“The Buddhists say if you meet somebody and your heart pounds, your hands shake, your knees go weak, that’s not the one. When you meet your ‘soulmate’ you’ll feel calm. No anxiety, no agitation.” – Monica Drake
Love, dating, relationships: it can all feel like too much work sometimes.
I believe all we really want as human beings is a calm, knowing existence – and love is not excluded from that. Unfortunately, a lot of modern day tales of love would have us believe that true love is a mixture of chaos, concern, and fraught anxiety. It can’t really be love if you aren’t on tenterhooks about your desired mate.
I’ve fallen foul of that belief a few times myself, and I’m quite certain that more than a few of you reading this will be nodding along knowingly too. It’s easy to justify the wrong relationship with the idea that love is ‘supposed to be hard work’ and that it’s supposed to challenge us.
While I’ll agree, the right relationship should challenge you and help shape you – this should only to be to become a more authentic, happier version of yourself. It should not leave you with bitter thoughts, tear stains, and feelings of self-doubt.
A friend asked me a couple of years ago about what I thought about relationships and meeting potential partners. I told them that meeting someone to have the above style of relationship with was the easiest thing in the world, but meeting the one? That was the hard part. And ultimately what I was striving for.
The biggest differences between being in a relationship with someone and the one are:
You believe them when they reassure you.
No matter what your past or current situations might be – whether you’re still processing some hurt from past relationships, or you currently experience anxiety – your partner will see this as a part of who you are and reassure you. It won’t be the generic, tight-lipped, forced reassurances you might have experienced from previous partners either.
It will be loving, heartfelt, and delivered in a way that shows you they want to help you work through what you’re feeling, so the two of you can then channel that energy back into your relationship together.
And the best part? You’ll believe them when they do.
Their success feels like your success.
And vice versa! When good things happen in either of your lives, you’re each other’s first point of call, without a second thought – and you celebrate together.
I’ve been in relationships where good things have happened and I’ve held off telling my partner because of how I felt they’d respond – unsupportive, jealous, and vindictive. It’s a toxic experience and if you’re reading this thinking that’s what I’m doing, I’d recommend having a long think about your relationship. Likewise if your partner tells you about their successes and you find yourself feeling bitter.
When you’re with the right person and something good happens for them, you automatically feel like something good has happened for you too – and it feels amazing.
You can genuinely be yourself.
In more than one of my past relationships I’ve been pulled aside by my then partner and questioned on why I behave differently with my close friends compared to when I was around them. The truth? I didn’t feel like I could be myself with them, and the way they treated me when I was myself had a lot to do with that.
Being with the right someone means the ability to be you, completely. You don’t worry that your slightly eccentric ways of being are going to be judged – usually because your partner is too busy laughing and joining in with you.
You also both understand that even though you love each other, you both have quirks that might drive the other crazy. Your partner might use way too lengthy analogies to explain things when you just want them to get to the point, or you might not admit when you’re wrong straight away. You understand these things as a part of each other and as a part of your relationship.
Not only do you accept it but you also have the safety and confidence in your relationship to be able to say “it bugs me when you do that, but it doesn’t stop me loving you.” And believe it or not, you’ll find those words are quite magical.
You share the same values.
No matter what those values might be, fundamentally at the core of your relationship, you hold the same ones.
You don’t have to have exactly the same interests, but you do need to value what your partner cares about. You don’t have to be striving towards the exact same goals, but those goals do need to support the core values of your relationship.
You also understand what ‘value’ looks like to the other. You have to know what is meaningful for your partner and how they find meaning from you – and you have to practice it. This might happen naturally or you might spend years working on it together. When you’re with the right someone, you’ll both work at it until it’s right – for both of you.
You both have to care about each other and the things you want in life equally, and work together to support each other to make them happen. No matter what that looks like.
And the biggest difference of all?
You don’t worry about the future.
The future is this ever looming something just on the horizon and we tend to spend a lot of our time worrying about it.
I spent a lot of time in past relationships worrying about what was going to happen. When I look back at that now, I know that the main cause for my worry was an underlying knowledge that I was with the wrong person.
When you’re with the right someone, you don’t worry about the future. Sure, there might be some scary moments and challenges, tough turns, and it might not always be perfect, but the point is you don’t worry about it.
Because you know that whatever happens, the person you’re with wants to be with you and you want to be with them and whatever life throws at the two of you, you have this unshakeable foundation that you’ll just keep building on together.
How can I say any of this with any certainty? Remember that friend who asked me what I thought about meeting potential partners? He became my person, and he makes me feel all of the things I’ve just described to you. When I met him it was like every part of me knew who he was before my mind caught up and realized he was my someone – and I’ve never felt calmer – back when I first met him, and every day since we’ve been together.