Last year I saw it: the Facebook wedding photos. An old friend had married her teenage sweetheart. Dressed in white, she and her husband posed beside green hilltops and stretched land. They looked like the picture-perfect couple, but I think her partner is not the one.
“He feels a little boring”, she once told me. On paper, he’s Mr. Predictable: safe, trusting, in a secure job with a well-to-do family… ideal qualities for a husband. When she spoke about him, she didn’t gush about fun memories or romantic moments. He was somehow present in her conversations, yet never the central topic. For a person that’s supposed to be your other-half, can a soulmate be comprised with life attributes?
Do people ever end up marrying their most passionate lovers, or do they leave them and ride into the sunset with marriage dependable? Kind of like when Ben Affleck left J.LO and wedded Jennifer Garner.
The Daily Mirror published research commissioned by Fridhem Publishing in 2016, finding less than 25% of British people believe they’re with their soulmate. The study also reveals 80% of British couples would consider divorce if their dream partner appeared.
Expectations vs. reality + age
The idea of settling down seems boring. I mean, I’m not the biggest party-goer or wild about town kinda gal who attends the best club openings, but I’d like that option to remain. Does marriage still hold a traditional view: once you’re in a wedded partnership, your behaviour needs to adjust?
I think a lot of people separate their lives – the fun, young freedom; the serious, committed devotee. They date all the wrong people, overdrink, sleep and fuck random strangers. Then they reach a certain age, start thinking about a family or house to settle in, and look for someone who offers them stability to make this possible.
I’ve been an online dater for a few months now, and I know why we’re single. Dating app user demands 100% compatibility, otherwise it’s fair game to ghost, bench, crumb a date along.
There are several hurdles to get a date, never mind a relationship. To find a person who wants to spend the rest of their lives with you – that’s not something to quickly give up. Especially if you’re ready to get married and/or have kids. That’s probably why statistics suggest many don’t feel they’re with their Mr or Mrs Right.
What if there’s nothing wrong, but you wonder…
Is there a better candidate? Some friends don’t feel comfortable ending a relationship based on a what if. One in a long-term relationship, described the kind, sweet nature of her boyfriend – but, she feels something may be missing. She can’t articulate exactly what, and it’s confusing trying to figure if she’s experiencing a usual itch, or if signs are whispering to move on.
Most couples go through uncertain times. I’ve listened intently to sad phone calls relaying upset and doubt, only to learn a few days later, the couple have blissfully reunited, showing more affection than before.
And likewise, I’ve seen people reuse the same excuses, desperate to not leave. In relationships surpassing five years, I hear: I really do love them; we get on so well. I could be happier, but I’m happy.
We don’t want to feel a relationship has been a waste, a bad investment. It’s easy to pretend away problems and use love as a backup for reasons to stay. If you need to analyse whether you can overlook flaws and nuisances, perhaps that’s a factor in deciding your partner is not the one?
Signs your partner is not the one
They don’t appreciate your worth
Humans tend to dislike change. Partners may want their other halves to remain in the boxes they found them in. This Huffington Post piece says, ‘the one’ won’t pressure you to fit their ideals. They’ll motivate and support on what’s best for you. Which also means acting as a safe space from career concern and life anxiety.
Their dream board differs from yours
How does your partner picture their Sunday afternoons? What do they want to do for leisure? We usually think about compatibility in terms of broad interests and aims within the next decade, but I think our pleasure aspirations are just as important.
One friend told me how a couple split during their holiday abroad. The male wanted to walk-around, sight-see and eat local cuisine; the female planned nothing but beach and pool sunbathing with restaurants serving home comforts.
You share different life expectations
What are your end goals? Do you both want to move abroad and retire by the beach, or are you hoping to stay active and keep working well into your later years? If you want kids, do you agree on how they should be raised? Everyone has a set of non-negotiable aspirations – these ideally need to fit with the person you’re with.
It feels like you’re settling
Is it enough to be content? When you look at your partner and imagine your lives together, do you make several excuses? Do you turn a blind eye to them not helping round the house or getting on with your friends and family, as they work a stressful job or have other desirable qualities?
You fantasise the single life
If you’re looking at your single friends in awe of their independence, maybe your relationship doesn’t offer enough satisfaction.
There’re more sad days than happy
A clear sign your partner is not the one. We ultimately form romantic attachments in the hope they bring more joy. While we can’t expect that every day, we can demand more loving days than sad; more calmer times than angry.
They don’t challenge you
Who wants a doormat? It’s nice to have adoration, but nice doesn’t always fulfil needs. And nice can lead to boredom. Providing they don’t belittle or humiliate; your partner should feel comfortable to sometimes advise you to push harder or edit your goal tactics. You should mutually be able to encourage.
It feels too much like a friendship
Some say your partner ought to be your best friend, others believe that’s expecting too much from one person. I personally need to value and respect who I’m with, as a friend and person, but I probably wouldn’t consider a boyfriend a bestie.
I like a little mystique and intrigue – I want romance and sexual longing. If romance has died too early, and if a lover shows no interest in making an effort, I’m not considering them a soulmate.
Your partner controls
Your partner is not the one if you feel you have to hold back on your achievements, plans and thoughts in their presence. It’s not healthy for aggression, snide remarks, relentless criticism and the silent treatment to form in a partnership.
Ideals on soulmates vs reality
Some of us hold grand wish lists for our soulmates: The perfect physical appearance with the perfect ideals and the exact same interests. Often, upon realising the average human cannot live up to these requirements, some go the opposite direction and look for a person that’s somewhat attractive, somewhat similar…
Maybe the one is a person somewhere in the middle of what we want and what we can have? Or, just someone who makes our lives feel that much more amazing… most of the time.
What’s an absolute dating no-no, and what are you willing to compromise on?