Are you already dating your soulmate?
If you’ve ever found yourself seriously contemplating saying "I do" to your partner, you know that the thought can be exciting and terrifying all at the same time. After all, how do you know if that one person is really, well, the one?
Unfortunately, no logical equation exists that can help you cut through the haze of love and romance so you clearly see if you two are a perfect pair. But relationship experts agree that there are certain signs to look for to help figure out if you have the right mix of personality and chemistry to make it for the long haul.
With this in mind, we asked relationship therapist Megan Fleming, PhD, to share the crucial questions to ask yourself about the strength of your bond. If you can (honestly!) answer yes to each one, you just might want to put a ring on it.
Do we both feel the same way about commitment?
“If you’re thinking about a long-term future together, it’s important to be on the same page about marriage and fidelity,” says Fleming. “We live in an age where people negotiate things like monogamy," she explains, and not everyone accepts the same definition of the word. Be sure you have a shared understanding of what commitment means, because it's unlikely you can successfully maintain a lifelong relationship with someone who doesn’t share your views on marriage or monogamy.
Do we support each other’s growth individually and as a couple?
The right spouse will want you two to grow as a unit, and that person will also encourage you to pursue your own personal growth as well. According to Fleming, partners should not only thrive together—say, by trying new activities or mixing it up in the bedroom—but also as separate individuals.
“Do you have the time and space to pursue your career ambitions, hobbies, and interests apart from your partner? Does your partner support them?” asks Fleming. If yes, you’re probably with someone who will encourage you to keep striving to be the best version of yourself. And of course, make sure you give your SO the same leeway to reach goals and develop as an individual too.
Do we fight right?
All relationships have their frustrations, disappointments, and hardships, says Fleming. It’s how couples handle these setbacks that speaks to how solid their connection really is. “Instead of avoiding conflict, strong couples have the confidence and ability to make repairs and seek a win-win solution for both parties involved,” she says. A partner who negotiates with you, rather than forces you to compromise, when conflict arises is one you’ll be able to (respectfully) disagree with for decades. Yes, that's actually a good thing.
Will I be happy having sex only with this person for the rest of my life?
Assuming you both intend to be monogamous in the old-school, no-cheating-allowed sense, the next consideration is how you feel about only being sexual with this person potentially for decades. Physical attraction can come and go, says Fleming, and a major key to maintaining a long and satisfying sex life is to make sure your attraction goes deeper than physical appearance.
As long as your partner makes you feel good and sexy, and you’re comfortable expressing your wants and needs in the bedroom, you’ll likely have the skills to keep your sex life in good shape—even if you encounter dry spells over the years.
Can I see us sticking together through bad times?
Wedding vows ask you to have and to hold from this day forward, and for better or for worse. So be sure you'll want your partner around during life's for-worse moments. “You should be able to imagine this person being by your side in a time of crisis, whether it’s a lost job, a health issue, or a death,” says Fleming.
While your relationship might be rosy now, the bottom line is that life can get hard. Make sure your SO is someone you’d want with you as you trudge through the tough stuff—and that you'll support them too when times inevitably get rough.