Too many times, too many of us have asked our friends and parents how they knew that their spouse was THE ONE and the same answer has been echoed: "I just knew". What does that mean? This feeling of knowing that seems to escape our lives in some many other areas seems to stand firm when it comes to relationships. There is no further explanation although in some cases they say "it was time" and that just raises more questions. In an article by Mikko Kempe, he addresses what it means to just know. He has finally addressed something that even I have struggled with: that knowing is not just about that person.
We tend to think that we will KNOW something about our partners that will enlighten us, bring us to the point of changing, settling down, letting go of adolescent desires. It is actually more about yourself.
Our generation (yuck) has a different set of values than our parents and this can make their advice on relationships a bit obsolete, although it is not all together lost. We are focused on a person that meets certain superficial requirements as well as other emotional and personal needs. Many of our parents (for those of us whose parents are over 50) may have sought out different traits, such as cleanliness, level of responsibility, maturity, career stability and mutual personal values. We are now abandoning a lot of these things in exchange for a partner whose interests more closely match out own, and later find that some of the more 'practical' parts of relationships and marriage do not work. This does not mean that they are not THE ONE, or that we can not rely on our intuition to guide us. It may mean that we are evaluating the wrong aspects to try to come to a conclusion.
Mikko says that, above all else, we have to be ready for THE ONE to even begin to ponder them at all. According to Mikko, there are four things that one must have in place to make this decision:
1. Your heart has to be fully open.
2. You have to have the ability to be fully honest with yourself.
3. You have to trust your intuition.
4. The timing has to be right.
I agree completely on this. I have somehow stumbled upon these truths in the last year or so. Not meeting even one of these conditions can lead you away from finding the person who matches you.
Being open is more complicated than it seems, and is the first barrier to having a lasting relationship. How does one know how to be loved? Sometimes, we think that giving love is enough, but it is not fulfilling to your partner if they can not completely love you back. I have spent a lot of time with people who did not think they were worthy of truly being cared for, and the conflict that it causes is a huge one. We all have to accept ourselves as we are, with faults and achievements and gifts to give and all. I have a ton of things that I think I could do differently but I still think that even if I never fix them, I am still someone worth loving.
Most people are not fully, really, honest with themselves. This can be about ANYTHING. Their true career desires, bad habits, or even what it is they are really capable of handling in a relationship. I have a friend that is hell bent on being with a tall, beautiful, intelligent blond woman. Yet, he has fallen short of being mature and intelligent himself. He is not honest with himself that he is not matched to this perfect woman of his dreams, nor is he honest with the fact that these superficial qualities do not at all guarantee a fulfilling relationship. I think we all have to know who we are, how we are viewed by others, and what people are an actual match to that.
I don't want to really dwell on intuition because it's kind of a catch 22. It is really important to know and trust your gut, but we always seem to trust it at the wrong times. Our gut says "get that two scoop ice cream sundae" and we do it, yet when it screams, "that car salesmen is a con!", we go on and buy that car anyway. Many people think that they have a type because there has always been a pattern in the people that they have dated or who find them attractive but I know that for me, my gut told me otherwise. I had to stop dating musicians, FOR REAL. Just because that's what you've done, it doesn't mean that's what you should continue to do. Some revamping of our guttural desires is sometimes needed to get the real answers we seek.
But ultimately, all of this has to come at the right time. People often say "you'll meet someone when you're not looking" and I think that by this they mean that you are no longer needing someone in your life; you have worked out some major kinks and when you are content with yourself (and realizing that you ARE worthy of loving), someone out of the ordinary plops into your lap. They aren't necessarily the one, but you are more able to see the path clearly versus having it cluttered with leaves and shit.
Why does this seem so hard? It is easy to write out; it is easy to say to someone. The truth of the matter is that it takes work to make all of these things fall into place. KNOWING if someone is THE ONE is not as easy as craving pasta and going to the restaurant and ordering it and it's placed in your lap; you have to make it yourself. Working and toiling and putting in all of the right pieces makes for just the right dish.