How Do Men Know They've Found the One?

The answer is…a bit complex

Updated 02/23/17

Photo by Bonnie Sen Photography

“How did you know I was the One?”

If you were ever to ask us this question point blank, you might see a flash of panic in our eyes.

It’s not because we’re trying to hide something. It’s not because we’re thinking Ah, she’s caught us! Now she’s going to find out that she’s NOT the one.

We might panic for a second because it’s an impossible question to answer. It’s too complex, too ambiguous, too contradictory. All the exact opposite of the confident declaration of love you’re seeking.

If we’re really smooth, we’ll come back with something sweet, romantic and/or silly, something that compliments one of your best qualities:

“I knew you were the one when I saw how you treated my nephews” (your natural maternal instinct);

“I knew you were the one when you kicked my ass at racquetball” (your skill, your grit, your drive);

“I knew you were the one when you kissed me in the middle of that Slayer concert” (your love of truly hellacious metal).

In reality, there may never have been a single moment when we realized you were the One. Maybe, even now, we don’t consider you the One. That doesn’t mean we don’t love you completely, it just means we don’t think in those terms.

A Question of Emotional Survival

First off, the entire idea of the One makes us uncomfortable. For a long time, our emotional survival depended on the idea that there is no such thing as the One.

Being a single man means dealing with a lot of rejection. No one bats a thousand, after all. Unless he looks like Chris Pine, a single man will strike out far more than he scores.

That’s OK. Striking out is not a sign of failure, it’s a sign of trying. It shows that a man is not letting any single rejection demoralize him. Hopefully, he’ll be able to take a woman’s lack of interest with grace, remember the old saying “There are plenty more fish in the sea,” and move along.

Dating should be a learning experience, right? We should gain a little insight with every relationship, even if that relationship consists of the 20 seconds it takes for a woman at a bar to shut down the guy trying to buy her a drink.

But the idea of the One implies something else, as if each relationship is like buying a lottery ticket, hoping to hit the grand prize. A losing lottery ticket has no value. It’s a discouraging way to look at our love life, especially when you consider the odds against winning.

The Mathematics of True Love

The other side of “more fish in the sea” is that we are aware of all the other beautiful women out there. Even after we’ve established a long-term relationship with you, we haven’t forgotten other possibilities, other roads we might have taken.

Yes, we love you, but there are several billion women in the world that we’ve never met and never will meet. Can we honestly say that none of them would be as good for us as you? The probability is high that a certain number of these women might actually be better for us than you. We don’t mean to be harsh. It’s just a question of mathematics.

(What’s that you say? That there are, mathematically speaking, at least a billion men who could please you more than we do? Why...why that’s ridiculous. What nonsense!)

We Can’t Quite Believe You Put Up With Us

Women sometimes complain that their men are egomaniacs, far more pleased with themselves than they should be. This is undoubtedly true of some men. But at least as often, if not moreso, what a man is thinking is “I can’t believe she wants to be with me.”

We’re not as smart as you; we’re not as mature as you; we’re not as sensitive as you. We smell awful most of the time, we always leave the toilet seat up, we don’t know how to listen. Our sex parts are weird looking and we fart in bed.

By rights you should be running in the other direction, but for some reason you stay. That’s one reason we love you: because you love us. Unfortunately, that’s not the answer that you want to hear.

The Absence of the Question Is the Answer

Do you ever ask yourself if air is your favorite thing to breathe? Or if gravity is your preferred way of staying connected to the surface of the earth? We’re guessing you don’t (or at least haven’t since junior year in college and that weekend you experimented with peyote).

That’s kind of how we feel about you. Without you we’d suffocate. We’d be hurled out of our lives into the coldness of deep space. Maybe the best answer to “How do you know I’m the One?” is this: We know because we never even thought to ask ourselves the question.

Related Stories