For some of us, the thought of spending the rest of our lives with only one person is scary as hell. I mean, we're petrified of labeling any relationship at all, let alone legally committing to someone until the day we die.
There are millions of people out there with whom you could be compatible, with whom you could have a fulfilling, lasting relationship. So how do you know if this person, the one who you THINK you could get down on one knee for or who you THINK you could excitedly exclaim "yes" for, is the right person?
How do you know if the person you're dating right now is "the one"? Will you ever really know? Or will you be trapped in the purgatory of certainty and uncertainty forever, hoping that some unimaginable force will drag you in one direction or the other and give you a definitive answer?
To find out, I talked to 10 married (and three engaged) Millennials about how they knew the person they married was "the one."
Some knew right away. For others, the path was a bit rockier. Still, each journey, no matter how smooth or bumpy, led to the same destination: true, ever-lasting love.
Here's what they said.
Molly, 30, married.
I couldn't wait to get to the "I love you stage" when I was dating my husband. I was constantly (and still am) so giddy when I saw his name on my phone or if we were in person and he would look into my eyes. He's a perfect gentleman. Sincere, kind, trustworthy, mature, smart and driven. He's more than I could ever dream of! It's hard to describe how I knew because I just knew! Best decision of my life to marry Ethan! I was engaged twice before I married my husband (coincidently, he was too!). I used to think arguing was normal and that the past guys would one day "grow up". That was not the case! There is such thing as the perfect guy. Don't waste your time on a guy that you have to teach or "mother."
Jeff, 22, married.
It's not necessarily a moment. It was moreso once I took the time to understand her, then I just knew I adored her with all my heart. You just know, so you shouldn't be unsure. [If you are,] run like hell!
Kristin, 25, married.
I can't think of one particular instance when I had this huge revelation that Brian was the person I was going to marry -- probably because it didn't happen like that. We started off just having fun; typical early dating honeymoon phase. I mentally prepped myself (as well as a 20-something can) for it to come crashing down as it usually did, but that never happened. To my surprise, I realized the opposite -- somehow I was still counting down the hours until we could be together again, with that same stupid, giddy excitement as our first date. The difference, though, was that I was doing this dating thing without 17 outfit changes before meeting up, without any liquid courage and without my sisters and team of best friends (turned bridesmaids) helping me interpret and thoroughly analyze every other text he sent. There was never anything to question, just a plethora of trust, respect and real, genuine love. For the first time in my life, I was way more concerned about someone else (who wasn't my sibling) other than myself -- he was my exception. Even before we were engaged, the thought of my future without him in it never crossed my mind. I somehow knew this was it; this amazing and happy life with a perfect boyfriend was exactly what was intended for me, and I wasn't letting go. Also, he doesn't like pizza crust, which happens to be my favorite part of pizza, so that was pretty significant as well. Ever seen "He's Just Not That Into You"? If not, learn it, live it, love it. And if you don't spend more time laughing than not, run... run like the wind.
Marc, 26, married.
[I knew] after spending a semester abroad 24/7 together and not wanting it to end. Live together first.
Erin, 21, engaged.
I didn't have to question it. The love I have for my fiancé is indescribable, and I just knew. The feeling in my gut told me he's the one, and I knew to never let him go. I think if you have to question it, then he isn't the one. I seriously just knew he was the one. He protects me and takes care of me and does anything he can to make sure I'm happy. I was in a verbally abusive relationship and crushed on a lot of bad guys. This man is just different. When you know you know, and if you have to question it, then he isn't the one.
Tatyana, 29, married.
He drove 22 hours to make sure he didn't miss spending our first Valentine's together. All flights were canceled due to snow storms. When he walked in the door after that drive, which became 23-plus hours, I knew he was it. Make a list. When the positives outweigh the negatives, that's always a sure bet. But I always say to follow your gut because it's always right.
Mac, 20, married.
My now-husband went away on a business trip, and I remember waking up to an empty bed and thinking, "I never want to sleep without him by my side again." If you're hesitant or contemplating it, then let him go! You will know when you meet the one -- you just do. Trust yourself. Your soul won't steer you wrong.
Tyler, 26, engaged.
There was no specific moment. It's just a feeling you have that you've found the right person and you're supposed to be with them. Don't overthink it. Some things take time. Give it everything you've got, and you should be able to figure out if the person is right for you.
Jenna, 26, married.
After dating for two and a half years, we spent four months living together and traveling around Australia (and essentially being together 24/7). That experience made me realize that I found the one who I would love to spend life with. We were dating for six years before we got engaged, and the idea of marriage developed naturally as we felt mature enough to make that decision. If you're having major doubts about the person, you should go with your gut instinct. Spending a lot of alone time with the person in a non-typical situation where challenges may arise (like when traveling) can help you see if you can work well together as a team and if you can still make each other laugh and smile.
Brittany, 24, married.
When I reconnected with my husband after more than 10 years (we've known each other since kindergarten), it all just felt right. The day he told me that he adored me and loved everything about me, I knew he would always be my best friend and lover. I've always felt safe, loved and appreciated by him. He's my biggest fan and always cheers me up even when I'd rather have a pity party. Within three to six months of dating someone, you can tell whether they're the one or not. I dated a guy for more than five years who always cringed at the thought of marriage -- I dumped him for my husband. If you've been together for a while and can't speak about marriage, the relationship is over. If your interests and life goals don't line up, you two are done. Can't picture a future together? Hit the road jack. Your spouse needs to be your right-hand man and vice versa -- you defend, protect, respect and love each other above everyone else (even your children and parents).
Waqas, 27, married.
I knew she was the person I was going to marry during her second year away at school. We hit a very rough patch due to family issues and dealing with the challenges of a long distance relationship. The rough patch helped me understand how strong our relationship was, and from that moment I knew. Imagine life without this person. Is there anyone in the world that can fill that person's void? Anyone that can make you feel the way he or she does? And can you see yourself accomplishing both of your life goals together? I think answering those questions will help you find an answer.
Kelli, 25, engaged.
I met my fiancé when I was 18 years old. I can't say I had "a moment" exactly, but if I had to pick one it would be on our first unofficial date. We went to Subway, and I was in charge of getting the drinks while he paid. I filled up our huge cups with Sprite and walked over to our booth. We were having a great time chatting when I went to take a sip from my cup. Graceful me grabbed the cup from the top, and all 32 oz of my Sprite exploded all over the table, the floor and of course all over Greg. I apologized profusely, but to my surprise, he laughed. He laughed hard, and he helped me clean it up. It might sound dumb, but that moment has been a metaphor for our lives together thus far. When things are less than perfect, we laugh about it and when things get messy, I know we'll clean up the mess together. Having someone that'll stay by your side is a rare find these days and having someone who can always make you laugh is treat. When you have someone who does both, you "just know." So, does the person make you happy? Can you see yourself with someone else? Will you think you will still love them in five, 10, 20 years? A good friend of mine just broke off her engagement two months before the wedding because she felt like she loved him in the past, but couldn't love him in the future. A quarter-life crisis of sorts. There are a lot of changes that Millennials go through between 18 and 30, and sometimes the person who was perfect for you at 22 isn't three years later. I think you have to know yourself and know what direction you want your life to go in order to make a decision that is so permanent. If you feel like you and your partner are on the same page with what is important and that you will still make each other happy in the future, then you'll be just fine.
Michelle, 28, married.
When he met my family, it all just fell into the place and felt right. You can't force things into place. It should always be worth the fight to keep things strong, but not to lose sight of who you are to try and make that person the one. People are who they are, and if they are the one, it will just feel right. Not sure you would be hesitant if it were.