Love: How Do You Know?



LA-8594A friend once asked me “How do you know they are ‘the one’?” And in perhaps one of my most unhelpful answers ever, I responded “You just do”. Cliché, but true.

In an episode of Big Bang Theory I saw recently (OK, I watch that a lot) Penny described her love of Leonard as boring, and Bernadette & Amy said they were never short of passion in their relationships, leaving Penny feeling inadequate and ultimately breaking up with Leonard. But, in my opinion, that’s not quite how love goes.

I’ve been in passionate relationships with high highs and low lows, and not very little in between, and I thought it was love. Isn’t that what all the songs say? Love is a battlefield and all that?

I disagree. Strongly. I don’t feel like passion defines love any more than love defines passion. You can hate someone and be attracted to them, just like you can love a friend in a totally platonic way.

When I think about the way I feel about the Viking, it feels safe. I feel safe, comforted, calm. Sure, we argue, everyone does (and I can’t imagine the Viking ever not arguing with anyone). Sometimes I love him so much I feel like my heart is going to burst. And sometimes I want to clock him over the head because he absolutely drives me mad. But most of the time it just feels like being home. Like being whole.

For me that’s what love should be. That’s when you know you’ve found it, found them, the person you were meant to be with. Because you feel like you’re home. You feel like life never existed without them and when you think about yourself old and grey, they are there beside you.

Romantic comedies have a lot to answer for, and it seems this is just another misconception they’re perpetuating. The idea that love has to overcome some obstacle, some big event, where you hate each other with the passion of a thousand firey suns, only to realise it was all a misunderstanding (which would have easily been cleared by one person finishing a sentence or clarifying what they mean in the first place instead of stomping off into the rain) and fall into each others arms. Rather than getting together, getting along, and loving and living happily ever after.

At least, that’s what I think.

What do you think? How did you know? 

  • Tamsin Howse

    This morning the Viking stopped a woman being beaten by a man on the side of the road. And I remember, all over again, why I fell in love with him.

    • Karen

      Bloody hell! Yes, he’s a keeper x

      • Tamsin Howse

        He definitely is.

  • Karen

    I was fairly certain my husband was The One … he was kind, respectful, funny, hardworking, smart, hawt … ticked all the boxes!

    But did I KNOW? Nope. You cannot know for sure if they’re The One. That’s why, if you choose to go down that path, marriage is a big deal. You’re promising to stick by that person even if they turn out to NOT be The One (because they won’t … nobody is … The One doesn’t exist). You’re promising that you’ll work at the problems instead of resenting your spouse for them and making it all their fault and copping out by concluding that maybe they weren’t The One.

    At times in our marriage we’ve both doubted the choices we made. But what pulled us through was a mutual determination to see each other as The One and to act accordingly. That kind of stuff is amazing… makes you fall in love all over again.

    • Melissa Savage

      I was going to write a very similar response – I don’t know, I can’t know, there’s no such thing as the one but we were happy enough to make promises saying we’d be there for the long haul, and so we are.

      It’s a very Christian idea actually – it’s not about the one, it’s about committing to one you think you can make it work with. This idea of bolt-from-the-blue romance and drama is a staple of secular culture and not actually all that much fun to live through (the kind of mistake you’re likely to make when you’re a teenager – see Romeo and Juliet).

      • Karen

        Yeh, totally agree. My favourite movie is Gone With the Wind 😉

      • Tamsin Howse

        The bolt out of the blue romance and drama sounds exhausting… besides, it may be romantic (in the true sense of the word, not the hallmark kind of way) but things didn’t exactly work out for Romeo & Juliet, did they?

    • Kelly Exeter

      This is funny you say this K because (even though I don’t think there is only one ‘The One’ in the world for us), I knew Ant was ‘The One’ for me. I just knew. Maybe it’s because there were things he did that, if anyone else did them, it would drive me mad. Maybe it’s because my heart constricts at the thought of being without Ant. Maybe it’s because I knew what a massive pain in the arse I was (and still am) … and know that despite this, he still loves/loved me!

      • Tamsin Howse

        You’re pretty lucky that things he does don’t drive you mad! I can definitely tell you there are things the Viking does that drive me mad, and he knows it, and I do things that drive him mad too.

    • Tamsin Howse

      I know. I know 100% and I have known for years. Doesn’t mean I sometimes I want to scream and throw a massive tantrum. Doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes wish he were easier to live with, or that we don’t have our problems, but I do know.

  • Monique Fischle

    Like Karen and Mel, I’m not sure that there is such thing as “The One” but with DG, I knew when I met him that he was the right person for me because of a million different little and big things. Things have always felt right with him. I feel safe and loved and protected. They aren’t always easy, but I know that I want him by my side through all the ups and downs of life and he would say the same fabout me.

    We’re new to marriage, but we aren’t unrealistic in our expectations (well we don’t think we are). We are a team and on our wedding day we promised to be a team no matter what life throws our way. All relationships require work and I think that when you’ve found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, you need to commit to putting in the work because it’s worth it.

    • Tamsin Howse

      “when you’ve found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, you need to commit to putting in the work because it’s worth it.” Bingo

  • iamevilcupcake

    I don’t believe in “The One”. Doesn’t make sense that in a world of billions of people that there is only one person out there for you. Seems unfair.

    At 37 years old I should know what this kind of love is. But I really don’t. I hope that one day I get to find out!

    • Melissa Savage

      so true. If you had only been born in a different town or at a different time, you ‘one’ might be someone else entirely.

    • Tamsin Howse

      I don’t think of “the one” as meaning there is only one. I think it’s more about the validity of knowing this person is right for you.

      You will find out, Cuppy, I believe it.

  • Ozgirl

    Hmmm interesting discussion about there being “the One” or not.

    But I more took this to be “how do you know if you are in ‘real’ love or not”.

    It is something I have often wondered about and I think I have a weird opinion on. I have claimed many a time that I don’t think people are truly in love unless it is reciprocated.

    I have a friend who argued the point with me about the man that she is now married too. She said that he declared his love for her way before she thought she was in love with him. She questioned the fact that I was in essence diminishing his love for her by saying it was ‘real’ because she did reciprocate at first.

    I am currently “dating” a man. He has a few issues and just is not in the right head space for a relationship right. Rather than walking away from him I have decide to take things as they come and see what happens.

    Some people think I am crazy but I feel like I am in the most honest and adult relationship of my life (and incidentally the longest)! Even though technically he is not my boyfriend!

    But if we end up together in the future I am pretty sure I can tell you the one day/moment I feel in love with him. It was the moment (on the 21st Dec) where I decided to continue the “relationship” rather than walk away. I feel he is worth the risk.

    If I am really in love then the day he realizes/says it to me I think (as corny as it sounds) it will take the relationship to a different level and therefore will be real love.

    Those of you who follow me on twitter may have seen the photo of us I posted on instagram a few weeks ago.

    • Tamsin Howse

      That’s more how I meant it, to be honest. To me, “the one” just means you really love the, they are right for you, and they fit you. It doesn’t necessarily mean there is, was and always will be only one.

  • Surely Sarah

    I agree with you about the feeling of “home” and “wholeness”. I don’t know how I knew, except that one day I realized I just wanted to spend the all my days with this guy (cliche!).
    I do think that the Western perception of Romantic Love is very strange and sets up unrealistic expectations for young women. I had no idea that relationships involved so much negotiation and compromise!

    • Tamsin Howse

      Agree completely. I don’t know how I knew, I just knew.

      However, like you say, doesn’t mean he relationship will be all sunshine and lollipops and cakes made with rainbows!

  • Hayley Ashman

    I don’t think anyone really knows. We just hope there is a ‘one’ and that the person we’ve chosen is it.

  • An Idle Dad

    This reminds me of one of my favourite posts – “the one” is one of the big lies of relationships

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