What made you realise that yes, he/she is the one with whom you can spend the rest of your life?
The first glance, then the first kiss, then the first intercourse, then we got married and had seven kids; after 28 years of war and peace, she listened to her "friends" and forced a divorce with false violence charges, turning a successful businessman into a homeless beggar by robbing me of everything which would have even been fine, but the demonization of a father to his younger children is an unbearable and unforgivable damage.
For me it was the ease and quality of conversation. For context, I was dumped by a long-term girlfriend on the eve of our 10th anniversary. After a period of trying to restabilise my thoughts and identity I dated a lot, and was good at getting dates. Notably, I needed to triple-stack them in a single evening - 17:00–18:30 for new connections, 19:00–21:00 for people I'd met before, 21:00-whenever for people I thought had potential. I was exposed to a lot of different ways of living, cultures, aesthetics, all having different implications about what my new life might hold. A doctor from San Francisco of Chinese heritage vs a white receptionist from London or a Black London-born lawyer - impossible to compare speculatively or in any other way, and I've never cared about where anyone comes from, ethnicity, wealth or anything like that. I had hundreds of dates, and types of dates.
Some boozy, some booze-free, some sexy, some unsexy - it was all great having an excuse to hang out with what on the whole were lovely people. Sometimes met their friends but usually not. Dated models, which was actually weird because I became invisible next to them. Everyone staring at her. I had a lot of fun and learned loads.
Then, one day, I had to meet someone for lunch at a pub. I was hungover after a night with friends, on whose sofa I was still fermenting on in a crappy T-Shirt with something I'd stained myself with dribbled down the front, and they insisted I get going, possibly because they wanted me off their couch and out of their home. I was a bit unenthusiastic about the whole thing - her online dating profile was a bit uninspiring, possibly because her friends seemed to have written it for her. Diplomatic and vanilla.
Anyway, I got to the venue and I met her in the Pub's garden and started cycling through the get-to-know you stuff that's common to most dates - what do you do, yada yada. At some point, I am alerted by my sleepy brain that I need to pay a lot more attention. Some dates mention they've been to Cambodia or something in order to boast. This person's just mentioned, without boasting and entirely in context of the conversation, that they've been a jungle doctor in S America for a year. And a half a dozen similar things. We are remarkably different, have entirely different interests, but just clicked.
Like that wouldn't pique your interest.
Anyway, on we chatted and couldn't seem to stop. There was always a new avenue of conversation or thought or something, always 50/50 them or me starting the action. We wandered up to the train station with the view of her going one way and me another, but the conversation was still going so we headed to a third place and had a meal in a restaurant. I didn't want it to end and I suppose she didn't either - she walked me home and we kissed enthusiastically.
We were a couple shortly thereafter, although I was very reluctant to give up dating, and the discovery and random sex and excitement of the new, as I slumped into my sofa that night I remember thinking ‘You've met your match'.
The conversation has never stopped. It counts as its own ‘very interesting' activity in our day-to-day lives, which are themselves unusually interesting. I love being with her. We laugh a lot. We can both be headstrong and have learned how to compromise in what for both of us has been an unprecedented relationship. We've grown stronger as a couple and only learned how to heighten those peaks, with a view to creating the happiest memories we can. We've been together for 10 years and married for 5 and I've never been happier.
I love her with all of my being. Our daughter will be born in January.
When I yell (deal went bad for exp..), she yells harder (for no apparent reason) to show me I should calm down.
When I get angry, she gets more angry. To show me anger is stupid.
When I get sad, she lays an arm around my shoulder.
When I get sick, she tucks me in, prepares me tea and let's me sleep.
For some I'm considered a monster (I work in banking), I tell others, I keep sane because there is a far bigger monster staying at home keeping me safe, day in day out. This is why I can stay with her forever.
(Why she would stay with me is a whole different story....)
Do they make you want to be a better version of yourself?
Do you care about their mental wellbeing, about their spiritual growth more than your emotional outbursts?
Do they make you want to look forward to the day with them?