Dating in midlife? I’ll bet you’ve spent too much time with men who were not a good fit and not enough time with one or two good guys who were. Staying with the wrong men, leaving the right men, that’s part of the dating journey. It’s part of the human process. These are not dating mistakes. They are learning opportunities. And one of the most difficult things to learn is how to know if he’s really the ‘one’?
I’ve come up with a short quiz to clarify whether you should stay or go in a new relationship. These five questions get to the heart of whether you and your romantic interest are well-suited and have what it takes for the long haul. And while there are certainly no guarantees, I think you’ll get some clarity when you put your relationship through this short quiz.
* Note: Let’s define ‘soulmate’; I don’t feel there is only one person with whom you can feel a soul connection. I think many people have the potential to be your ‘soulmate’; your child, a close friend, a sibling, and of course a romantic partner. When I use the word ‘soulmate’ here, I mean a romantic significant other, someone with whom you are comfortable being your authentic self, someone who brings out the best in you and you in him. Please translate soulmate in the way that’s most meaningful to you.
The Soulmate Quiz
1. How do you feel when you’re with him?
Do you feel cherished and valued when you’re together? To answer this question, pay closer attention to what he does, not what he says. Actions do speak louder than words. For example, the man who tells you he thinks you’re beautiful and amazing and he just loves spending time with you…and then you don’t hear from him for two weeks. Not cool. And what about the guy who says he’s ready for an exclusive relationship, and then you catch him flirting with every passing woman? Ask yourself, how do you feel when you’re together? If your gut is telling you something isn’t kosher, it probably isn’t. On the other hand, if you’re dating a man with whom you feel seen and heard, someone who accepts and respects you, and you leave every date wanting more, he might be have ‘soulmate’ potential.
2. Does he have your back?
Is he there for you during challenging times? It’s one thing to be a ‘fair weather lover’. It’s exemplary to show up when times are tough. I met a woman who knew her husband was the ‘one’ after a particularly scary time in her life. A dangerous-looking guy had entered her store. When she called her then-boyfriend and asked if he could please come to the store, he dropped everything and zipped right over. In that moment, she knew without a doubt that this man would prioritize her needs and be there in times of trouble. He was a keeper.
3. Do you share common goals and values?
Ideally, you both want the same basic things in life. For example, you both love living in the city, and you both prioritize spending time with family. You share the same vision about retirement and how you want to spend your time and money. You share a similar worldview about politics and religion. If you share a majority of lifestyle and worldview values, you will most likely have the foundation for a solid relationship.
4. Do you have fun together?
This may sound obvious, but many couples are not good friends before getting married or moving in together. This is essential in a relationship you hope will last a lifetime. Make sure you share fun times together and laugh about the same things. When I was first married, my husband and I spent 24/7 together for three straight weeks. We were touring colleges throughout the Southeast for his stand-up comedy shows. People warned me that this was a terrible way to start a marriage. How could we possibly spend that much time together? What if we fought or got sick of each other? Turns out they were wrong. We had a great time because we enjoyed each other’s company (It wasn’t until several years later that a family crisis led to a breakdown in our marriage).
5. How do you feel when you’re NOT with him?
Often, couples feel connected and secure with the relationship when they’re together. But when they’re apart, one partner feels insecure about whether his/her partner’s feelings are mutual. A ‘soulmate’ relationship is good when you’re together AND apart.
Why do some people ignore this red flag? Sex. Many relationships begin with big sparks of attraction. Sex is an important component in a good relationship, but extreme chemistry can make you a little fuzzy. It can blind you to red flags you might be ignoring because the sex is so great. You feel bonded. This must be love!! That’s why I recommend that you hold off on sex until you’re in a committed relationship.
If your relationship passes these 5 steps, spend at least a year together to really get to know one another. You will have experienced each other through many seasons; through joy, love, and fun times, as well as through crisis, stress, and life’s challenges. After about a year, you will know the true character of your partner and be able to decide whether there is an authentic deep bond, one that will stand the test of time.
Have you ever stayed too long with the wrong partner or felt you missed falling for the right partner? Please share your experience below.
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