Let me start by admitting that, I’m not a writer and I’m not a love or relationship expert. I’m an engineer and a married man who’s writing this as a favor to a friend who wanted someone to give the real on a tough question and see how it plays to the masses. So if you want to figure out how to know if she’s the one, listen up—there are a couple of ways to look at your situation to see if you already know the answer.
Spoiler Alert: You may think this is about how she makes you feel, but most of what we’ll be talking about involves you doing things for her.
Because chances are you already know if she is or isn’t the one and you just haven’t been paying attention. (Maybe you’re just hard headed like that.) If you only ever look at the nuts and bolts of a situation, then you’ll miss some of the underlying clues that can help you figure out if she’s the one. Remember, this isn’t a quiz. There are no checkboxes, there’s no score at the end to tell if you’re in one range or another. This is simply the real from some married guy’s point of view. It’s also pretty subjective. (Keep in mind that this is being written from a straight dude’s perspective, which might cause you to yawn right now, but I’m hopeful I can make this general enough to apply to everyone, no matter your orientation.) So just read.
How do you know if she’s the one? Here’s what you really need to look out for:
You care. No, really. You care. A lot.
It might seem obvious, but I guess the first thing you have to ask yourself is, “Do I care?” I don’t mean that in terms of do you care about the person you’re with. I mean it more in the sense of, do you care about what that person wants, what she has to say, and (most importantly) what she needs. I think it’s easy for people to say, “Yeah, I care,” but if someone asks you what her favorite color, flower, or comfort food is, would you know it? Would you know what she wants when she’s sick, or down, or has had a long day? You’re not going to be able to make everything better all the time, but you can definitely help by making her feel safe and protected from the rest of the world when things are rough on her. Do you know how to do that?
You have to listen to what your partner is telling you she needs. I know, that seems obvious, but it isn’t. If she tells you she’s tired, it doesn’t necessarily mean she needs or wants to go to sleep. A lot of times, that means she wants you to massage her neck, shoulders, back, and feet so she can relax. You can drop $60 a month on a Massage Envy membership, and that’s cool. But on a Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. she’s not going to be able to get an appointment for a hot stone massage, so guess who’s up? You. If she’s telling you she’s tired, it can also mean she’s tired of doing all the stuff she has to do over the course of her day and wants to be taken care of. How do I know? The countless number of times my lady has told me that she has a headache. She’ll call me at work to let me know. For the longest time, I would say, “Take some Advil so you’ll feel better.” Now she’ll call me at work at 11:00 a.m. to let me know she has a headache. And I’m going say a good 99.999% of the time she doesn’t take that Advil, and when I get home at 8:00 that night she’ll tell me again that she has a headache. “Well did you take anything for it?” I’ll ask, confused as to why, with a bottle of Advil within arm’s reach, she’d rather be in pain. “No. Would you just rub my neck?” is inevitably the response.
So here it is: When you realize that she’s doing this, not because she’s choosing to be in pain all day so she can complain about it, but because she wants you to make it all better and she knows that you’re good at doing that for her, then she might be the one for you. Because now you’re listening to what she needs, instead of telling her what you think she needs. (Also, I should add that some of the things she’s going to want or need from you will be over the top. I think your level of willingness to indulge her is directly related to whether or not she’s the one for you.) You can be the roughest cat out there, but still have that caring side that wants and knows how to make her feel better about things. If you care that much, she might be the one.
You’re cool ok with being wrong, even when you’re right.
Aight, let’s say you aren’t wired to be that super caring guy. Don’t trip, not everybody is. Fortunately, there are other ways to know if she’s the one.
How much do you like being right? I mean, I don’t know anybody who likes to be wrong, but how far are you willing to push things to prove you’re right? I’ve seen dudes get in a fight over a difference of opinion. (Hell, women too for that matter.) We’ve all been through it. She says one thing, you say something different, and the fight is on. I don’t think people necessarily set out to argue but it happens. But there will be times that you know, as sure as you’re drawing breath, that you’re one hundred thousand percent correct about something, and she will still argue because of the simple fact that you’re a dude and, by her definition, are inherently wrong about anything she doesn’t agree with.
You see, sometimes happiness is a cousin to ignorance, which they say is bliss. You have to weigh the situation and decide if being right is more important to you, than being happy is to both of you. I know, it makes you sound selfish for wanting to be right. Let me break it down for you though, just hear me out. She may tell you that you guys ate at some restaurant for your second anniversary, when really it was for her birthday. You know because you planned it, surprised her, and rented out her favorite restaurant so the two of you were the only ones in the joint. It’s something you know to the core of your soul to be true, because you’ve never put that much of yourself into anything (except fantasy football).
Now, you could pull out the pictures on her own phone, which will show the date and prove her wrong. You could bust out the receipt that you keep in your wallet as a reminder to yourself that for that one day, you were pretty damned awesome. But if you ask me, the best play is to let it slide. (WTH?) Yup, take one for the team. Most women don’t argue with logic, I think they argue with emotion. I’ve learned there is an emotional component to pretty much everything for women. Men don’t work like this. We’re a lot more logical. That’s why you busting out facts doesn’t mean jack to her. And God help you if you’re wrong on your facts man, because that will go with you to your grave. She may even get you a huge headstone so she can fit it all on there. “Here lies my man. He was wrong on these dates…”
If you let it slide because it’s more important for you to get along with the person you’re with in the short term, and possibly get freaky later… Man, she might really be the one for you. I’ve seen a lot of dudes lose a woman by caring too much about being right. If you’re right, you’re right. And there may come a day when she’ll realize it, and possibly even admit it to you. But that day is never going to be the day you’re having the argument.
So do you:
a) Fight the fight to prove you’re right.
b) Let it slide and improve your chances of having sex that night.
I’m going with B pretty much every time. It’s the smart play man. Think about it. You win all the way around because you’re right, but you’ve made her feel better because she thinks she’s right, you still get to have sex, and one day she may come back and tell you that you were right. That’s a grand slam man. I mean, there’s an exception to every rule, but if you’d rather have a grand slam in the record books than a single for just being right one time, you might be looking at the one for you.
Unfortunately, there will be times when you’re wrong, and she’s going to call you on it. I mean, that’s her job. Ask her, and she’ll tell you that’s what’s up. Depending on your level of pisstivity (my dad made up this word when I was a kid) with the situation, she may adjust how she delivers the news to you. But make no mistake; she IS going to tell you that you’re wrong. You may be thinking back to the above section about not telling her she’s wrong. Why the double standard? Because you have a Y chromosome and life isn’t fair. Choose B and keep it movin’.
She lets you watch the game.
You may be lucky. You might have found a woman who knows all three of your moods (cool, tired, and upset) and, for the most part, knows when to leave you alone. That’s big man. It shows that she’s looking into what you need, and how to look out for you. Now, let’s be real—in all three of your moods, you want to watch the game. (Maybe for you ‘the game’ is watching a TV show, zoning out on a movie, reading a book, working out, or playing a video game. Whatever it is you do at the end of the day. But for me, it’s the game.)
When you’re cool, you want to watch the game because you’re cool. When you’re tired, you want to watch because you’re still interested in it and could use the excitement. When you’re upset, you watch it because you need the distraction. If she knows that the only time to interrupt you is when your mood is cool and you’re watching the game, she might be the one. Better yet, if she knows what you need when you’re upset and your team loses—if she knows what you need to bring you out of the double whammy like that, hold onto her man. She might be the one.
Her crazy is worth it.
There is a decent chance your girl is crazy. Before you get mad and stop reading, think if there’s ever been a time she argued one side of an argument the first time you had it, and then the other side of the same argument the next time you had it. (In this case, refer to the above section about her always being right, and choose B.) Or can you remember a time where she woke up from a dream and was somehow mad at you even though there wasn’t anything wrong when you went to bed? Wait, I know some we can all relate to… Does she get upset over things that you think are small or trivial? Does she see things that aren’t there? (Not like seeing ghosts, but seeing your waitress flirting with you when all she did was ask if you want more to drink?) Does she want you to get rid of your prized theater chairs in the man cave and get a couch instead? Yeah, she’s crazy. If you’re willing to put up with her crazy (aside from the theater chair thing, that’s just blasphemy), guess what, she may be the one for you man. Because her crazy is worth it to you.
Remember, I’m not a writer, I’m an engineer. To me, most things are binary. Zero or one. On or off. Black or white. But your partner is not binary. What works today, may not work tomorrow. You have to adapt, adjust, grow. If you accept this mission, you may have found the one for you.
All of this being said, you have to understand that you need to make yourself the man who’s right for her, on top of trying to figure out if she’s the one for you. What, you thought this would be easy? C’mon man. If my friend asks me to do another lap with some more advice like this, I’ll put the rest down for you. Until then, always choose B.
If you found any enlightenment from this article or liked at least two of the 2,000+ words and want to read more, then look out for my next solo project, with the current working title of “Women Have Their Own FICO Score for Love, and Man, Your Credit is Bad.”