"When you know, you know." That's the conventional wisdom when it comes to figuring out if the person you're dating is the person you'll be with in the long, long term.
But when and how does that seemingly elusive feeling of assurance strike? We recently asked a group of married relationship experts to tell us about the moment they knew they had found The One. Below, authors, professors, therapists and other relationship professionals share their stories.
1. They never ran out of things to say.
"On our third date, we met in the late afternoon for drinks, then we saw a movie, followed by a long, leisurely dinner. Then we decided to walk. All night. First to a cafe in North Beach, then to a jazz bar, and then just up and down the San Francisco hills, until around 6 a.m. when we said goodnight at my front door. Not once did we get bored or run out of things to say. I knew then that 10, 20, 30 years out, we'd still be talking, laughing, keeping life fresh and interesting. And we are." - Winifred Reilly, licensed marriage and family therapist and relationship blogger
2. What she lacked, he had in spades.
"I knew my husband was The One during our first real date, which was a trip to Miami since we lived in different cities at the time. He navigated us around in a rental car, which was impressive since I have no directional capacity at all. He also was very gentle when rubbing sunscreen on me, which I liked because I thought it meant he was kind and a caretaker. I was right!" - Dr. Samantha Rodman, psychologist and dating coach
3. The relationship felt totally, completely right.
"My wife and I met in high school, we broke up on graduation, but rekindled the relationship in our senior year of college. She had the opportunity to study in Europe, and I spontaneously decided to join her for a year in romantic Heidelberg. On the plane, my exhausted wife-to-be fell into a deep sleep. I looked over at her slumbering form, and I was hit by an overwhelming feeling of rightness -– that for once in my life, I was in the right place, at the right time, with the right person. In Germany, I learned the wonderful word for 'significant other' or 'sweetheart': Lebensgefährtin. It literally means a 'fellow-traveler through life.' And that’s what we’ve been to one another ever since." - Dr. Karl Pillemer, author of 30 Lessons For Loving and professor of gerontology at Cornell
4. It was love at first sight -- no doubt about it.
"I knew my husband was the one at first sight. I know that sounds crazy, but we were set up and had been talking on the phone for nearly a month. Each time we’d connect by telephone, we’d talk for hours. He knew so much about me before we ever met face-to-face, and before we left dinner that night, we both knew we’d never be with another person again." - Fawn Weaver, author and founder of Happy Wives Club
5. He was a true gentleman.
"It was a cold night in November 1985 and we were double-dating at a Lebanese restaurant in Washington, D.C. He was NOT my date! I was wearing short sleeves and I must have been shivering because Chuck took off his sweater, a red and green chevron-patterned number, and gave it to me. I slipped it on and it was so soft and smelled so good, musky and manly. We looked at each other, he's got these see-through blue eyes, and I thought, 'Hmmm, this could be interesting...' And it's been interesting for 27 years." - Iris Krasnow, author of The Secret Lives of Wives
6. She broke all the dating "rules" for him.
"Lou was bartending over the summer after my freshman year of college and his best friend, who I had dated, was the bouncer. Lou was different from any man I had dated. I can't really explain what it was, but he complemented me in ways I hadn't ever considered before. I knew it from the start. And because he wasn't going to call me (bro code), I looked through the phone book and called everyone with his name until I found him. I don't believe in rules when it comes to love, but if I did, I was sure willing to break any and all of them." - Dr. Logan Levkoff, sexologist and author
7. Their chemistry was off the charts.
"I knew my husband was The One on date number four. The electricity wouldn't stop. I swear, I got electric butterflies every time I would think of him. The PDA was getting a little ridiculous that night and I told him, 'You’re the man of my dreams.' He said, 'Wow, that’s a lot to live up to.' I was actually trying to NOT be in a relationship for a long time, but there was no denying this intense chemistry." - Marina Sbrochi, author of Stop Looking for a Husband: Find the Love of Your Life
8. His success was hers too.
"When I whispered to her, 'They let me in [to a psychotherapy graduate program]' her face radiated joy. More than I did at the time, she understood what this could mean to me and to us. Up until that moment, the future of my career was vague. She knew that this possibility of me becoming a psychotherapist had my name written all over it. Her assurance made her the one for me." - Dr. Jim Walkup, licensed marriage and family therapist