on each other for
everything. But a solid foundation of friendship really can make things more fun. As McCurley says, "I believe it’s important to have some element of true friendship in a relationship." Friendship will help guide you through tough times, as well, and add to your relationship's foundation.
"The right person sees the good in you, over and over again," McCurley says. "The right person is also consistently appreciative."
If your partner is looking towards the future, and sees you as a couple, they'll start to use words like "we" and "us." As
Toni Genovese, LCSW, tells Bustle, using these plural pronouns is a subtle sign they're just as committed as you are.
Similarly, your partner may be "The One" if they're clearly thinking ahead and making plans for years down the line. As Genovese asks, "Are they doing any future planning with you or just staying radically in the present in the relationship?" The former can be a major indicator that they're in this for the long-haul.
"How Can We Pay For This?"
"There are a lot of topics, like finances or living together, that can be uncomfortable to talk about if you aren't compatible or with 'The One," Len Rubel, founder of
Strategy for Dating, tells Bustle. But if you can talk about things like bills, debts, and future financial goals? That's a good sign.
Your relationship has a great shot if your partner is the type who can share what's important to them, and stick to their guns. "If they
cannot openly share issues that are non-negotiable [...] then these issues will arise within the relationship and become 'dealbreakers,'" Grace Getzen, an intimacy and relationship coach, tells Bustle. "Everyone has non-negotiables [...] and [you] need to not only know what they are but trust [your] partner enough to share them."
There's a good chance you've got a rock solid relationship if you can talk about the tough stuff, such as sadness and depression. As licensed professional counselor
Julie Williamson tells Bustle, "Emotionally healthy partners in healthy relationships are able to communicate their feelings, both positive and negative, with the knowledge that they will not be retaliated against by their partner." And if you don't already have this, it's something you can definitely work towards.
Many people think being with "The One" means never arguing or getting angry. But that's actually the opposite of what you want.
"'I'm angry with you' is something your partner should be able to express [...] if they are a good partner,"
relationship expert Jennifer Seiter tells Bustle. This shows that they are in tune with their emotions and are comfortable enough to be open with you. If they bottle up those negative emotions, that often leads to breakups."
"Today Was Terrible..."
While you don't want to vent to each other 24/7, "your partner should be able to complain to you about anything that bothers them,"
Davida Rappaport, a psychic and spiritual counselor, tells Bustle. "If your partner doesn’t tell you something is wrong, their mild annoyance could eventually turn into anger and destroy your relationship. You want them to complain or say what is on their mind." And vice versa.
You know you're with "The One" — or at least well on your way to a healthy long-term relationship — if communication with your partner is open and clear. If you want things to work out, you should both feel comfortable saying these things out loud, even if it's scary or awkward, because doing so truly
shows you've got each other's backs.