Everything from the classic love affair in Pride and Prejudice to the will-they-or-won’t-they drama of Ross and Rachel teaches us that love is supposed to be extraordinary, make it impossible to sleep or eat, and always ends with a “happily ever after.”
As much as rom-coms and the Twilight Saga would have us believe, romance is not actually always about flowers and love poems or grand gestures and public declarations. In real life, the rom-com doesn’t end at the “I do” scene, but keeps going through paying bills and tax season, through toddlers and newborns preventing your sleep for days, through terrifying health scares, boring daily chores, and deaths of the people you love.
The One you choose to spend forever with is not just your personal romantic comedy — it’s the most important interview of your life. A happy lifetime is about more than love letters and PDA, so you better make sure there’s more to your relationship, too. Here are 17 signs the person you’re with might be The One, that have absolutely nothing to do with butterflies, grand gestures, or romance.
1. You don’t have to pretend to be interested in them, or wish they would be more interested in you
It’s likely that you and your partner will have many different interests — in fact, you should, or else dating another you would just be boring! You may not always be interested in their passion or hobbies, but you’ll want to learn more because you know how much it matters to them, and you’ll genuinely want to be able to share what they love. You also won’t have to pretend you don’t love broadway musicals as much as you do or feel like you can never talk about the latest fashion trends that you know your partner couldn’t care less about — they’ll want to love everything you love, and talk about everything you want to talk about.
2. Errands are kind of… fun
Going to the grocery store, picking up prescriptions at the pharmacy, and cleaning the house are all part of the mundane routine we have to keep up with through the rest of our lives (sounds depressing, doesn’t it?). But when you do it together, there’s something inherently fun and enjoyable about the tasks that are usually mundane and tedious. Something about your partner makes even the boring feel fun, and the average seem exciting.
3. You don’t have to think twice about asking them for help
Whether it’s to pick you up from the airport, unclog your drain, or give you advice on a problem you need their perspective on, you don’t have to think about asking your partner for help — you just do. You trust their opinion, their advice, and their desire to care for you, without having to question it for a minute.
4. They’ll pick up your slack without being asked
Maybe you came home to clean laundry that they just threw in with a load of theirs, or they brought you a new face serum from CVS when you mentioned you ran out a couple days ago. It’s more than just the household chores the two of you divide up — it’s the little things they don’t have to do, but do just to make your life a little easier and your day a little better.
5. You can share annoyance, anger, and doubt without worrying about their reaction
There are absolutely no more deal breakers, and you know it — you can be in a horrible mood without feeling like they’ll think less of you or not want to be around you, and you know they’ll be supportive of your feelings before being defensive of their own if you experience any doubts along the way. You can be more honest with them than you’ve ever been, because bigger than anything you’ll ever say or do, you both have a shared understanding that you’re in this life together.
6. You both have your own thing
Whether it’s Bachelor Mondays with the girls, painting classes, or hiking trips a couple times a year, you’re both supportive of the other pursuing their own interests and having their own time alone. Time apart doesn’t make either of you insecure, and you should feel like your partner supports you pursuing your passions over their own needs. Plus, you’ll be so excited to tell them about your time apart, whether it’s to rehash the latest gossip between your friends or what you learned in painting class (remember No. 1?).
7. They’ll ask about your day, every day
Perhaps one of the most important pieces of advice I’ve ever received is to be with someone who will ask about your day, every day, and — wait for it — actually want to hear about it. If the first thing they do when they get home or the first thing they’ll ask when they call is, “how was your day!?” every single day, you’ve found one of the good ones. Trust me.
8. You can look at them and, for no reason at all, they make you laugh
The best friendships are the ones that make you silly for no reason at all — where you just can’t stop laughing, right? If you’re going to spend your life with someone, it better be the best friendship you’ve ever had. If your partner brings out your silliest self, and can make you laugh at nothing, you know they’re going to keep you laughing when things get hard, or boring, or mundane. Life should be about enjoyment — make a lifelong commitment with someone who brings out the most fun in you.
9. Bodily functions don’t make you blink
You should be able to complain about your heavy flow, or let out an *accidental* bodily function post-Taco Bell without it feeling like the end of the world. In fact, when you start doing gross things like shave their back or have them pop your pimples (it gets real) and you’re still just as turned on by each other as ever, that’s when you know.
10. You can talk openly about money
Besides just being a crucial conversation to have with the person, you know, you’re going to be spending your life with, if you’re able to talk about such a tough topic, it’s a good sign that you trust each other. While nothing is less sexy than the money talk (except maybe shaving that back hair), if you can share your financial past, goals, and current habits openly and honestly, and you two share financial values similar enough that you don’t go into anaphylactic shock when you hear about theirs, you probably have a pretty strong foundation.
11. They call you out when you need to be called out
“The One” will be the person who is fully dedicated to helping you live your very fullest, best, happiest life. This means that they will check you on your destructive habits and hold you accountable when no one else would. They’ll be honest with you — for the sake of making you better, not for the sake of putting you down. They’ll also stand by you, encourage you, and support you when you’re working through issues or are going through hard times without any judgment.
12. Your PDA is less PDA-y
You don’t necessarily need to go make out on a park bench like you’re teenagers or feel the need to post collages on Instagram with paragraph-long captions about your oh-so-perfect relationship to celebrate every monthiversary. Instead of overt PDA, you display affection by mere accident — exchanging smirks across the room or holding hands under the table. Instead of the public make outs, fondling, or displaying your love all over social media, you publicly tease each other, brag about each other’s accomplishments, and maybe steal a kiss or hug when you don’t think anyone is looking.
13. Date nights out are great, but you have the most fun at home
When you can sneak away for a night out, of course it’s fun to dress up and go somewhere new or exciting. But if we’re being honest, and if we’ve found The One, the most fun “date nights” are sitting at home with a bottle of Trader Joe’s wine, laughing at The Office, talking for hours, or playing the same card game, again. The things that would sound boring to anyone else are the things you find yourself preferring over those fancy dates.
Anyone can get in the mood for romance when fancy clothing and candlelight is involved, but when it’s just the two of you, with sweatpants and take-out, and somehow it’s the best night ever, you know you could do it for the rest of your life.
14. You’ve developed your own language no one else can understand
If your daily conversations are laced with inside jokes, or you consistently refer back to movie quotes or moments that will have you both dying with laughter, this person will certainly have you laughing the rest of your life. You share more than the same life and relationship — you share the same humor, and that can make all the difference in the length of a lifetime.
15. At the worst times, you want them there
For most of your past relationships or crushes, it’s likely that they’re the last person you would’ve wanted to be present when you’re hunched over the toilet with food poisoning or crying in your room with a bad panic attack – so embarrassing! But if this partner is the right one, you’ll find yourself calling them when you’re having a panic attack or wishing they were there when you’re really sick (and not just because you know they’d clean up your vomit). Maybe you’ve even considered putting them down as your Emergency Contact — you know that when anything bad is happening, you’ll feel more comforted and protected with them there.
16. You don’t question or second guess how they act when you’re not around
When a friend’s Bachelor/Bachelorette party in Vegas comes up, you don’t feel a pit in your stomach or worry they won’t behave, you’ll just be excited to hear the funny stories when they get home. You also don’t doubt that as nice and wonderful as they are to you is exactly how they act when you’re not around, too. You believe with all your heart that however they act out in the world — whether it’s to other girls, or to people they don’t have to be nice to like waiters or servers — they treat all other people with the utmost respect, graciousness, and will always do you proud.
17. No matter what mistakes you make or how bad you look, you know they’ll still think of you the same.
In the end, you can be your truest self knowing that’s the you that they love the most. You can make a mistake or say something mean, and they’ll still think the world of you. You can wear second-day leggings and not wash your hair for four days and know they’ll still look at you the same as when you’re in a fancy dress with a blow out. The most romantic moments of our lives are often what happens in the most unromantic times — the bad times, the hard times, the gross times, the lazy times, and the boring times. The One will still see you in those times just as they would in the best times.
Find the person who loves you for exactly whatever you are — good, bad, grumpy, bloated, messy, scattered, anxious, unfiltered — and, to use the quote from Juno that taught me the most about love, “the right person will still think the sun shines out your ass.” Now that’s romantic.