4 Questions To Ask Yourself BEFORE You Decide He’s “The One”

Stephen Hussey

I remember a girlfriend who used to get insecure anytime we were at a party together and I spoke to someone else for more than 5 minutes.

She would become jealous and upset and we’d end up going home to have long protracted arguments about something I saw as a completely unreasonable standard.

Needless to say, that relationship didn’t last long.

That was when I was 20. You learn a lot in your early twenties about the kind of behavior you don’t want to tolerate in people you’re close to.

As I’ve grown up and learnt more about myself, I’ve tried to find patterns in other people’s relationships as well as my own. The secret to being in a happy couple I’ve realised is incredibly complex, but that hasn’t stopped me searching for the algorithm.

I guess the aim of all this searching is always same: I hope this will help me make better choices in future.


What You Should Know BEFORE You Commit Long-Term

I’ve never believed that “The One” exists. I think you decide someone is “The One”.

People get upset when you say that, but I don’t know why. It always seemed more romantic to choose the person you’re meant to be with for me, rather than act like it was all a matter of pre-determined luck.

But how do you decide who to choose?

I’ve been obsessed over recent years with how to decide whether someone is “right” for you, probably because I’ve seen so many people (including myself) face that age-old question: Should I stay or should I go?

What I’ve begun to believe is that it comes down to a few very precise questions.

I used to think it was about enormous checklists lists of traits, then quickly realized that this leads to a sort of obsessive pickiness that leads people to overthink their choices too much, always imagining that perhaps their partner is only 86% right for them, instead of 94%, or 99%, their brains forever finding fault with those who don’t reach a perfect score.

There is no 100% perfect person. The only 100% is the feeling of absolute certainty that your partner is the person who makes you infinitely happier for being able to share your life experiences together.

Like I said, I’m kind of obsessed with this topic, having written about it twice already on this site (here, and here).

I don’t know any quick formula for knowing if he’s “The One”, but I have come to think about four BIG questions that should always be a part of that decision:

1. Do you feel a unique sexual attraction to this person?

I stole this one from a Steve Pavlina article, but it’s so fundamental that it can’t be left out of this topic.

Let’s face it, a lot of couples get into trouble from the start because they don’t choose someone who turns them on enough physically.

Without that feeling that things just “click” between you sexually, it’s hard to develop anything sustainable for 5 years, let alone for the rest of your life.

Yes, the actual sex gets better as the relationship goes on. But sexual chemistry doesn’t. It’s either there from the beginning or it isn’t. Ignore it at your peril.

2. Do you find it easy or difficult to get your needs met in the relationship?

Whether your need be for intimacy, respect, emotional connection, intellectual stimulation, fun, or fulfilling your sexual fantasies, couples that work best involve two people for whom fulfilling one another’s needs doesn’t feel like an arduous chore.

Rather, because they both fit together so well, it works naturally without an excessive amount of effort. For example, you want a life with travel and adventure, and so does he. Or you both share a need for physical touch and affection. Or you both have the same level of optimism and passion.

You don’t need to both share EXACT same levels of need, but you do need to be able to satisfy one another’s needs without having to CONSTANTLY explain yourself to one another.

For example, if one of you is extremely jealous and the other is really laid-back and independent, it’s unlikely you’re both going to be able to ever make the other person happy, since you’ll always find the other person’s perspective to be unreasonable and misaligned.

If you find it impossible to see things from his side, or always think to yourself after arguments, “he just doesn’t get me at all!”, you’re setting yourself up for a lifetime of frustration and resentment.

3. Is his lifestyle compatible with yours? Do you feel ok with how he spends his free time?

Because relationships are for a long time. And how a guy spends his time is a strong reflection of what he values.

This ultimately comes down to who you want to be around. If you hate the idea of someone who zonks out in front of the TV all day and like to get blind drunk in nightclubs every night on the weekend, it’s probably a safe bet to say a relationship with that person is doomed before it begins.

Relationships that begin with wanting someone to change who they are end up with two people who feel bitter and unsatisfied. Pro tip: Assume he’s always going to have the priorities he does now: whether for work, family, or his friends. Are you ok with that kind of life?

You don’t have to spend your free time in the same way as one another, but you do have to make sure you’re OK with the way he spends his.

4. Do you both want the same things in your future and see yourself being able to give the same amount to the relationship in 5, 10, 15 years? 

Relationships in which two people fundamentally want different things  never work. The strongest couples contain two people that build a future they want to share, and who are able to give just as much to the relationship after 5 or 10 years as they did in the first 6 months.

If you feel like it works “for now” but long-term find yourself hoping he’ll come around and want something different than he does currently, chances are he’s not the one for you and it’s time to make an exit post-haste. Sure, he might change his mind later on, but he also might not, and by that time you’re 5 years into a relationship and it will feel incredibly difficult to let it go.

If it doesn’t feel right at the beginning, trust your instincts and realise there are plenty of people out there who will want the kind of future you envision in a relationship.


So that’s my two cents (or four, I guess). Like I said, I’m always reassessing this idea of who is “The One”, mostly because like everyone else I’m always trying to ensure I make the right choices in love.

Forget the giant checklists regarding his height, income, penis size, education, etc.

Assess each person as they are and see if they meet the above criteria and you’ll soon know whether it could work long-term between you or not.

Question of the day: What would make YOU decide a guy is “The One”? What questions would you add to the list above?


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51 Replies to “4 Questions To Ask Yourself BEFORE You Decide He’s “The One””

  • Nice article, Steve! :)

    I have been thinking about this a lot lately as well. What does it mean for someone to be the right one? And how do you know you are really in love?

    The points you bring up are solid in that they help differentiate between short term and long-term relationships. :)


  • Hey Stephen, amazing article I must say! It’s actually a perfectly genuine checklist that everyone should have. Well this the first time I’m reading your article and I really loved you style! Great job!

  • Hi Steve! Beautiful written post!

    In one short sentence the one for me is someone that I am compatible with and I don’t doubt.

    Here are some questions that I find important:
    I would add one word to your first question and say: Do you feel MUTUAL unique sexual attraction?
    Is there any subject that feels scary to talk about (including your future together)?
    Is there any drama or mystery?
    Do both of you provide strong, positive reinforcement and support to one another?
    Is there demonstration of affection and expression of feeling? (Looking for someone who has a similar emotional style to our own and who feels strongly about us, as we feel about them)
    All the above

  • It was a wonderful article!!! Everything important has been squeezed in a few words..
    For your question,I feel would like to add: if two people can laugh at same things or can find fun and enjoyment in similar interests !! I may b wrong but its my opinion that if hilarious levels of 2 persons don’t match, they can’t go for long enjoying each other’s company..

  • I don’t know… but this is a good article

    I want to find someone who philosophically values the same things I strive for (not always successfully)

    1) positive
    2) present
    3) productive

  • Maybe, Are you genuinely interested in them as a person over time, all the traits and experiences that make up who they are and are you impressed by them constantly? Even after years. Do you feel excited to see them and when you’ve seen them and they’ve gone away, wherever, is there a grin on your face you can’t wipe off and you are filled with a lovely sense of closeness and inner contentment?
    I would decide he’s The One if I chose him, he chose me and we shared all you mentioned coupled with the utmost respect and sheer enjoyment. Life is too short to tie yourself down to someone who doesn’t think you are utterly amazing, like no one else on the planet and you feel sheer joy and exhilaration just being around them, like even making a sandwich together or chilling watching tv. xxxx

  • He needs to be open and honest. I verge on autistic with my need to be honest and believe others, so any dishonesty will make me feel let down or betrayed.
    He also needs to be excited by new experiences. I love the thrill of trying new things and stepping out of my comfort zone. I want him to come with me not hold me back

  • Do they truly care about you? During our brightest times but also during our darkest hours. The people who uniquely notice and care for you, even if they don’t always know the solution.

    Can you be your true self around them? Once the layers peel away, is there the comfortable familiar presence you can let go of yourself and be appreciated for, underneath it all.

    Do they uplift you and have your best interest at heart? Even when you argue they want what is best for and to feel good again.

  • Awesome article! Great insight Stephen….Loved this article…;) <3 Keep them coming! I look forward to each & every one…

  • The girl with you at the party should not have been upset…she was with you. If you had gone solo then maybe but she was with you:)

    Ah the mathematical computation:) 65 here 99 there…its called intellectualizing.Very risky if you remain there too long. As fast as time flies you could end up alone. That infinite person you speak of is the one that makes you want to be a better person. Otherwise they are all like the ones that made us less authentic. Less likely to make us want to work for what we want. There are no twin flames/ soul mates that I can see.I see too many variations…making it too easy to back out of a situation the other half doesn’t want to commit to. Kind of like that predetermined luck you speak of. It does boil down to choice.
    I may have a life lesson for you.(you may answer or e-mail if you like) Having all of these qualities in my youth. And mine is not to brag…more a curse. I had no ego problem. I had most of the boxes you mentioned checked. Please don’t get me wrong here. The guys I most attracted tended to scare me off. They would stare at me early on in the relationship.I couldn’t stay around long because it creeped me out. If I wanted to be treated a little more equally I had to date the self assured type. And they had to intellectual. I should have gone for the ones that offered the inner protection. But I choose the ones that looked like they could protect me (I am short)the tall athletic type. Never gave up trying but it never worked. However after they met their match and tried to come back for a rematch…it was too late. I am now much older still carry some charm. But as you stated a man needs to be physically attracted to want you.So beware! I am alone because I used that procedure too long to solve my problem…that of algorithm

  • Do yo think sometimes you have to sacrifice to make all those questions ticked? It’s difficult to find someone who just ticks those boxes naturally.
    I’m with a guy I share great attraction and lifestyle with and we meet each other’s needs. But we’re both very career oriented and our career goal means that we can’t be together in a long term. And for this reason we decided we should stop seeing each other. It’s so sad really. I want to make it work but I can’t give up on things I’m doing in my career and neither can he.

  • Do they truly care about you?
    During our brightest times but also during our darkest hours. The people who uniquely notice and care for you, even if they don’t always know the solution.

    Can you be your true self around them?
    Once the layers peel away, is there the comfortable familiar presence you can let go of and be appreciated for, underneath it all.

    Do they uplift you and have your best interest at heart?
    Even when you argue they want what is best for you and to feel good again.

    1. I’ve added a few more thoughts to the list of considerations that may help.

      Do they truly care about you?
      Even during our brightest times but also during our darkest hours. The people who uniquely notice and care for you, even if they don’t always know the solution.

      Are they someone you can count on?
      Through thick or thin, it doesn’t mean people have to be separated by time or distance to know they are someone you can turn to.

      Do they understand you?
      To know what it is you’re feeling on any given day and to share with without being a mind reader.

      Can you be your true self around them?
      Once the layers peel away, is there the comfortable familiar presence you can let go of and be appreciated for, underneath it all.

      Do they uplift you and have your best interest at heart?
      Even when you argue they want what is best for you and to feel good again.

      1. WOW I Love These QUestions!!! Amen!!!

        I’d Definitely Need A “Are They A Loyal And Real Life Shotgun Partner To Have Around?” In There Too

  • I like this blog! I agree I used to have this long list of a guy has to be this age, this tall, kids or no kids, never married or divorced and other superfical crap that I changed my mind on daily. But really I think what you build together that works in the end makes absolutely everything else irrelevant. If your happy, if it works, and if your pretty much on the same page with these things I say thats it. You got it. If you cant build a future its over. I also think that its easy to make excuses or disqualify yourself for superficial reasons. Excuses that are imaginary and have nothing to do with trying to be with someone who doesnt care about those things. But imagining rejection that doesnt exist. So much about meeting the right person has to do with building and effort and so little has to do with trying to find perfection. My mom said to me this week that she thinks I need someone who is against organized religion and it made me think shes right cuz I’m against it and I think the limitations Ive experienced simply boil down to being with a group of people that think completely different than me. Trying to date when men will only be with you in a group is tiring. My new focus has been to find someone worth building with & I think a huge key to that is willingness to accept someone and their imperfections & receive that back. I think I’m far more flexible in who Id allow in my life then in the past mainly because I no longer look for perfection but wait to discover if someone shows me he can build a life I can commit to

  • Thanks Stephen, Awesome Points!! I Never Thought Of It That Way Vs. Having A Checklist, Very Clever Approach With Asking Just A Few Big Picture Questions Instead. Amen!!

  • Very interesting post, Yes Girls always feel insecure when he talks to someone else. and she always upset to this and start argument with him.

  • Hello Stephen,

    Such a well written, profound article.
    Thank you for sharing your wisdom to all of us.

    If I may ask an advice, My man, he is all these,except we might clash eventually with our religious beliefs. He isn’t at all spiritual. I know,ultimately it will impact our relationship negatively. But all I want is to meet half way,compromise and see if he will be willing to sacrifice. I would talk very lightly about the issue, but we really never had the conversation. What do you think I should do?

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