How do you know if he is The One?

by singlemomseeking on February 16, 2010

Some of you come to this blog because you’re brand new single parents who have sworn to never date again. (I get it.) Others, however, have now fallen hard like me.

Let’s face it: when you’re a single parent, you’re not really a rookie at love anymore. You’ve been there, done that. And If you’ve been reading my blog since 2006, then you know how much I’ve written (ad nausea) about the man I hoped to love. So, how do you know if you’re found him, for real?

For exactly one year now, I’ve been with this cute, goofy, smart guy whom I refer to jokingly as the Lucky Guy (because, hey, I’m the one who’s lucky!) It didn’t take us very long to have “the talk.” Yeah, the one in which you decide that neither of you wants to date anyone else. The evening that we decided to be monogamous, it felt right — and it has felt right ever since.

If you’re in a relationship, how do you know he/she is the ONE?

So, far — in addition to that mysterious chemistry — here are the qualities I’ve come up with when it comes to knowing if this relationship is IT:

* He listens to you. Even when you cranky and overtired.

* He  makes you laugh. A LOT. (LG and I turn into big goofballs when we’re together.)

* And even when you get on each other’s nerves, you know that you’d still be friends. (One of our recent date nights took us to the mall because he needed new jeans, and I realized how much I love just hanging out with him.)

* He/she adores your kid(s) and really makes an effort to have a real, genuine friendship.

* He makes your life better, including plenty of hugs and kisses, and lots of cheer leading when you talk about your big dreams.

* You have similar values when it comes to family, friendship, sharing meals, and a loving home. (On that note, hopefully your own family and friends like him a lot, too.)

* You trust each other — and you trust yourself when you’re together. (This one has been the most challenging for me.)

I’d love to hear from men and women on this one. Thanks!

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Canadian Bald Guy February 16, 2010 at 3:51 am

It’s really hard to explain why you truly know the person you are with is “the one”.

For me, I came out of a quick under-two-year marriage feeling that I’d never find somebody who makes me happy in every way I could think of: mentally, sexually, etc.

When I found Sunshine, I knew right away that there was something different about her. We connected on a level I had never found before. And that connection thrives on every level, which I had never found before.

So I guess, at age 37, I knew exactly what I was looking for in a woman. I couldn’t exactly put it into words, but I knew. Luckily for me, this woman came along and fulfilled all of my expectations before proceeding to exceed them.

I always thought I’d have to “settle” in order to be married, but now that I’ve found what I’ve been looking for all along, the term “settle” just doesn’t seem to be something I’ll ever have to do again.

Bottom line? you know when you know.
.-= Canadian Bald Guy´s last blog ..Too Fat To Fly =-.

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Nicki February 16, 2010 at 4:56 am

There’s something to be said for a good fit, for someone who meshes with your life and with your kids. I need the man I’m with to embrace our crazy, silly, unpredictable life. I need a man who’s not afraid to get a little silly with us. I love having a man that I trust so much that I don’t even have to think about it…the very act of trusting. I love a man that has told me I’m safe…and he means in every respect…especially my heart.

I think I’ve finally got it right.
.-= Nicki´s last blog ..Sometimes goodbye is a second chance… =-.

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Lauren February 16, 2010 at 5:37 am

Rachel – I’m so happy to hear that you’ve found “The One.” I recently wrote about my same good fortune. In reading your post, I was amazed at the similarities in our relationships. I would put a big huge check mark next to each of the qualities you’ve listed.

Which got me thinking. Are these test qualities universal, or are they the qualities that make a relationship IT, because they are the qualities we enjoy in our relationship that is IT?

For us single parents, most of us have been in a relationship that was not IT. (Hello Captain Obvious!) But if we went back to the beginning of that relationship (when we were dating, or when we married, or when we decided to have kids – whichever apply), would we have made a list that suited that relationship?

I’m only playing devil’s advocate here, because for me, the answer is no. I’m one of those super smart girls who knew I was making a mistake when I walked down the aisle but did it anyway. But it’s something to think about.

I am in love with a man who meets all of my needs and then some. I could have posted your list on my blog and my friends and family would have assumed I wrote it. ISN’T IT WONDERFUL!?

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MindyMom/Single Mom Says... February 16, 2010 at 6:28 am

I agree with the things you stated above. Laughter, respect, trust – are all so important.

I think I would sum it up by saying that I want someone who could – and would – honor me in ALL situations. That includes the times we are not together and times when I may need someone to step up and have my back.

Know anyone? ;)

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Pippi February 16, 2010 at 6:39 am

I agree with everything you have mentioned. I have checked off the same boxes. The big thing that I have realized since my divorce is that there is no nirvana, there are always going to be things that come up. But, as I have said here before, I can settle for BF’s flaws because they just don’t bother me that much.
.-= Pippi´s last blog ..Mad Science with Pippi: Red Tube, YouPorn and Google =-.

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Kat Wilder February 16, 2010 at 7:27 am

Those are all great things, but I don’t think they’re enough in the long haul.

Couples argue most about money (yes, money), sex, children and housework. So, you have to be on the same page about those, which leads to one of the biggest “musts” — you must be able to argue well.

If you can’t communicate in a respectful way when you disagree, which every couple does, then there will be trouble.

And trust is a biggie, too, because you will need it to give each other the space.

You are both LGs!
.-= Kat Wilder´s last blog ..A teenage love triangle =-.

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Matt Savage February 16, 2010 at 8:23 am

Yea, you definitely seemed to have hit all the big ones, but for me it’s a lot of the little simple things that appear in a relationship. You know, little acts of kindness, like waking up in the morning to a cup of fresh coffee just the way you like it, doing the NYT crossword in bed together or knowing the exact things to say to comfort your girl or guy in a moment of distress.

I’m almost reminded of the movie, “Beautiful Girls,” where the character Andera exclaims the following:

“You know there are fours words I need to hear before I go to sleep. Four little words. ‘Good night sweet girl.’ That’s all it takes. I’m easy, I know, but a guy who can muster up those four words is a guy I want to stay with. “
.-= Matt Savage´s last blog ..Announcing the 45 Day Online Dating Challenge =-.

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singlemomseeking February 17, 2010 at 8:55 am

Wow, @Matt, seriously, that does it for me, too: a sweet loving goodnight, and waking up to coffee served to you in bed…. you got it!

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Honey February 16, 2010 at 9:21 am

I agree with Kat – it’s actually not that hard to find someone who has all those other qualities, but money, sex, children, and housework – those seem like the deal-makers (or breakers) to me.

I also think it takes at least 2 years to relax and truly be yourself around someone. I still had butterflies after a year – when the giddiness gives way to steady sort of happiness (that is punctuated by butterflies) that’s when you know.

I suspected Jake was the one after 2 years or I wouldn’t have moved in with him, but I don’t think I KNEW until we started living together and he helped me through the shock of a totally new city, the financial stress of having moved there without a job, and the total, utter BASKET CASE I was because of worrying about those two things.
.-= Honey´s last blog ..Moving, Meetup, and Other Updates =-.

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singlemomseeking February 17, 2010 at 8:57 am

@Honey: Before becoming a single mom, I would have also said that it took me a long time to relax (yes, more than a year) with a guy… But something about parenting around and in front of someone you’re dating seems to bring everyone to stark reality.

I’d be curious if others agree here? And that’s what makes date nights/alone time even more important, I suppose.

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Honey February 17, 2010 at 12:50 pm

I can totally see how it would be a lot easier to stay in “impress him” mode if you’re not a parent…when part of your life is an actual walking, talking other human being like a child, it’s got to be a lot harder to moderate the pace at which your life gets revealed to the other person (i.e., you have to open up sooner and hope they’re along for the ride, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing). Thanks for making me think!
.-= Honey´s last blog ..Moving, Meetup, and Other Updates =-.

Linda Medrano February 16, 2010 at 10:02 am

I’ve been a single mom, and found dating with small children daunting to say the least. When I was in my early 40′s, I met a young (22 year old) Navajo man who was in the Navy and leaving on a six month cruise the next morning. We sat and talked the evening away. He started writing to me while he was at sea. We wrote for 6 months and he called when he was back on land. We kept up as pen pals, telephone pals for two years before he came up to visit me in San Francisco. We celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary a couple of months ago. Special? Right down the list! Thanks for a great article!

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singlemomseeking February 16, 2010 at 10:51 am

@Linda: Aaaaah, I love it! Thank you.

All of you are simply blowing me away — and turning me into a big mush ball today.

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T February 16, 2010 at 11:34 am

How do you know?

I’ve been thinking about this myself, Rachel.

I thought my ex-husband was “the one”. I thought my friend D was “the one”. I thought the man I had an affair with was “the one”. I thought Soldier was “the one”…

I started doubting myself in the past year or so. I started wondering if I should trust my instincts on who “the one” really is/was.

Then it occurred to me that all of them were. Each one of them was exactly what I needed at the time to uncover more of who I really am. Each one was a mirror of where I was and how I needed to grow. With each one, I learned lessons of love and pain, beauty and destruction, fear and ecstasy.

Now? With Rascal? I guess I could call him “the one” but I don’t know how much meaning that term has for me anymore.

I simply know this…

I feel more alive and authentic and real than I ever have in any other previous relationship in my life.

And to me, that’s pretty spectacular.
.-= T´s last blog ..My Sexuality, part 2 =-.

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singlemomseeking February 16, 2010 at 3:44 pm

How true is that @T?

“Each man “was exactly what I needed at the time to uncover more of who I really am. Each one was a mirror of where I was and how I needed to grow. With each one, I learned lessons of love and pain, beauty and destruction, fear and ecstasy.”

Thanks for that one. It was a mutual friend who’d tried to set me up with LG a few years before…. but perhaps he and I would not have been ready for each other — yet.

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Mike February 16, 2010 at 1:02 pm

I think that’s a great list. I would add something about being physically affectionate. A healthy lifestyle would fall under the same values.
.-= Mike´s last blog ..The Uphill Journey =-.

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MC February 16, 2010 at 1:13 pm

Like Lauren, I too was a “smart girl” who married (twice!) even though I knew both men were really a bad fit for me. I can’t explain it except perhaps I didn’t like the things in myself that were different from them. For example, I’m a quiet introvert (a professor) and I married two raging party animals! One was actually a rock musician–LOL, maybe I thought they’d convert me!

Now that I’ve been dating my Patrick Swayze for 8 months…I’m just amazed at how frictionless a relationship can be. I don’t feel that old sense of slight un-ease, of being “challenged” by the relationship. I don’t have to look at life in a different way, or suppress my natural tendencies, in order to be with him. We have the same values, we like doing the same types of things. We’re not identical of course, but wow, it’s almost eerie how alike we are. Who knew a relationship could be so great? I know it’s only been a short time, but…….I’m thinking I could get used to this.

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Danielle February 16, 2010 at 2:42 pm

How about that they help you be a better person, but when you relapse back a little, they are still running besides you cheering you on.

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Lauren February 16, 2010 at 3:00 pm

That is a great one, Danielle. In fact, a favorite quote of mine (that I quote FAR too often – I should just have it tattooed on me and stop saying it all the time) is from Arianna Huffington in the book “On Becoming Fearless…” It is that “you know you are in the right relationship when you like who you are becoming when you are with that person.” (I shouldn’t use quotation marks. I probably botched it a little. See, all the more reason for the tattoo.)
.-= Lauren´s last blog ..On My Mind =-.

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SDMktg February 16, 2010 at 2:54 pm

I’m still trying to figure out how to get that “you just know 100%” feeling with all of the complexities life has now. I thought I had it the first time and that didn’t work so I have to figure out where the fear is really coming from.

One thing I do know is she soothes me. I feel calmer and less stressed when I’m with her. She doesn’t make my life harder and she really appreciates me for who I am. We have similar values on most of the important things in life. My kids love her and that is important. She is also exceptionaly patient, loving, and strong.

Will I ever get that 100% feeling or does it require a leap of faith this time around?

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Anna February 16, 2010 at 7:19 pm

T pegged it.

“I feel more alive and authentic and real than I ever have in any other previous relationship in my life.”

Yes, yes, yes!! This resonates, because I am feeling the same way right now, wanting to shout from the rooftops about my first, fabulous adult (as opposed to adolescent) relationship.

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Ewokmama February 17, 2010 at 12:06 am

I love this post. I have been thinking about this topic for a long time but was unsure of what direction to take a post of my own on this subject. Thanks for the inspiration!

As for how I know he is the one…we inspire one another to be better people and we confirm all those fanciful love ideas that we hoped for but were too afraid to actually hold out for.
.-= Ewokmama´s last blog ..Best spam comment ever =-.

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Swati Bharteey February 17, 2010 at 9:26 am

Hmm..this is an interesting question. I suppose I would add to your list above by saying he has to be someone to whom I can say anything (in terms of sharing my feelings) and know that he’ll care (even if we disagree).

But my quandry is this: part of what makes a great relationship is just the right quantity of “love is blind.” So maybe, it’s not him or you – it’s what you both work well together – and what can each of us be blind to (in a good way).

As I said, hmmm….
Swati
.-= Swati Bharteey´s last blog ..Brain Fog Mom =-.

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Legal Editor Mom February 18, 2010 at 9:44 am

All of the qualities on your list are important, but for me, after being married to a not-so-nice person, the most important aspect is his outlook on life and his morals and values. I could never again love someone who wasn’t a good person, inside and out. He has to have similar perspectives as me on things that matter and he has to be able to communicate openly and honestly on all things, big or small.

He has to honor me, to cherish and adore me, and put me and our relationship at the front and center of his life, right up there with God and his kids.

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Andrea February 18, 2010 at 10:21 am

I was married for 14 years, I have been divorced for about 15 months, and despite playing “catch-up” on the dating scene the first several months after my divorce, I am happy to include that I have been in a committed relationship for a little over 6 months.

The guy that I am seeing is great- we enjoy spending time together. He is thoughtful, courteous, attentative and my daughter is quite smitten with him (although he is the only guy I have dated that she has been allowed to meet); but, I can not fight this nagging feeling that our present condition is enough for me. I could not imagine waking up to someone, other than my daughter, everyday. Planning retirement, managing the household chores and bills with someone…”what’s for dinner”, ” don’t forget to put the trash by the curb”…

I like the space we afford one another living independantly, and I do not believe that will change- at least not any time soon. He, on the other hand, would like some reassurance that this relationship is “headed somewhere”. I think we may have already arrived.

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Single Soccer Mom February 19, 2010 at 12:43 am

You always see those cheesy articles on certain news sites, asking “Is He/She The One?” and posing as the essential checklist to finding your perfect soulmate…but I have to say you just created the Official Checklist with that post!

I am a single mom, from a ‘quickie marriage’ that is now dating my best guy friend of ten years. I can’t stress how important it is to have ALL of the qualities you listed. (Apparently I just had to learn the hard way!)

It’s funny you mentioned in your comment to T about not being ready for eachother… because I think timing IS another important factor! Had I not become a mother and gone through all the hardships of the last few years, I would not be the person I am today…and it is the ‘new and improved version’ that ignited a romance between old friends. Had we tried a relationship 10 years ago, it definitely wouldn’t have worked.

Thank you for sharing those qualities. I couldn’t agree more!

Glad to see you have found your ONE as well ;)
.-= Single Soccer Mom´s last blog ..Cougar or Just Young at Heart? =-.

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Ronnie Ann Ryan - The Dating Coach February 19, 2010 at 11:34 am

My favorite on your list is “makes your life better.” When I was first dating my husband, I was also seeing another guy. After 6 weeks, I couldn’t take it any more and knew I had to choose, but I wasn’t sure how. Then it hit me – who brings out the best in me? That made my choice obvious and easy.

I don’t know why I was so different with each man, but the postman (as I nicknamed him) brought out my inner bitch, even though he was a very nice guy. Where as my husband some how brought out the very best person I could be.

It was a very good decision – we’ve been happily married for almost 10 years. That was a great post!

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Carrie@getexbackproductreviews March 3, 2010 at 9:48 pm

Life is too short. Don’t rush into a permanent relationship until you know in your heart that they are the right one. Don’t settle for less than the one you can’t live without. Here’s to my hubby of 33 years and counting…

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The Well-Versed Mom March 8, 2010 at 11:17 am

I’m struggling with this myself.

Yeah, I too thought my ex was The One. Now there’s a new One who at first I thought was right, but now I’m not so sure. We’ve had problems and I’ve been having doubts.

What’s really different about it this time is that it’s not just me that my decision to stay or go affects. This time, there are two others – my young daughters – involved. So I feel it’s very important to make sure I make the right decision.

It’s so hard to know, though. I’m happy for those who know they’ve found their One. Right now I just feel so skeptical – life has no guarantees.
.-= The Well-Versed Mom´s last blog ..Mission Impossible =-.

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