30 years ago life was simple.Found a guy,got married.Lived together, happily or sad.Marriage mostly meant forever.Expectations were less , responsibility was divided and society and reputation meant everything.
Times are different now.We belong to a generation where we do not think twice before quitting our high paying jobs to do something we love.We don’t hesitate leaving a long lasting relationship for a good for nothing fling we had. We do not blink an eye lid to leave home and go back packing with a bunch of strangers.Most of us who are currently in our 20’s have had our first bf/gf at 16 or 17.For many, the first will not be the last.Knowing he/she is the one has gotten harder with every date, every relationship every kiss and every heartbreak. In a world like this, where you meet and date so many people, how do you know he or she is the one.Even if you get into a relationship, at what point can you be sure that is the person you want to grow old with.What are the signs that will make you confident that your relationship if turned into marriage will last forever and when is the right time?
When I started dating at the age of 16, I honestly had no idea to the answers of the above questions.Neither did I have the experience nor the maturity to know what love meant.
10+ years down the line I can say I have some idea if not all
What you want at 17 will be very different to what you want at 27:
It is true that age is not factor to decide who you want to settle down with.Love doesn’t see numbers but to handle a love which is not just love but also a lot of responsibility you need maturity and that maturity can only come with time and experience.At 17, you might choose a fun person over a smart person because at that age you are not thinking of the future.But at 27 your priorities change and the way you look at life changes.You start understanding that you need more than fun to last a lifetime of happiness.
First love may not mean the last love :
You can never forget your first love because it is the most pure and simplest form of love you will ever experience.It comes without any past baggages or any expectations.Everything is new,fresh and exciting.In your first relationship you will be ready to go against the world and do things you never imagined yourself doing.First love is crazy.So yes, maybe you cannot forget your first love but who says you cannot get a better love.Love is a gamble where you do not know at which turn you might strike lucky.Love is a journey where you never know at which stop you might find the one.The more you pursue ,the better your chances are to find him or her.In fact I believe people who date at least 2-3 people have a better understanding of what they want from a life partner resulting in a better and healthier relationship.It may not be crazy as your first but it will definitely be more fulfilling.
Never rush.Take at least one to two years to know a person before settling down :
In the first year of a relationship everyone is at their best of behavior. Most people during this period try to be the person their partner wants them to be and not who they truly are.It is only after a year or so that they start coming out of their shell to be their true self.It is hard to be someone else for too long.So wait till that mould is broken.It is only then, you can judge if the person has those qualities you see in a life partner.
You both need to be on the same page :
Attraction does not mean love and relationship may not mean marriage.It is very important that both of you want the same thing from life.Marriages which happen due to pressure of one partner often ends up having issues.Until and unless both of you are ready for a commitment, do not jump into a lifetime bond.
Evaluate and ask yourself questions when in doubt :
A lot of couples I have spoken to have doubts after 2-3 years of relationship in identifying if he/she is the one .I tell them just one thing- Question yourself.Do you see this person as the parent of your kid? Do you share similar values? If you don’t, can you accept the differences? Do you miss the person when one of you is away? Do you feel this person is indispensable to your life and not because of habit but because they make you a better person..Can you confidently say I love you to them and know you can go against anyone to build a future with them.If you have doubts in any of these criteria , maybe it is time to take a raincheck.
Men and women think very differently when it comes to marriage :
For most women , the end of a relationship is marriage, for men that is not the case.It is not that they don’t want to get married.In fact men worry as much as women about finding the one, it is just that for men marriage is a mental thing.They need to (a) be mentally ready to lead a new life (b) feel financially stable (c) be crazy about the woman in question (d) be confident that the girl will have his back. To date a woman, they may not need all of these but to marry a girl they require it .For women love is enough.That is why you may see a guy who has dated over 20 girls suddenly one fine day decides to commit.It is not that his previous girlfriends were not good, it is just that these four criteria at that point were not met.
Family matters :
It is correctly said, you don’t marry a person, but you marry an entire family.It is important to see your partner as part of your family and see yourself as part of theirs.Of course, there maybe cases where families do not get along or cultures do not match.There will also be cases where you might not get parental support to marry the person you want.I have seen couples who go against their parents to marry someone and end up regretting later.Personally I have a very simple solution to this, if you are really confident of the person and you truly love them , it is fine to take a stand and go against people who do not agree with your choice.At the end it is your life, you have to live it not your parents.It might or might not work out but you made a choice and you learnt from it.However, if you have one aota of doubt on your relationship and find yourself looking for reasons to justify your choice maybe you should take a step back and see why your closed ones are objecting.
At the end we need to remember life is not just black and white. There is a lot hidden beneath the greys. There can never be anything which is universally right or wrong.Sometimes we just have to go with the flow and stop going by rules and calculating everything.Sometimes we need to end making excel sheets of do’s and don’ts and trust that life will help us work out the decisions we have made.Most importantly for a successful relationship you need love.You need to love a person unconditionally to want to spend your whole life with them.Marry only when you love them inside out for their good and bad.You have to want it within to make something out of it.