While it may take a while (read: months or years) for your relationship to pass the “soulmate” test, you can certainly keep an eye out for signs things are heading in the right direction. When you find The One, chances are your connection will feel natural, comfortable, and secure — even in the earliest days. It’ll also be clear you both want the same things in life, and thus don’t have to force your relationship to make it work.
Of course, the process of figuring out if someone is The One is a hundred times easier when you know what you want in a relationship way before you start venturing out on Tinder dates. “If you have a well-thought-out vision for the core ‘must have' traits and values that you are looking for in a partner, you can start to identify these characteristics very early on,” certified dating and relationship coach Heidi Krantz, OTR, PCC, CPC, ELI-MP tells Bustle.
Tell yourself, tell your friends, write the traits down on paper — do whatever might help you zero in on what works for you and what doesn’t when it comes to being with someone long-term. It’ll help you rule out the folks who aren’t a good fit and also make it glaringly obvious when a partner comes along who has the potential to tick all the right boxes. Want to know more about the early signs he’s the one? Read on below.
You Have Fun Even When You Don’t Make Plans
When you’re with the right person, it won’t feel like you need to make elaborate plans every single time you hang out, Dana McNeil, PsyD, LMFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist and founder of The Relationship Place, tells Bustle. You’ll notice that it feels just as good to sit in a quiet cafe, run a few errands, or hang out at your apartment as it does to go to dinner and a movie. Heck, even getting stuck in traffic won’t feel so bad because you’ll be together.
You’re Fully Authentic With Each Other
A lot of that early comfort will stem from the fact that it’s clearly OK to be authentic around one another — there aren’t any pretenses or a desire to be “on” 24/7 because you’ve already accepted each other.
"Whereas many people go through life holding back major pieces of themselves from everyone else and only sharing what they want [to be] seen — when you find 'The One’ they really can 'see' you," matchmaker Shlomo Zalman Bregman tells Bustle. "Moreover, you will feel comfortable to be yourself and feel loved, without any pretense."
This mindset sets the stage for a solid relationship in the future, where you’ll both be able to communicate honestly and without judgment.
Conversations Flow Naturally
Speaking of communication, take note if it’s always seemed like the conversation flows naturally, Krantz says, from your first date onward. It doesn’t really matter what you talk about. There’s a nice balance between you talking and listening, and your partner talking and listening — and it results in the feeling that you “get” each other.
You’re Both Equally Invested In The Relationship
Nothing’s worse than realizing you’re the only one putting effort into a relationship. So take it as a great sign if your partner is just as invested and just as much into you as you’re into them.
As McNeil says, “The feelings of attraction, interest, and wanting to spend lots of quality time together will be shared and pursued with the same amount of energy and pursuit.”
You Feel Comfortable Telling A Few Secrets
If you find yourselves sharing tough memories or divulging a secret or two early on, therapist Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW says it goes to show you have a gut instinct to trust each other. It’s clear that your partner is someone you can open up to, and vice versa.
It goes one deeper if you’re both faithful to that secret and keep it private — not even telling a best friend. It’ll build a deeper level of trust that will grow over time. And that bodes well for the future of your relationship.
They Want To Listen
Your soulmate will not only want to listen but actually hear and digest what you’re saying — especially in life’s less-than-ideal moments.
"They ask how you are doing sometimes without even sharing their own personal issues," Hershenson tells Bustle. "Listening to others' problems and lending an ear [...] lets you know they are fully present to listen to you."
They’re Genuinely Kind
This one might seem obvious, but if your partner is genuinely kind — and you see that early on — it really might be a sign they’re your soulmate.
"Couples research shows that kindness is an important trait for a partner if a relationship is going to last," David Bennett, a relationship counselor, tells Bustle. "Early on, observe how kind they are, but especially to other people.”
McNeil echoes this saying, “It’s an old cliché to notice the way a person treats a waiter at dinner to get an indication about how they will treat you when they get comfortable around you. The reason is because someone who is dismissive or minimizes other people’s feelings, contributions, or value in an unbalanced power scenario likely isn’t able to acknowledge or empathize with those who are impacted by their behaviors.”
You Share Values & Want The Same Big Things In Life
Goals and values can shift from person to person depending on what priorities are most important to you, but Bennett says often include certain ethics and morals as well as top life priorities. Think kids, marriage, travel, careers. If you see eye-to-eye on all the big stuff, you’re definitely heading in the right direction.
You Respect Each Other’s Differences
While you’ll obviously have a lot in common values-wise, it’s a great sign if you’re also able to accept each other’s differences without holding any grudges. “Healthy and happy couples not only tolerate but respect the differences between each other,” McNeil says. “You don’t have to agree with your partner, but your core values about how you expect to be treated and how you handle differences of opinion or core needs should be mutually honored.”
Your Friends & Fam Love Them
If the people closest to you give your partner a stamp of approval, they very well may be the one. Not only is it important for everyone in your life to get along, Bennett says, it’s also great to have a positive outside perspective.
Of course, what you think will always matter most. Not to mention, friends won’t always get a full picture of what goes on between you and your partner. That said, your network's approval does mean a lot. These people have your back and want the best for you, and will be happy to let you know that your partner seems like a great fit.
You Both Admit To Mistakes
Admitting mistakes is key. "The most successful, dynamic couples have no difficulty admitting when they were wrong and fell short of treating their significant other properly," Bregman says. Even early on, a good partner will be able to admit fault and focus on apologies and how to move forward. Being right in an argument won't matter as much as working through problems together. What's more important is that you're able to disagree in emotionally intelligent, sensitive ways, and to forgive each other when the situation calls for it.
“Partners who are open to taking ownership and responsibility for making repair attempts when conflict or misunderstanding occurs are likely to feel more drawn to each other,” adds McNeils. “This shared sense of empathy for each other and a desire to fix issues right away shows both partners want to make sure the other person knows they are committed to the long-term happiness and viability of their connection.”
Your Lives Easily Mesh Together
Another sign? Everything is just easy with your partner. “The one who is ‘right’ for you will likely be at comfort with adjusting to other parts of your life, such as how you both like to spend your downtime,” McNeil says. “If you can imagine this person sliding into your daily life and being a complement to what you already enjoy doing and who you like spending time with, then you are more likely to feel this person is a perfect fit.”
Your First Argument Goes Well
It might sound weird to talk about an argument in a positive way, but it really can reveal who your partner is. “Conflict is normal in relationships and it’s good to get a glimpse early on that tells you what this person is like when they get heated,” therapist Rachel Gabrielle, MA, LMHC tells Bustle.
So ask yourself a few questions: “Do they still treat you with respect and hear you out? Does the conflict lead to a greater understanding of each other? Or, does the person shut down, become defensive, or ignore you?” Gabrielle says. “Don’t sign up for a lifetime with someone who mistreats you during an argument.”
Things Are Moving Forward Steadily
When it comes to speed, you won’t want this relationship to move too fast or too slow. If you go to either extreme, you run the risk of the relationship fizzling out. Not to mention, someone who moves too fast or too slow might not have your best interests at heart.
In speedy relationships, Krantz says it may not be you that your partner loves, but the idea of you. They may be in love with falling in love, and anyone could fulfill that role. In slow relationships, chances are they aren’t ready to commit and are just stringing you along while they decide. Neither situation is fair or healthy.
If you’re both able to maintain your own lives, see each other a few times a week, and don’t move too fast, chances are you’re developing a genuine connection with this person.
Their Words Match Their Actions
When you find the one, you won’t have to question their intentions or secretly wonder if they’re a good and genuine person. And that’s because their words will always match their actions.
“So, for example, if your potential partner tells you how amazing you are and how much they love being with you, but they do not clear time very regularly to spend with you, then they are providing the words without the matching actions,” Krantz says. “When words and actions match, that builds well-earned trust.”
With that trust, you can build a long-lasting relationship.
You Feel Like You've Known Them Forever
Have you only first met but you feel like it's been years? That could mean something. "When meeting or dating someone new, it's normal to feel uncomfortable, uncertain and unfamiliar," Caleb Backe, health and wellness expert for Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. "However, if someone new feels like they're just 'right' to you, and there's no discomfort or uncertainty at all, you may have found the one. This is a sign of soulmates making a true connection." Just make sure that the gut feeling you have is one that's motivated by genuine intimacy, and not lust or the excitement of a new relationship — then you'll know it's a foundation that was built to last.
Things Feel Different From Other Relationships
If they make you feel something you've never felt with anyone else before, it's a sign they could be a soulmate. "Particularly for those who have dated a lot of people, this can be an overwhelming feeling," says Backe. "There's an indefinable sort of quality to a date during which you feel like you're experiencing something totally new, and this can be a surefire sign that you've met 'the one.'"
Their Happiness Is Most Important To You
This realization allows you to know that you fully love someone and that it is beyond infatuation. "When you truly care about someone deep enough that you are ready to sacrifice your feelings, time, situation...without expectation for anything in return, then you know they are the one for you," relationship consultant Andrea Adams-Miller, MS, CHES tells Bustle. "Likewise, if you find out that they feel that way about you, then you have a keeper. This is the type of relationship where the other is willing to love you unconditionally as you are with no expectations for you to be something else or someone you are not."
If you happen to see these signs early on in the relationship, it could mean that you've found someone who's right for you. If you find it's worth digging a bit deeper, feel it out and see how it progresses. It might turn out to be forever.