Choosing a life partner is a big deal. There might be times when you feel unsure — even though you love them — if they're really, truly the person for you or not. Can you even ever know for sure? And if you can, how can you tell? Many people talk about gut feelings when it comes to knowing whether or not your partner is "The One," but beyond that, there are other, more concrete clues that can indicate if you're a good match. If you feel like you can never say these things, your partner isn't the one, gut feeling or no gut feeling.
There probably shouldn't be very many things that you feel as though you can't say to your partner if they're "The One" and the two of you are going to be together long-term. Erin Parisi, LMHC, CAP, a licensed mental health counselor, generally advocates for honesty on all subjects. But, even if there are sometimes things that you don't think your partner needs to know (either immediately or perhaps at all), which is something that people have different opinions on, if you feel as though you can't share certain things, that's a good indicator that they probably aren't the person with whom you're meant to be.
1"Here Is How I Need/Want To Be Touched"
If you feel as though you can't tell your partner how you want or need to be touched, that could be a sign that they're not the one for you. "We all know sex and intimacy are key to successful long term love, but what makes sex explosive is the ability to talk about your needs directly, honestly and with full comfortability," Stephanie Churma, a relationship coach, tells Romper by email. "So many clients wonder why their sex is dwindling and it's because they haven't explained to their partner what they need in bed."
Sure, it can be a little bit awkward for some people to vocalize their sex-related wants and needs, but it's something that you should be able to discuss with the right person.
"The right relationship will draw out your inner safety, and you'll be able to express your sexual desires without guilt," she adds.
2"This Is How Much Debt I Have"
Financial issues are hard to keep completely concealed from your partner. And while debt can be something about which you're embarrassed or ashamed, it's something that you have to be able to disclose to the person you think is your soulmate. "[I]f you’re not honest about what kind of debt you’re coming into the relationship with, I mean, it affects the future together," Parisi says. "How many vacations you can have, what kind of house you can buy, what kind of cars you drive. Your lifestyle. So if that’s something that you’re hiding from your partner, eventually, as your realtor is checking your credit score or whatever, it comes out."
3"What's Your Vision Of Our Future?"
"For couples to make it they need to understand the mechanics of 'for life,'" Churma says. "It's a journey together and you need to know where you're headed. It is a lot easier to get to the party when you have your GPS on with full battery." If you don't feel like you can openly and honestly discuss how each of you view your collective future, your partner might not be the right person for you after all.
4"Here's How Serious My Past Relationships Were"
Not everyone agrees on exactly how much you should openly discuss past relationships, but you should be comfortable talking about them at least a little bit — especially if they were significant — with the person you're hoping to spend your life with. "Did you live with other people? Were you engaged? Were you married before? And [you need to talk about] what happened so that hopefully you learned from past mistakes and can bring lessons from the past into your current relationship," Parisi says. If you can't talk about these things, it could potentially be a sign that the relationship isn't the right one for you. These are things that not only helped form a person into who they are, but also could potentially affect your relationship as well. You should be able to talk about them, at least to some extent.
5"Here's What I Expect When It Comes To Roles, Household Work, Etc."
Beyond just the logistics of the way your household would run, talking about the jobs you each like (or will tolerate), what you absolutely hate, and your expectations for each other (is someone going to stay home if you have kids?) is important because you might think you're on the same page only to realize you're not. If you're apprehensive to bring this up with your partner because you're worried what they'll say, they're probably not the right person for you.
"A lot of times people make assumptions on what those roles are going to look like, usually based off of what your household was like growing up either because you want it to be like it was when you grew up or you really don’t want it to be like it was when you grew up," Parisi says. "But we make those assumptions and we don’t always say them outright to our partners and then it builds resentment because they don’t know what you’re expecting and you expect it without telling them."
6"How Can I Fix This?"
"In arguments (which nobody is immune to) we tend to project and deflect uncomfortable emotions," Churma says. "It's often instinctual to not receive critical feedback and instead ping pong wounds back and forth. In elevated marriages, couples learn to step away from their ego and lean in to the other person and see what they can do in the moment to express compassion — even if they are not pleased with their partner in the moment."
If you don't feel comfortable ever being the first to make a move towards making up after a fight and feel as though you can't ask how you can try to fix things, that might be a sign that the relationship isn't the best one for you.
7"Here's What's Going On With My Health"
Whether it's bodily functions that embarrass (everyone's been there), your period, temporary illnesses, or chronic conditions, if you feel as though you can't be open about these things with your partner, they might not actually be the one for you after all. "Are you going to die of embarrassment overtime you fart in your sleep and [they're] in the room? Who can live with that kind of tension? And if you can’t talk to them about, like, the mental health needs, your health needs, stuff going on with you, then who’s your emergency contact? Plus, the STD thing directly affects them," Parisi says. It can be difficult to break news about a condition because you're not necessarily sure how someone will react, but if you feel like you absolutely cannot tell your partner about anything health or body-related, then that probably isn't a great sign.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.