5 signs you’ve found the one, according to psychology

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In an interview with Marie Claire some years ago, actress Blake Lively said she knew that fellow actor Ryan Reynolds was the one for her because of the mix of love, attraction and comfort level she felt with him.

This combination helped her to recognize that Reynolds had huge potential to be part of her life for the long haul.

“I knew he would always be my best friend for my whole life,” she said. “That was the biggest thing to me. I’d never known anything like the friendship that I had with him. I could like him as much as I loved him.”

Relationship experts say there are some signs to look out for when you’re in a relationship to determine whether the person you’re with is your person for life—or at the very least—for the long-term. 

Here are five signs you’ve found The One, psychologically speaking.

1) You’re drawn to them on all the love levels: physically, emotionally, and even spiritually

Physical attraction is important but you have to make sure that it’s not purely infatuation that you feel for your person.

Infatuation often solely revolves around physical attraction and desire, says Arianna Williams, LPC, CCTP, from Better Help.

“While these elements can be present in true love, they are typically more pronounced and prioritized in infatuation.”

When you’ve found The One, there is an emotional and intellectual connection that takes precedence.

“True love involves a deep emotional and intellectual connection that goes beyond physical attraction,” says Williams. “It’s about common values, goals, and a genuine understanding of each other.”

Ideally, compassionate love should take precedence over solely passionate love when it comes to The One, says Kendra Cherry, MSEd from Very Well Mind.

Passionate love is obviously characterized by intense emotions, sexual attraction, and affection.

“Compassionate love, by contrast, is characterized by mutual respect, attachment, affection, and trust,” says Cherry. “This love usually develops out of feelings of mutual understanding and shared respect for one another.”

2) You love them for who they are, but you want to be part of one another’s growth as well

Most people think that it’s a good thing not to want to change your partner. 

While you should be accepting of the right person for who they are today, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t help them grow and evolve, and vice versa, says Kathryn Ford, MD.

“Link acceptance of the present to a vision of change for the future,” she says.

Ford related the following anecdote about a friend of hers.

“I’ve tried so hard to accept him and not try to change him,” she lamented.

Ford’s response: “Why?!”

Why does it have to be either, or?

Acceptance is actually part of successful change.

“Part of who we are is that we are capable of learning and changing,” she says.

“Full acceptance includes acceptance of this capacity for change. Acceptance uncoupled from expecting change reflects the belief that people are who they are and that they don’t change. This is not acceptance but resignation.”

Ford says that for a successful long-term partnership, it is vital to collaborate for positive change by accepting both who your partner is today and who they might become in the future.

“The vision inspires us; acceptance helps us to be patient and loving for learning that is often both long and hard. What could your relationship be if you committed to the adventure of helping each other become better at loving?”

3) You inspire each other to be the best version of yourselves

My mother has often said that her humor markedly improved from being married to my dad because he had such good wit.

She also credits him with inspiring her to become a more patient person.

Similarly, my dad’s fashion aesthetic significantly improved with my mom’s influence.

She also helped him to be more sociable and get out of his comfort zone.

Falling in love certainly feels good, and spending time with a romantic partner is enjoyable, but when you truly find the right person for you, the benefits of love run even deeper, says Gary W. Lewandowski Jr., from Monmouth University.

“People tend to value partners who help them become a better version of themselves.”

Lewandowski says that one way to optimize self-growth in your relationship is by sharing in your partner’s unique interests and skills.

“When ‘me’ becomes ‘we,’ partners blend their self-concepts and include the other in the self. That merging encourages partners to take on each other’s characteristics, quirks, interests, and abilities to some extent.”

Romantic partners will inevitably have different life experiences, knowledge bases, perspectives, and skills, says Lewandowski. “Each area is an opportunity for growth.”

That isn’t to say that couples should completely merge their individual personas with one another and risk losing their unique sense of self, but at the same time “each person can maintain their own identity while augmenting it with desirable elements from their partner.”

4) You celebrate each other’s successes

Years ago, I remember dating someone who was successful in the sports field.

I thought it was great that he was passionate about what he did.

I was just starting out in a different career field at the time, and any time I landed a particular project, I would excitedly tell him about it. 

Before long, his responses became less and less enthusiastic.

Soon enough, I brought up something about work (something he did about his own work on a regular basis), he started to become sarcastic about it, even belittling it in comparison to his own career.

I wasn’t comparing, I was just sharing.

But he didn’t see it that way.

The competitive streak he had in his sports job translated to our relationship and it became a huge turn off.

I think being with the right person entails being with someone who celebrates your wins and props you up during the busts. 

You’re not supposed to compete with one another.

Rather, you’re both bringing a different aspect of life to the table. 

The experience taught me that having a supportive partner was non-negotiable for me. 

Being with The One means having someone who truly enlivens the relationship through what psychologists call an active constructive response when they hear about our successes. 

“An active constructive response shows generosity of spirit and eagerness to hear more about the good news,” says Linda and Charlie Bloom from Psychology Today.

“Celebrating triumphs in life, from small, seemingly trivial ones to those that are more significant, strengthens the bond between two people,” the therapists say. “Being genuinely enthusiastic in responding to a partner’s good fortune can have a positive impact on them.”

5) You can envision living happily ever after with them (but not in the fairytale sense of the phrase) 

No doubt it’s wonderful to find The One, but that’s where the real relationship actually begins—not where it ends like in many rom-coms. 

Love becomes a choice and a decision because your actions decide whether the love lives on or ends, says Hope Gillette from Psych Central.

“You are in control of how you act in your relationships and how much you push past conflict and challenges,” she emphasizes. “When you decide to work on communication, trust, intimacy, or emotional security, you’re choosing love.”

Hormones can certainly sweep you off your feet in the beginning, lasting love requires conscious decision-making, adds licensed marriage and family therapist Elizabeth Earnshaw.

“As your relationship grows, your hormones will no longer be the driver of your feelings,” she says. This means you need to be the driver of the feelings. You do this by actively choosing to be a loving partner.”

Building love—which is actually emotional intimacy—takes effort and action.

Isabella Chase

Isabella Chase, a New York City native, writes about the complexities of modern life and relationships. Her articles draw from her experiences navigating the vibrant and diverse social landscape of the city. Isabella’s insights are about finding harmony in the chaos and building strong, authentic connections in a fast-paced world.

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