How long until you know…

It’s interesting I often hear from people it takes years to know if someone is the one. That you don’t really even know the person until you live with them and until you’ve had enough experiences together. Though is that really true?

When I think of my most compatible long term relationships, we knew pretty quick it was a good fit. We understood how each other thought and operated so getting to know who the other was at their very soul only took a couple months. Admittedly they were all fellow Myer’s Briggs NT’s so perhaps it was more that we thought so similarly the other person just made sense, there was no guessing or wondering what something meant.

I see couples date for two to four years or more before getting engaged. Is this because of risk aversion or doubt the person is a good fit, who knows? It’s hard to say what makes some people jump and others tread slowly. For me, I tend to know pretty quick if the person will be a significant relationship or not. I’ve only had a couple guys feel like they could be ‘the one’, but for whatever reason the timing was off (stay tuned for a future blog on the importance of timing).

I think of the people closest to me and their dating trajectory and I’d say it’s a mixed bag. I have some friends who dated for years being finalizing things and others who got engaged in less than 6 months. Some of those quick ones have now been married for 10+ years happily.

I wonder how much online dating and this influx of options has made us more hesitant to select our forever mate. Maybe there’s this fear that a better match will come along. Though it seems the older one gets the more evident it is that everyone is unique and has their own set of things to get used too, no one is perfect. With everyone looking for different things, a friend’s decision for what is right for you may or may not be accurate. So often if friends are poo-poo’ing our partners we listen, though is that right? Hard to say.

It feels like the more self aware you are and the more honest and genuine your relationship is, the quicker you can come to a decision on go or no-go. At least from my experience. I’ve found the people I date that are less self-aware or that struggle with being genuine/authentic tend to be the hardest to get to know as well as the relationship tends to progress a bit slower. Not to say there’s anything wrong with these people, we each have different skills and different challenges and things that hold us back, and some stones just take a little longer to crack.

My rule of thumb in life and relationships is always “no regrets”. It sounds simple and cliché, but if you really internalize it and ask yourself at every single decision point, which would I regret more, you’d be surprised how powerful it is. A guy asks you out, would you regret saying no more than yes. Things are rough in your relationship, would you regret leaving more than staying. It applies in every decision, though requires being able to forecast how you might feel based on the different outcomes. Which doesn’t come easy to everyone, but if it resonates with you, it’s a great principle to adopt if you haven’t already.

What would you say holds some people back? How long do you think it takes to know?



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