How do you know if your partner is ‘the one’?

How do you know if your partner is ‘the one’?

Both Alderson and Pochotna agree that thinking in terms of “the one” can be extremely dangerous. “It’s a romanticised concept that doesn’t reflect reality,” says Alderson. “There are many people out there who are compatible with us in different ways. Humans are natural storytellers, and we use narratives like ‘the one’ to add meaning and purpose to our lives.”

Adds Pochotna, “It’s a nice fantasy, but real life isn’t a romance novel. Strong relationships take plenty of effort and a commitment to growing together. If you’re waiting for the perfect soulmate who can fulfil every aspect of your life — emotional, intellectual, sexual, and practical — you’re going to miss out on amazing relationships that could develop into something special.”

In other words, it’s kind of impossible to realise that your partner isn’t “the one,” as the concept is, in itself, something of a myth.

Gut instincts in relationships matter

Even though the concept of “the one” may be a myth, thinking about whether your partner isn’t the right one for you can still be a helpful gauge of the relationship.

“Gut instincts in dating can be incredibly powerful — it’s our intuition speaking to us,” says Alderson, explaining that if you feel something with your partner isn’t right, you should listen to your gut.

“Our subconscious mind can pick up on subtle cues and patterns that our conscious mind overlooks. Essentially, if your gut instinct is telling you someone isn’t right for you, it may be that your subconscious is picking up on red flags or incompatibilities that you haven’t acknowledged on a conscious level.”

However, because there isn’t really only one perfect person out there for you, it’s important to remember that your partner is unlikely to be a perfect fit — ever. Relationships require work, communication and compromise — so instead of asking yourself whether your partner is the one you’ve been waiting for, ask yourself whether they’re right for you — whether you’re both willing to put in the work you need to in order to make your relationship work.

Pochotna explains, “Always trust your gut, but don’t expect it to find you ‘the one’. Rather, it’s about finding someone worth sharing the journey with — but don’t expect to reach your destination without a little effort.”

Signs that the person you’re with isn’t the right “one” for you?

So, what are some signs that your partner simply isn’t someone for you?

Lack of compatibility

“If you and your partner have fundamental differences in values, goals, or lifestyles, it can be a sign that it won’t work out long term,” Alderson says. “It doesn’t matter how much chemistry you have; if you’re looking for completely different things in life, it will be challenging or impossible to sustain a healthy, fulfilling relationship.”

Poor conflict resolution

“Every relationship has its ups and downs, and how you and your partner handle conflict is crucial,” she says. “In fact, how a couple deals with conflict is one of the best predictors of relationship success. So if you find that you can’t communicate effectively or resolve issues without resorting to unhealthy behaviours, it may be a sign that this person isn’t for you.”

Lack of stability and security

As Alderson notes, nothing is more important than feeling safe in your relationship. “If you constantly question your partner’s feelings or intentions, it may be a sign that they aren’t right for you,” she says. “A healthy relationship should make you feel understood, accepted, and supported.”

Unhealthy behavioural patterns

She adds, “If you find yourself falling into unhealthy patterns, such as constantly seeking validation from your partner, feeling overly jealous or possessive, or compromising your own values and needs for the sake of the relationship, it can be a sign that this person isn’t right for you.”

Inability to be your authentic self

You should always feel like you can be yourself with your partner. “A major sign that someone isn’t ‘the one’ for you is when you feel like you can’t fully be yourself with them,” she says. “If you have to hide certain parts of yourself or change who you are to fit their expectations, it can be damaging to your self-esteem in the long run.”

So, you’ve realised your partner isn’t “the one”

If you have come to a realisation that something just isn’t right in your relationship, honesty is key.

“Sit down with your partner and talk through what you need, how your partner feels, and whether you both want to work to improve your relationship,” suggests Pochotna. “If you do, try couples therapy or regular heart-to-hearts. But if it seems broken beyond repair? It’s time to prioritise your happiness and part ways.”

Ultimately, the idea of “the one” is just that — an idea. Nevertheless, if someone isn’t “the one” for you, don’t ignore what you gut is telling you.

As Pochotna puts it, “There are many ‘ones’ out there for us, so instead of seeking perfection, consider this: Are you having fun right now? Are you excited for the future? Do they make you feel safe? You have your answer.”

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