How Do You Know If They’re The Right One?

January 1, 2017 163 23 No Comments


How do you know she’s / he’s the one?

For those of you that are in a current romantic relationship, are you able to see if he or she is “the right one”? Knowing if he or she is the “right one” requires a fundamental base of understanding and appreciation of what your significant other has to offer. Successful interpersonal relationships reflect a happy balance between the environment that surrounds them, and of course, their personal characteristics (this will be explained more as you read along)! All of these factors are intimately woven to create a certain synergy that constitutes a successful relationship.

Before explaining when one would know if their significant other is the “right one,” it is important to abandon some of the misconceived ideas that permeate the world of relationships. Below are few of the myths that many come to assume when approaching relationships:

Myth 1: Opposites attract!

While this may be the case with some couples out in the dating world, it is also important to understand that the similarities shared by a couple build a more fundamental base for a relationship. A sense of commonality between couples in terms of personality, interests, and goals can strengthen the relationship to a level that provides reciprocal and continuous positive support for each other’s visions. In addition, we also need to realize that the differences between individuals are obviously a part of what makes us unique and it also allows us to appreciate what the other person has to offer.

Myth 2: Being in a relationship with “the right one” will mean that we should never have any arguments. 

Being in a relationship will require a sincere and genuine effort from both individuals. While it may be ideal for couples to click on all levels, there is bound to be a certain level of disagreement on some issues (whether it be cleanliness, a realization of each other’s pet peeves, etc). At this point, having and sorting these differences will require a level of compromise, patience, and understanding from both parties. For those couples who continually insist on saying that they never argue, stay away from them. Having a certain level of conflict (if maintained correctly), can provide a certain level of growth and newfound understanding for each other’s habits, wants, and needs. Just be sure that the arguments are constructive. 

Myth 3: Being with “the right one” will mean that our passion will last forever.

No. To clarify, psychological research demonstrates that there are two types of love: compassionate and passionate love. Passionate love involves feelings that include elements of physical intimacy and sexual desire. Compassionate love involves intimacy mixed with a level of heightened commitment, comfort, and security. While passion certainly helps to kickstart the beginnings of a relationship, understanding that developing mutual respect and interest in each other’s perspectives, personality, and experiences will go a long way towards fostering a successful relationship. Essentially, passionate love can be viewed as a short term experience as opposed to compassionate love, which is a more long term experience.
While there are many more myths that I would love to personally dismantle, but for the sake of brevity, I will leave you with the most fundamental 3 myths!
Now, what makes your significant other “the right one?” We know that romantic relationships allow us to share a level of intimacy that is different that of than a platonic relationship. Rather than providing you with specific cues and characteristics that may seek to define “the right one,” this article will aim to give you a general guideline in knowing whether or not he or she is “the right one.”
As referenced initially in the beginning of the article, successful relationships include factors involving a balance between the environment and their personal characteristics. What does that mean?
An accumulation of psychological research indicates that the degree of attraction in relationships can be dictated by physical proximity, similarity and physical attractiveness.
If you have ever taken a Social Psychology class, one of the indicators in forming a strong base for a relationship is whether or not individuals are even close to one another in the first place. In providing proximity, couples are readily accessible to one another, ultimately increasing the frequency of contact between them.
Just because an individual will have a higher chance of running into the other person, would that mean that they will automatically like them more?
Not necessarily. However, the mere exposure effect, founded by Robert Zajonc, demonstrates that the more you are exposed to something, the more you tend to like it. While it is not absolute, the chances are simply that much higher.

The degree of attraction can also be dictated by similarity. As referenced briefly in Myth 1, people that share certain similarities tend to like each other more. We generally like to be surrounded by people who think alike, because their values confirms our values and perceived validity of the world (and vice-versa). Studies have shown that couples that typically marry are generally similar to each other over a wide category of characteristics.
However, for people who still believe in the idea that opposites do attract, they believe in the idea of complementarity. This is the tendency to look for other people with characteristics that are different from their own selves. While this may be the case, it is important to know that the idea of seeking traits different from our own will lead to finding traits that are different, yet complement our own characteristics.
Therefore, while sharing similarities would generally be regarded as a rule for stronger attraction, being complementarity can also be considered an exception.
Physical Attractiveness
While personality and its accommodating characteristics certainly go a long way in solidifying the relationship, we can’t help but first ascertain whether or not we are even physically attracted to an individual in the first place. A person’s appearance is the very first thing that we notice during our initial interactions. Sometimes, we can’t help but feel a specific reaction in our gut upon first glance. It is automatic! For those who are still concerned, understand that it is a normal psychological experience. Our brain relies on a concept called “schemas,” which provide us with a “mental shortcut” to be able to make quick (however sometimes inaccurate) decisions on how we approach a specific subject. We rely on past experiences and knowledge in order to make this decision. Any element of attraction that you have experienced previously will build upon your standard of the “ideal” significant other, thus shaping your experiences with the next person.
One specific aspect of physical attractiveness is the Halo Effect, where those who are perceived as physically attractive tend to also possess certain qualities that are positive (whether that is true or not). Regardless, people may attempt to approach those are considered physically attractive more often than not.
What Now?
In coupling several of these factors, we barely begin to scratch the intricacies of determining who is “the right one.” There are millions of things that we all may think we should consider. However, in acknowledging these intricacies and understanding that being in a successful relationship requires both a natural attraction and effort to develop and maintain a deeper sense of intimacy between a couple, you can begin to utilize the guidelines provided above to help determine and shape “the right one.”

Social Psychology, Edition 3. Gilovich, Keltner, Chen, and Nisbett. pg. 368-380

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