There's no checklist to know who's 'The One' for you
Q: How do I know if someone is "the one"? I've been with him five years, and the answer isn't coming to me. My family and friends don't think he's right for me, but he's great in so many ways. Marriage is obviously a huge step, and it's important to me not to make any missteps. It would be great news if there was a "The One" checklist.
A: 1) If you're asking me, he's not it.
You're not marveling at your luck in finding this guy. He deserves that. You do, too.
End of discussion? Maybe. However, some people feel lucky just to have someone rich, or pretty, or breathing, so it's important to calibrate your concept of luck.
2) Do you love, not just like, each other?
3) Do you like, not just love, each other?
4) Do you talk to each other easily? Sit in silence easily?
5) Are you both past the point of comparing yourselves with or seeking approval from your parents? Peers?
6) Do friends and family approve? Do you respect their opinions? Should you?
7) Should you respect your opinions? Can you spot abuse and control? Have you outgrown any need to delude yourself, can you admit when you're being shallow, stubborn, immature? When you're keeping score, holding grudges, shifting blame, undermining, told-you-so-ing or otherwise making suspect decisions?
8) Do you refresh, not exhaust, each other?
9) Are there no major objections, recurring arguments, unhealed emotional wounds between you? Do you two handle conflict well enough not to fear it?
10) Everyone has insecurities. Does each of you respect how the other handles them?
11) Can you share anything, whether you actually do or not? Does your mate know you as well or better than friends do?
12) Finish this sentence: "S/he's wonderful, but . . ."
13) Do you understand that the only person you can change is yourself? And even then, only to a limited degree? That "potential" is fiction, it's as-is or nothing?
14) Okay, s/he's wonderful. But is s/he wonderful for you?
15) Have you purged the excuse "All relationships are work" from your lexicon?
16) Is pleasing each other a pleasure? ("Compromise," good; "compromised," not.)
17) Are you confident that, if you broke up, s/he would take it like an adult?
18) Would you be with this person even if you couldn't marry or have kids — i.e., if there were no societal ticket to punch?
19) Has time — not months, years — confirmed what you're witnessing and feeling?
20) Honesty check: Brutal yet?
And finally: 21) Do you understand that you can get all of this "right," and get everything else "right," and be raised by parents who got this "right," and still have things go wrong? That cosmically, practically and mathematically, the whole concept of "the one" is ludicrous?
This is sounding like an argument for serial monogamy.
But operating from a fear of missteps is itself a misstep. Have the guts to accept life without guarantees, and to let good fortune speak for itself.
Oh, and if you're wondering where sex is, it's covered by 1-21.