When you are growing up, everyone tells you that you will “just know” when you’ve met the person you’re going to be with forever.
This supposed just knowing-ness will hit you one day, so clearly and concisely that you’ll never doubt it again.
Of course, we know this isn’t how it works for everyone. We know that nothing in life, and especially in love, is ever really a linear path. But is there a way to actually tell if someone is the love of our lives, before we get to the end of our lives to see? The answer is yes, though most people don’t realize it.
The person you have the most chemistry with is not the love of your life. The person who tells you that they are your soulmate is not the love of your life. The person who hits every mark on the checklist of what you always, always wanted is not the love of your life. The person who has always been there is not the love of your life. The person who you have mind-bending sex with is not the love of your life. The person you’ve been dating for years is not the love of your life.
Of course, any one of these people could be the love of your life, but any of those measures won’t tell you that.
There is only one way to tell that someone is truly the love of your life, and it is this: they make you the best possible version of yourself that you can be. This is what separates terrible relationships from great ones, because chemistry is usually not the differentiator.
It’s not about who that person is, it’s about who that person makes you.
The love of your life is the person you are most comfortable with, who you naturally feel that you can be yourself around. This is someone who makes you feel loved for who you most essentially are. When you are loved at this level, you transform into the best possible version of yourself you can be. This is what makes someone the love of your life, and nothing less.
Chemistry is actually really easy to come by. If that’s your measure, you’ll have a thousand soulmates in a life. A lot of people are attractive at the surface, and very few actually have the capacity to love you for who you are. Very few have the power to naturally make you want to be the best version of yourself possible.
The love of your life is not the person into whom you invest all of your time and energy and resources. They do not become your life. They are the person who walks alongside you, on separate but congruent paths, who inspire you and make you feel free enough to do all that you ever dreamed of, to be everything you always wanted.
This is what truly differentiates a soulmate from anyone else: instead of being so invested in the relationship, you seem to naturally begin to reinvest in yourself as well.
This works because to be in a happy relationship long-term, you do have to rise to meet your best self. You do have to confront your unconscious beliefs and attachments and fears and assumptions. You do have to heal. You do have to break free of what’s held you back. You do have to become a new person, and yet more yourself than ever before.
This is not just a nice option. This is the purpose that relationships have in our lives. Not to distract us from who we could be, but to help us grow into all that we already are.