Wifeys & Gentlemen,
Before we get started, I just want to let everyone know that yes, Ms. Renai is still alive and well (and about 2 months away from her wedding, which has made me slow on the blogging). I am sorry for my 1.5 month absence, but…better really late than never, right?!
At some point in our lives, we have all heard the phase “when you know, you just know”. As someone who has been on the sending and receiving end of this particular brand of torturous clichés, I can say that I completely understand why people both vehemently despise and (conversely) wisely agree with this statement when it’s said. For those of us who are single and still out there fighting the good fight, this phrase can sound like nonsensical noise! Even those of my readers who are in reasonable relationships might feel a slight twinge of irritation at this; either wondering if something is “wrong” with them or constantly questioning why they don’t “just know” yet, even after a certain period of time with a partner they really care for.
For me, I used to be filled with a lot of self-doubt when I would hear this, not because I was worried that it didn’t apply, but because I was paranoid that I couldn’t trust my own emotions. Realistically, many of us will encounter moments where we truly feel like we “know”. How many times have we thought we were in love with someone and it didn’t work out? Heck, the relationship I was in before I met my fiancé was supposed to be “it” for me. Mind you, I was young and foolish and I didn’t realize that the very person I was planning to spend my life with was abusing and manipulating me for nearly 6 years, but at the time, I thought I was one of those “lucky” few who could say they knew deep down that their one was THE one.
Still, as time marched on and I eventually met my fiancé, I understood in an instant what this phrase really means and how different it truly felt for me when I really did “know” versus when I thought I knew.
…Are you confused yet? 😉
Believe it or not, how to know when you “know” isn’t actually even the point of this post. Personally, I believe that moment is unique for everyone and deeply personal. We do not all speak the same love languages and so logically, one person’s “aha!” moment will likely not be the same as someone else’s. However, while I do believe that those moments are individual and indescribable (for the most part anyway), what is a bit more universal is your ability to recognize when your relationship isn’t heading to a happily ever after.
Now, if you’re anything like me, you might be rolling your eyes and thinking to yourself “Ms. Renai, just because my relationship is similar to what you’re describing here, doesn’t mean we aren’t meant to be” and to that I’d say you are 100% correct. However, since I am a girl who is all about research, the signs I am going to list in this post are based on a healthy mixture of personal experience, marriage and family therapy education, common sense, and well reviewed articles from both credible and “popular” sources. So as always, do not take these words as gospel. However, and hear me out here first, if you do find that even 1 or 2 of these items on this list really do apply directly to you, all I ask is that you take some time to reflect on them and perhaps (if it bothers you or concerns you) communicate these concerns to your partner. Being confident in and serious about your relationship means meeting possible challenges and bumps in the road without hesitation (not necessarily without fear, because that’s normal). The items in this list are narrowed down from what could be a much longer list, but I felt that they were the most universal and (perhaps) the most important to watch out for. If they apply, ask yourself if you and your love are as “meant to be” as you thought.
- You feel like you are always “working on” your relationship rather than actually just being in it. All relationships take work. You’re a fool if you believe that it should always be easy 100% of the time. Still, there is a marked difference between being willing to work on a relationship to make it last and feeling like you are constantly trying really hard to work on stability and normalcy. If the times you are “working through” your problems outweigh the times when you are just enjoying being together, you might have an even larger issue on your hands. Don’t get me wrong; some relationships take more work than others. Moreover, couples that have been married or together for a long time might find that their relationship changes unexpectedly and they might discover a need to take some time out to work through those changes. This is NOT the type of couple I am talking about. I am talking about the couple that is hyper aware of and always trying to “overcome” their issues. I’m talking about the couple that can’t sustain stability for extended periods of time. I’m talking about couples that fight more than they love. For all of the work that relationships take, I firmly believe that when you’re with the right person, things are easier. They make your life easier. You make their life easier. They make the hard times easier to cope with, because they aren’t always the source of your hardship. If you and your partner are under more stress together than apart, take a hard look yourself and who you are in this relationship before deciding that this person is “the one”.
- You can call him/her/them everything…except your best friend. Some of you might be compelled to challenge me on this one and that is fine. I understand that there are a lot of people who do not believe significant others need to be best friends in order to survive. However, in my experience (as well as the experience of ALL, yes ALL, of the successful couples I know) I think the opposite is true. The relationships that work, and I don’t mean simply function, but actually work in a loving and functional way, are built on the foundation of genuine and honest friendship. While I do think phrases like “I’m marrying my best friend” are often overused and have become cliché, I can honestly say that my fiancé and I are besties and we started that way before moving into dating/romance. Look; romance, sex, attraction, butterflies, and twinkles are all things that come in stages and waves. Don’t misunderstand, if you love your partner, it is assumed that you will always love them, but in real, long term relationships, the lovey-dovey parts come and go (this is normal, trust me). When I look at the people I’ve been friends with for many years, I notice that we have been able to survive distance and disagreements because we respect and trust each other enough to do what we can to keep our friendship strong and real. Ask yourself these questions: can you do with your partner what you do with your closest friends? Do you share your secrets (within reason) with him/her/them? Do they know you as well if not better than your friends do? Do you find that you often crave “friend time” not because you haven’t seen them in a while, but because you can be a different person with your friends than with your S/O? This might be a red flag when you consider spending your life with someone that you can’t just “chill” with. Relationships, in my humble opinion, are best friendships with bonuses! They are more than a friend and mean more to you in the long run, but when it comes down to brass tacks, you’d almost rather spend your time with them than with anyone else. Do you really want to be with someone who you don’t enjoy being around 75% of the time?
- You have a vision for how he/she/they will be in the future or hold out hope that they will significantly change. I don’t need to go into too much detail here. We’ve talked about this before. Real talk: we all have things we wish we could change about our partner (small, insignificant, and often times, silly things that don’t really matter in the grand scheme). However, if you’re in a relationship with someone who you hope will make significant changes to their personality or you find yourself wishing that your partner would act like a completely different person or adopt a belief structure that they simply do not have, you’ll be waiting for a long long time. If you cannot accept someone as they are in the present, you can’t expect that you’ll be able to accept them in the future. Period.
- Your logic and reasoning for why you are “meant to be” is…well… logical and rational. I’ll admit, this one might feel extremely unfair, but I think it’s really important. If you ask two people who truly love each other why they want or feel that they are truly meant to be together, their response will almost always be something along the lines of: “there are millions of reasons why I love ______, but when it comes down to it, those reasons don’t even matter. I can’t quantify my feelings. I just know.” (I said this to a friend once, about 6 months into dating my current fiancé…don’t tell him!) Those couples might not always work out in the end. Those couples might have bumps in the road or go through serious trials and tribulations to overcome an obstacle. But I’d be willing to place my bets on them beating the odds every single time. If you’re reason for loving someone is logical, physical, rational, or ‘anecdotal’ (ie: “this one time, I got really sick and she nursed me back to health for 6 months, no questions asked”) then I think you’re missing something. Unfortunately, it’s not something that can be explained, and that’s likely frustrating.
You might not think much of this post, and in many ways, I understand you. I was there myself before. I went from believing I was with “the one” to not believing “the one” really existed and back again. I know there are people who would argue that my version of love is “unrealistic” or “fantastical”. There are those who might have been in a relationship for the past 10 years and don’t understand a word of what I’m saying. While you are more than entitled to your opinion and I fully support everyone’s right to feel and express love in whatever way makes sense for them, I know without a doubt in my brain that the way I feel in my relationship is truly unlike anything I have ever come close to experiencing before (and that’s including the man I was 100% sure I would marry many years ago). I know without a doubt that I’ve felt it, this thing I can’t describe, from the very first conversation I had with my fiancé. It’s the thing that allows me to smile even when I’m mad at him (or when he’s mad at me). It’s the thing that makes me believe that we can and will survive anything that life has to throw at us. It’s the thing I see when my mom and dad smile together in pictures, when I am out with some of our happy couple friends and I notice them laughing and joking together. It’s the thing I’ve come to believe in as an absolute truth.
Bottom Line: If you think your love is THE love, cherish it. Work on or through your issues in the best way you possibly can and always keep fighting and standing up for this person because you believe in them. Maybe your “aha!” moment is closer than you think!
Until Next Time,
Carry on Wifeys
** I promise to do at least 1 more post before the month closes out! I should be coming into some down time in the next two weeks! Ha-zah!