There are a lot of articles out there telling us what we should look for in a partner, what men want from women, what qualities women look for in men.There's a lot out there on how to fine someone, but how do you distinguish between someone and The One?
1. They treat you like their equal.
Equal doesn't have to mean that you split everything 50/50. It may mean that you share the bills in a way that is proportional to each of your incomes so as to not put a larger burden on either partner, or it may mean that you cook while they clean the dishes or vice versa. One of you may choose to stay home, should you have children, while the other works outside the home. This, too, can be seen as an equal distribution of work and responsibility as long as both parties respect one another's roles. Equality can be represented in any aspect of your relationship in which both you and your partner feel respected and heard when you make a decision on the division of responsibilities.
2. They don't keep score.
"I fed the baby last time."
"You don't cook dinner as often as I do."
"I come see you at work all the time but you never visit me."
"Why am I the only one walking OUR dog?"
In a relationship it's easy to pay attention to what your partner isn't doing for you compared to everything you do for them, but this is no way to live. Instead, voice your concerns early on when you feel that there is a problem, and focus more on what they are doing. The Love Languages test is a powerful tool in discovering more about yourself and your partner so you can better understand the way that you each show and perceive acts of love. If you prefer to show/receive love through the dedication of quality time and try to give your partner your full attention frequently, yet they perceive love through physical touch, there will be a disconnect because you are loving one another in the best way that you know how, yet the other may never realize it.
3. They genuinely apologize.
I say genuinely, not frequently, because unless they actually mess up frequently (which is a problem on its own), neither person should be giving or expecting apologies out of compulsion. In order for an apology to mean something, the other person needs to recognize their wrongdoing and show remorse for their actions. It is a true sign of maturity when a person will not let their ego get in the way of admitting that they were wrong. And even if you don't think you were wrong and your partner is just being irrational (I'm guilty of the latter more often than I'd like to admit), an apology simply for hurting their feelings can go a long way.
A helpful tool to help you and your partner understand one another better is the Apology Language profile. This can help the two of you learn and explore the apology type that each of you are most receptive to.
4. You feel secure.
Someone who is constantly threatening to leave you in order to manipulate you is not your partner—they're your emotional abuser. The person that you choose to share your life with should share your love, not take advantage of it. No matter how much you love someone, you can't make them love you back. The One will never make you feel unloved or unwanted and would never take advantage of your fear of losing them because they recognize the importance of both physical and emotional safety.
5. You have things in common
Without shared interests, your conversation with your partner will just be filled with meaningless chatter and listening to the other person talk while you wait for your turn to speak, meanwhile neither of you really hear each other. Your shared interest could be in hobbies or topics that you can enjoy together or in qualities that you both share. Whether it be screaming at the football game together, reading side by side, or appreciating and enjoying one another's passion for what they love, this connection is integral to your relationship.
6. But not everything.
You know what they say, opposites attract and all that...but mostly this is just important for the sake of having some things remain just for you, separate from your relationship. If you have the same job, hobbies, favorite food, and toothbrush as your partner, you can risk becoming codependent and unable to separate your identities from one another. Plus, let's be honest, you can love someone with your whole entire heart and then some, but that doesn't mean that you don't need some time apart to enjoy your own separate hobbies/friends/etc from time to time.
My partner and I each have things that we absolutely love but don't quite understand the other's enthusiasm for. We both recognize that if we were to force one another to participate in every activity that we enjoy, everyone involved would end up unhappy. Instead, we give one another space to enjoy what we love and are both thrilled that the other has things in their life as well that make them so happy.
7. They just plain make you happy.
When people ask me how I know that I never want to be with anyone else, like, forever, I say it's because I've never gotten tired of the man I'm with. Which may sound like I'm blowing off the question, but for someone like me, that's actually huge. I've never met anyone else who I would rather spend time with than be alone. Our lives and hearts and personalities have always just clicked in a way that I couldn't explain even if I tried and he just makes me happy. Your partner could be literal Prince Charming and your dad could love him and your mom could be begging for grandchildren the minute you bring him home but if his presence doesn't make you thrilled to be alive then he's just not The One.