Do you ever really know if your partner is “the one”?

Last night I was on twitter and facebook ( yes not really a big stretch for me- considering that my daughter admonished me and said, the reason for all my looming deadlines is because I’m addicted to twitter and facebook.) I could only HANG my head in shame because this little 11 year old has me figured out to a T… but I digress.

A couple I know, who lived together for five years and just tied the knot- after six months of what I thought was wedded- bliss decided to call it quits. Of course they are not the first or last couple to find themselves in such a predicament- but what has me slightly thrown for a loop is the fact that; A) A couple would be together for five years and not take the plunge sooner. B) After being together for five years after a swift marital union, would decide to break it off.

I never really understood the couple who could be in a committed relationship for so long- without making it official-aka- legally chaining themselves to one another as my oh so prolific friend Carolyn Edgar would say. And, if you are with someone for five years, wouldn’t you know all there is to know about this person– (which is kind of why I moved in my husband after getting engaged- to test the waters and make sure we could indeed live together without strangling each other to death).

Is it something about being legally chained to another–the vice of marriage slowly cutting off your air supply, feeling like- now that you’re in and legally bound to this person- if you don’t get out sooner than later– ultimately you won’t be able to eave? Does being married change the way you view the person you’re with– does it add an extra layer of anxiety- frustration- or a sense that now you expect more form this person because well- he’s your spouse and as your spouse he OWES you certain things- that as a boyfriend- you let fall by the way side.

Does being married ultimately put too much pressure on a relationship… or as Carolyn Edgar so articulately said to me…

“If you’re engaged for that long, you already know you shouldn’t/don’t want to get married. But you go through with it out of a sense of obligation -and by doing so, confirm what you already knew. Smart ones get out early, before kids & such. I think marriage is more than just paper. Realizing you are legally chained to this person is eye opening. You realize the longer you stay, the harder it is to get out. I think that’s why the quick trigger divorce.”

Or maybe… even after so many years with someone… do you ever really know if indeed he/she is the one?


  1. says

    I honestly believe that there are two factors here:

    1) Lots of people (women especially) feel they need to BE or DO certain things in order to feel validated – getting married is high on that list.

    2) Who doesn't want the pretty dress and big party?

    But you're right – this couple had to have seen signs earlier than their wedding day that something wasn't right. Its sad that this happened, but to your point – I don't know that there is a "one" – more like there may be many people you could be happy with for your entire life. Who you choose to "tough it out with" is another matter. Often its hard to decide just when enough is enough with another person.

  2. martyne says

    You never know…it's all one big gamble. Somedays I'm ready to throw in the towel and other days I hang on to my spouse like I am sinking and he is saving my life. Who knows….almost 20 years and I'm still smiling….most of the time!

  3. Mary Beth Elderton says

    I always worry about those women who stress over a “perfect” wedding, who think of their wedding days as “the happiest day of my life.” I worry for their actual marriages. I worry about people who have been together a long time without marriage, then suddenly decide to do it. I worry that, if they have been together so long then something must have been working for them, so why the sudden change? Or maybe it wasn’t working, and the hope was that marriage would make it work–like it’s maybe not the marriage so much as not wanting to lose the time already invested.

  4. says

    I think that term “the one” is too strict. I do believe there is that one out there that understands you, lets you be you, and completes you. I think you just feel that it’s right and you couldn’t see yourself with anyone else.

    For those that are together for so many years and then get divorced so quickly, I think what Carolyn said is perfect. Many people by that time in a relationship often get married because everyone is pressuring them to when they don’t feel like they want to. It’s like that saying, “they are better in a relationship, not a marriage”. They feel the need to get married rather than the want or out of love.

    For those that get married so quickly and divorce so quickly, one reason being they don’t know each other enough. And two, they probably just wanted that huge big wedding, the dress, everything without thinking past the wedding.
    I always say, the bigger the wedding the faster the divorce. There are a few exceptions however as always.

    When I married my husband I completely knew that he was the right one for me and I didn’t want to be with anyone else. I think its intuition and feeling. When I walked down that Isle I didn’t have any doubt in my mind.
    I was watching a news program once and they interviewed newly divorcee’s and they stated that when they walked down that isle (and even before!) they felt that it wasn’t right.
    I think that’s very true! It really comes down to how you feel about your relationship…

  5. says

    WRT: The One and sort of continuing Heidi’s comment: I see most of life’s statistics as a bell curve. I think matching with any other individual is also a bell curve. With the vast majority of people you will have a middle ground match (basic acquaintance, or low level friendship) and as you move up the bell curve there are fewer people but better matches.

    Statistically speaking there will be one individual at the very top of the ranking, but you don’t have to meet that one person to be in an ideal relationship. Theoretically anyone in the top two percent (or possibly 0.2% – I’m not a statistician, but I’ve got a feeling the number 2 is important) should be enough to make you fantastically happy.

    What is 2% (or 0.2%) of however many males are between 28 and 34 anyway?

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