How to Know You Have Found “The One”: 8 Questions to Consider

This is part seven and the final part of my love series where I share my love journey, how I met my soulmate (Ken Soh), and how to attract authentic love into your life.

Silhouette of a couple

In your love journey, you are going to meet many prospects. Some of whom you may have non-committal, fleeting encounters with (such as one-night-stands and flings). Some may be unrequited loves. Some may be cheats. Some may be toxic and abusive partners. Some may leave your heart fluttering, only for the feelings to die off before you can even put a finger to what it was you were feeling.

On the other hand, some may be solid individuals with great personalities, great minds, and a genuine interest in you. They may make you wonder, “Is he/she ‘the one’?”

Many have asked me how I realized Ken is “the one” (for me): in such a short period no less (within a month of getting together). Some found it incredulous on how I can make my assessment so quickly, hence (ironically) quick  to conclude that my assessment is flawed.

The funny thing is that between Ken and I, I was actually the slow one to realize that he is the one. Ken himself realized — without a single doubt — that I’m the one for him by the third day we got together. In fact, he already felt this way during our first few weeks of contact and was 100% affirmed of his feelings after we got attached. Previously, he had been with many girls —  with some relationships spanning for years — but his feelings for them never amounted to anything close.

8 Questions to Evaluate if He/She is “The One”

I can’t tell you whether the person you’re with is “the one” for you. This is a decision and realization you must arrive at for yourself.

That said, I have eight questions for you to consider in deciding if someone is “the one”:

  1. Does this person love you for who you are? Your one should love you for who you are. He/she doesn’t judge, compare you with others, or criticize you because he/she understands you are an individual of your own, second to none. He/she celebrates everything about you and sees beauty even in places where you don’t see it.
  2. Does he/she inspire you to be more than you can be? Your one should inspire you to be more than you can be. Being with him/her elevates you rather than holds you down. When you’re with him/her, you feel like a better man/woman and you want to be even better for him/her (as well as yourself).
  3. Is he/she there for you in times of need? Your one should be the one who’s always there for you: day or night, rain or shine. He/she will never leave you to face your problems alone. He/she cares for you deeply: perhaps even more so than he/she cares for him/herself.
  4. Does he/she make you happy? Your one should make you happy. When you’re with him/her, you’re constantly smiling, laughing, and happy. When you think about him/her, you smile, not cry (even if you cry, you’re shedding tears of happiness not sorrow). While there may be conflicts at times, they are quickly resolved and not dragged out into week/month-long wars. Your happy times together far outweigh any unhappy moments. He/she is, without a doubt, a positive light in your life.
  5. Do you feel excited to see him/her? Your one should be someone you are excited to see every time: even when you guys had just met. No meeting is too soon between the both of you; you can never wait till you meet again. You always make time to meet him/her — even in your busiest times — because that’s how important he/she is to you.
  6. Can you be yourself around him/her? You should be able to be yourself around your one. Be it being goofy, crazy, kiddish, wimpy, sulky, or morose, you can be all these and more in front of him/her without worry about judgment. You never need to dial yourself down or put on a different persona to fit him/her and he/she doesn’t require you to do so either.
  7. Do you love him/her? There is no relationship without love. Your one should be someone you love unconditionally with all your heart. Your love isn’t contingent of his/her good looks, personal success, wealth, family background, social status, or career accomplishments (i.e. “what” makes up him/her). Rather, your love is the result of “who” he/she is: his character, values, and ethics.
  8. Do you see yourself with him/her for the rest of your life? Your one should be someone you see yourself with forever: for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, or in health. No matter what happens, you will stick with him/her and stand by his/her side.

(This checklist is also available in manifestoposter and postcard formats.)

8 Signs He/She is NOT “The One”

On the other hand, here are eight signs you are with the wrong person (complementing my 2010 list Top 12 Signs It’s Time To Move On From a Relationship):

  1. He/she doesn’t love you for who you are. There are often conditions and expectations you have to live up to before he/she will be happy. Criticism (from him/her to you) isn’t uncommon. Neither are comparisons made with other people. No matter what you do or how hard you try, there always seems to be something wrong (with you) that you need to fix.
  2. He/she doesn’t inspire you to be more than you can be. In fact, you feel weighed down sometimes with him/her. You feel like you can’t talk about or pursue your higher goals without losing him/her. It’s as if he/she is holding you back and preventing you from moving upward and forward in life.
  3. He/she isn’t there for you when you need him/her. Be it excuses or actual reasons, there is always one thing or another that keeps him/her from being there for you. Instead, it’s your other friends who are with you during your difficult moments. He/she is with you during good times but never the bad times.
  4. He/she makes you more sad than happy. Whenever you think of him/her, you feel sad, worried, stressed, scared, or even angry: anything but happy. When you’re with him/her, you argue more often than not. While you may have had happy times together before, they seem like memories of yesteryears.
  5. You don’t feel excited to see him/her. Bored maybe, nonchalant perhaps, jaded even, but not excited. Sometimes you may rather do something else rather than meet him/her.
  6. You can’t be yourself around him/her. You have to constantly change to fit him/her. You can never behave as your real self out of fear of judgment/criticism by him/her. 
  7. You don’t love him/her. You may have some good feelings towards him/her but you’re not sure whether it’s love. Or maybe you love him/her but this love is conditional on certain factors (in which case it wouldn’t be real love).
  8. You can’t see yourself with him/her for the rest of your life. Maybe one year, two years, three years or even four, but you’re not sure if you want to be with him/her for the rest of your life.

What To Expect in Your “One”: It’s Up to What You Want

Forming the heart shape with fingers

At the end of the day, whether someone is “the one” is very subjective.

For some people, they may be only looking for someone as a life companion and bearer of their children. I had a conversation with a good  friend a few months ago who is considering settling down with someone just that: no more, no less.

While I might have judged this approach towards relationship/marriage before, I can empathize. His comment comes after years of not getting anywhere close to finding that ideal partner who can meet his emotional, mental, and physical needs. He’s not getting any younger, and having children (of his own) is important to him at the end of the day. He wants to be around to see his children grow up (definitely not following Simon Cowell who is only having his first baby at 54). Having a simple lady as a partner also saves drama and makes for a reliable partner at the end of the day.

His intent reminded me of mail-order brides: where men order their brides from catalogs, usually of women in lower-income households in third-world countries. This phenomenon is definitely at odds with my viewpoint towards marriage: I see it as something pristine and should only be saved for that one person you love truly and deeply.

However,I have realized, “To each his own.” Some people may be happy with a functional marriage (i.e., to bear a child, to get citizenship, or to enjoy tax benefits) while others may find true love this way. And if people are happy with a relationship/marriage like that, who are we to judge?

Some people may be fixated on how their “one” should be. In my guide on how to attract love, I mentioned the importance of knowing your top criteria in a partner (Step #9). Not five, not four, not even three, but your top one to two criteria. Doing this isn’t to compromise but to clarify the most important thing that matters.

However, some overzealous singles have an endless checklist and refuse to consider anyone who “falls short” in any way. To them, reducing their criteria means compromising (even though it isn’t). They rather stay single than be with someone who doesn’t fit their staunch image of how their “one” should be like. Again, to each his own.

Then for others, perhaps they are okay with making do. With the eight pointers I listed above, they are okay if only two or three are met. It’s more important that they are in a relationship and have someone to return home to, rather than hold out for that one person whom they can be a mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual match with.

None of these are right or wrong approaches. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to choose who you want to be with. Your criteria for your “one” should be based on what you wish to get out of a relationship, your personal needs, and your expectations of your future. Your “one” should be someone who is a perfect match for YOU, whom you want to spend the rest of your life with and with whom you want to create a better future ahead with.

End Note for This Series

Thank you so much for reading this series. I hope you have found it helpful in attracting your best love in life. :)

For those of you who’ve not found your love, I hope you do at some point. Not because you need someone to complete you (you don’t), but because life can be so much richer and fuller when you find your right match. I was extremely happy with myself and with life before I met Ken; after meeting him and being with him, I realized life has other dimensions which I was not experiencing before. It was like I was living life in 3-D before and now I see life in 5-D or even 6-D. It’s richer, it’s fuller, there are more colors which I never knew could be there. It’s hard to explain this feeling without someone being in the situation him/herself.

Once again, Your Guide to Love: 10 Steps to Attract Authentic Love into Your Life will help.

Having a great relationship doesn’t stop after you’ve found the one. While being with the right person gives you a huge head start, there are other things involved to create your best relationship, such as being mindful of your partner’s needs, finding synergies between your relationship and your life, and resolving conflicts in a healthy manner. These are things I look forward to writing on PE in the months/years ahead. :)

Sharing Our Scotland Engagement Shots

Next up, I’ll be sharing Ken and my engagement shots in Scotland. We just received the pictures a few weeks ago and really love how they turned out! From castle shots, to beach shots, to park shots, to city shots, we love every one of them! You would have seen some of our shots when reading parts one to five of the series; there are many more on top of that. Stay tuned!

Update Oct ’13: Photos of our engagement shoot are now up! :D Check them out here:

New Soulmate Journey Course

I’m also planning to launch a soulmate journey course in the future, possibly Jan or Feb next year. Having been a single for a long time, feeling the societal pressures to meet someone, and seeing people settle for less-than-ideal relationships, I’m passionate about the topic of dating and helping singles find “the one” they are meant to be.

If you have found this article useful, you will love this course. It will be a deep-dive and hands-on experience to help you attract love: not through artificial, constructed approaches (go and set up 10 dating profiles! find 50 men/women to date this week!) but through an authentic, inside-out approach that combines inner reflection and external proactive action to attract your right match. Finding love can be hard, and I don’t want you to walk through this journey alone.

Stay tuned! More updates to come.

Thank You

Thank you for being a part of my (and now Ken’s) life. I look forward to sharing more of my life and our relationship with all of you.

Till next time, love yourself. Let’s continue to be our best self and live our best life. :)

Walking into the sunset

This is part seven and the final part of my love series where I share my love journey, how I met my soulmate (Ken Soh), and how to attract authentic love into your life.

Images: Silhouette of a coupleHeartShots of Ken and I from our Glasgow Engagement Shoot

  • riya

    Oh my god Celes, I am so sure he’s not the one. But I’m still dragging the relationship because I guess I am addicted to the pain… he’s my biggest support system; cant imagine my life without him. But he doesn’t care, shouts, and ignores me from last one year. I have no idea what to do. It’s driving me crazy!!

    You are an angel..

    • Celes

      Hey riya, as you said yourself, you are probably still in the relationship because you are addicted to the pain. If that’s the case, you really have to snap out of it. No one can decide for you whether to move on or not except for you.

      Once you feel that you are ready to let go of this toxic relationship, this post may help:

    • Guest

      Hi Riya, I also have this dilemma. I don’t think she is the one but somehow she is nice to me and i allow this to drag on for so long. I am not sure how I should move on from here as well

  • Mel

    His faults make me smile – I miss the messy bathroom when he’s not around.

    Even when he upsets me I can’t get mad at him.

    Just two more comments to add to the list above. Took me forty years to find the right guy, but it is so special when you do.

    • Celes

      So beautiful, Mel. I love what you have shared. Thank you for contributing to the list. :hug:

  • Rohan


    In that case, I believe you are not taking personality traits into account.

    This seems to be like the definition of an ideal relationship with ideal people.

    People come in different packages – Shy, extrovert, short tempered, impatient etc.- their personality traits show up in their behavior and for sure will show up in a relationship.

    How would you account for that?

    • Celes

      Account for what?

      The point is not what personality traits they have. The point is how they make you feel, with or without those personality traits. If their particular traits make you unhappy *the entire time*, it doesn’t matter whether those traits are ‘good’ or ‘bad’. The person simply doesn’t make you happy. This is not the person you want to be in a relationship with, unless you enjoy being an unhappy person.

  • Abinaya

    Totally love this post Celes!
    I’m glad my man fits the bill. :)

    #1 He is willing to give you the space you need.
    #2 He understands your silence as much as your words (silence is communicating too!).

    Great post!

    • Celes

      Aw, beautiful points Abinaya. I love your point #2 about understanding your silence. I’d say your point #1 about giving the space is tied to #2 in the list on respecting you as an individual.

      Congratulations that you are with someone who fits the bill, so to speak! :D

  • Vincent Nguyen

    Hi, Celes! I don’t think I’ve ever had a relationship anywhere NEAR that. However, this is a great checklist for the future so I will keep it in mind. Thanks!

    • Celes

      No problem, Vincent! ;) As long as you had a relationship that fit some of the items on the checklist, that means you are on your way there! It’s about progression, not about a binary “yes I’m with someone who meets all 10 points” or “no I’m not with someone who meets all 10 points”. Keep going! :)

  • Angela

    Great advice! New to this site and i really like what i see.
    I used this list to not only confirm that my guy is the one for me,
    But also to prove to myself that i dodged a bullet with my exes.
    Thank you! Keep the great articles coming and best of luck to you. :)

    • Celes

      Aw, that’s good to hear Angela! Best of luck to you too in your life! :D

  • Shruti K

    Hi Celes, I want to extend a big thank you to you for this wonderful blog. Thank you.

  • Christina

    Beautiful, Celes!

    • Celes

      Thank you, Christina! Feel free to add any signs which are not on the list. :)

      • Christina

        Hey Celes,

        I think you pretty much covered it ;) If I had to anything, it’s a feeling I look for–the feeling of being understood and understanding the other person too. Although that feeling doesn’t matter so much if there’s any disrespect (and unfortunately sometimes there is anyway)..So altogether–great list!


  • Alexa

    I think this list is great, especially when you realize how important it is you feel all these things for the other person as well (you’re not loving them because you expect them to become someone else, for example)!

    That said, numbers 5 and 6 personally jar me a bit. In the past, I’ve had issues with working much too hard at “doing anything to be with them,” and I think it’s important to specify that trying hard to be with someone does NOT mean sacrificing every aspect of your life to do so. It doesn’t mean giving up on the rest of your friends, changing yourself in any way that you don’t want to, or altering your life for or just because of this person. If you have a strong sense of self, this isn’t really an issue, but it can take some practice to understand the difference between doing anything to be with/be there for someone, and losing yourself in that pursuit.

    That’s not to say I think you shouldn’t compromise in a relationship, I think that’s an important part of any relationship since it involves two people “coming together” in a way. Just feel like saying you would “do anything” to be with someone else can be detrimental; it’s important to know where your boundaries are, knowing the “blanks” that’d fill in, “I would do anything -but- . . . to be with this other person.”

    Maybe this sort of clarification isn’t necessary for most, but for me it’s something I had to learn.

    Also, I’d like to add…make sure both of your important values are compatible! As well as life milestones (how do you want to live, do you want kids, etc.)

    Other than that, I think this is a great list! This is just my two cents haha. =)

  • Bob

    Hey Celes inspiring list,

    3 thoughts:

    When you feel energised being together.

    When you stretch each other in a loving way.

    When you feel more beautiful and loved every day.

  • rahul

    Beautiful article celes . . . God bless u . . . Agree with bob too. . . :)

    • Celes

      Aw thanks rahul for your kind words! :) May God bless you too!

      • rahul

        thanks celes. :)

  • Ken

    I thought I had found “The One” but I think developed feelings for her with all the wrong reasons.

    I know I ended up losing all respect from her with some of things I said, and it was because of this false or mis-understood love I developed for her.

    I needed to love myself before I could give my love to someone. I know I was avoiding working on my self esteem, & my confidence by helping her out more with her needs. Avoiding my problems.

    I know I had 3 through 10 for her, but 1 and 2, I didn’t need to push that expectation on her.

    I do know I lost the best friend I have ever known.

    • Celes

      Hey Ken, that’s a beautiful self-realization. “Love” can be fear-based or love-based and much of the love we see in society today is fear-based love, masqueraded as love-based love. “Love” like “I cannot live without you” or “I’ll die if you’re not with me” tends to be fear-based love, which then causes the problems you mentioned.

      You are definitely on the right track, and so are many of us here on PE I believe. As we grow in our life journeys, I’m sure we will eventually meet the right ones for us too. :)

  • Jacky

    I like this post , this is the greatest list for me to review my relationships. Thanks .

  • Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Celes,

    Love this approach ;) Thanks for sharing.

  • Moonsparkle

    Thanks for the questions and tips. I think they’ll be useful to me in the future. Thanks again for this series, I’ve really enjoyed it. :) The soulmate course sounds like a good idea.

    Looking forward to seeing the engagement shots. :)

    • Celestine Chua

      Thank you Moonsparkle! :)

  • bongani sibeko

    Ncooooh this is lovely Celes! You are such an inspiration on so many different levels. I don’t know whether this is the right platform to ask this question: Do you know of any personal developments/inspirational/motivational blogs I can send blog posts to as a guest? I have been searching but I don’t come across with the right ones. (Apologies if I overstepped the mark here) Thank you!

    • JadePenguin

      I can’t think of any but you can write in the forum on this site :)

    • Celestine Chua

      Hey bongani, this wouldn’t be the place for a discussion like this (the comments section for the articles are usually meant for discussion on the articles themselves) but I recommend searching on Google for “personal development blogs guest post”. Hope that helps! :)

  • Calae

    This post is awesome, Celes!

    I think you’ve really hit on everything, here. The only other thing I can think of is compatibility with life goals, as someone else mentioned below. There’s really no middle ground if one person wants a child and another doesn’t, unfortunately. =(

    Thanks for giving me plenty to think about! I’m not sure if I’m with “the one” right now, but honestly? I think we’re both still maturing/becoming the person we’re gonna be. We’re both helping each other out in a lot of ways. And even if he’s not “the one,” I treasure him as a friend and I know we’re both the most important person in the other’s life right now. Of course, both we and our relationship are still young, so it’s not like we’re planning to get married tomorrow (not saying short engagements/dating are bad, but that’s not what we’re aiming for!).

    Thanks again for sharing all of this, Celes! It’s been great reading everything you have to say. =)

    • JadePenguin

      Amen to life goals. Children is quite a big thing and I’ve definitely heard of childfree people having to let go of an otherwise loving partner because they wanted them.

      Possibly same applies to where people want to live. If one’s really into country living, in nature, away from civilisation and the other adores city life, can’t stand being away from everything, having to deal with less comfort, it’s also hard to make it work :| Or if both meet in a country foreign to them and plan to return to their homeland etc etc

      Sometimes people can be flexible on these though. Whatever happens, as long as it’s with the right person ;)

      • Celestine Chua

        Ditto, what you said Jade!! :)

    • Celestine Chua

      Hi Calae, thanks for sharing the point about life goals! You make a good point, though the reason why I didn’t put it down on the list is because being with the right person can sometimes change what one thinks are staunch, unalterable life goals.

      For example, I’ve read of a real-life example before where this guy who is in his late years (he’s divorced, has kids from another marriage) seriously didn’t want anymore kids but became open (not reluctantly too) to having kids after knowing that his love (a woman who has never had any kids before) really wants to have kids of her own. If two people really love each other enough, it can overcome any preset beliefs/expectations. In the event it doesn’t, it simply means that the person’s hold over his/her personal goals/direction is just too dominant to make any exceptions for someone else. And it’s nothing to be sad about; it just means his/her feelings for this person isn’t enough for him/her to reconsider his/her preset life goals.

      Myself, I’ve never thought about whether to have kids or not. If anyone ever asked me about this before, I would likely slant to the “no” category, perhaps adopting kids of my own if I were to really have them because there are so many orphaned kids out there today. On the other hand, I can sense that Ken would love for us to have our kids (though he’s perfectly respectful of my wishes and wouldn’t want me to have kids if I don’t want to), so I’m slowly warming up to the idea. So just another example.

      For sure though, we should never enter into a relationship expecting or holding our partner’s life views to change. So it’s good to check if you are on the same page as your partner with regards to make-or-break factors first before entering into some long-term arrangement, say living together, buying a house together, or even marriage.

      Regarding your boyfriend now, I love that you mentioned that both of you are still maturing/coming into your own. Your relationship is unfolding in a track of its own, so give it the time and space to grow. The nurturing point ($10) of the finding love guide would definitely apply here. The fact that you are so conscious and grow-oriented makes the evolution relationship even more exciting, because it represents big opportunities for both it, him, and you. I’m experiencing the very same thing with me and Ken now where our relationship is continuously evolving and forging on stronger grounds every other week.

      Thank you so much for your kind words throughout the series, Calae! It’s so great having you (and all the rest of you!) being here on PE and with me in this journey. :))

      • Calae

        Hey Celes! I know you responded to this months ago, but for some reason I feel like I’m only reading it now. I think it was meant to be because I’ve been really concerned recently about the thought of having kids versus not having kids, and not being able to tell if I really don’t want kids or if it’s my own insecurities or if I’m just hoping to change my thoughts regarding the matter so that people like me. I really like what you said about how being with the right person can help you reevaluate the big goals in life.
        Right now for some reason, I’m really living in a fear-based way. My boyfriend will be going to medical school soon and I’m afraid of a potential break-up due to the distance. I’m afraid that my fear is appearing into the relationship as well. I’ve also been nervous because I’m in a summer internship that I love but I’m afraid of a lot of things about it — asking for help because I’m afraid I should know what I’m doing more, asking for things in general, appearing competent/doing the right thing. I’ve also been afraid in regards to my relationship with my mom — I want to stay connected, but I want to do it without succumbing to the overly-protective, somewhat smothering approach that she takes. All this on top of getting used to a new living place and work schedule (I’m not used to 8 hour days, five days a week yet!), and I’ve just been feeling overwhelmed at times.
        Apologies for using this as a “venting” space, but I felt bad that I’d never replied to this as I really love what you said and appreciate the time you took to wrote it!

  • Hnin

    Hi Celes, in January this year, I reconnected with a senior from secondary school whom I had never been close to and similar to your story, we caught up, fell in love and knew in just a few short weeks that we’ve found “The One”. Everyone was skeptical, but we just knew it. He is the first person I could see myself having a future with and we were talking about it all the time. It felt beyond amazing to be with him and I am so thankful. He is such a wonderful person. I cannot express myself enough the amazing things that happened in this short time we got together but I am so so so so so sure. I am really glad to read and find out that your story with Ken was really similar to ours. I was able to relate to you and let my friends read it so they could understand the things I couldn’t express and explain to them. Thank you for being such an inspiration too! <3

    • Celestine Chua

      Wow, that’s awesome Hnin!! I’m so happy for you. Don’t worry about what others say because they probably don’t understand, are fearful of things that lie out of their belief system, and are likely also just concerned for you. Focus on building your relationship with your one and treasure him always because there’ll never be someone else like him out there. I wish you all the best in your relationship together! ♥

  • Caitlin

    You are so adorable, Celeste! I am so happy you’ve found your Love, your One. Thanks for letting us all in on the process and for all your practical info. :))

    • Celestine Chua

      Thank you so much for your support Caitlin! :))

  • Farnam

    Thank you for giving us an “easy” guide to choose the best for ourselves, which is follow-able.I have read many guides, but none of them was able to be simply applied by a normal person(not a person that has relationships’ educations).
    P.S.:: Your photo is really beautiful, two lovers caring for and protecting each other, are going toward an eternal brightness in a road with ups and downs, as long as someone is coming back(getting away from brightness, as a discourage), and many distractions (trees) are beside them, they are going to complete their mission(moving toward the light).

    • Celestine Chua

      Thank you so much Farnam! :) I was definitely writing the post to make it as relatable as possible because it might be lost on readers if it’s too theoretical / dry. I’m glad you found it relatable / applicable! :)

      I love your description of the photo! It’s so poetic. I see the photo as us walking into the sunset, always walking hand in hand together: like a happy ending after a long “search” for the right person but also a happy start for what’s to come. Your comment adds another layer of insight, especially regarding the distractions/obstacles (trees). I love it!

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