As soon as I saw the preview, I knew I wanted to see the movie.
“How Do You Know,” a new romantic comedy directed by James L. Brooks, centers around a 31-year-old Olympic softball player (played by Reese Witherspoon) who’s torn between two men: the professional pitcher-playboy (Owen Wilson) or the nice-guy businessman (Paul Rudd).
The movie is supposed to answer the question — reviews, like the one in the New York Times, say the movie failed to do that — “How do you know when you’re in love?” Or, maybe, “How do you know who’s — or what’s — best for you?”
It’s an interesting question, actually, especially when you’re at a point in your relationship when you need to make that big decision. Is this person right for you? Can I imagine my life without him? Is she the one?
When I worked as a reporter for The Honolulu Advertiser, one of my jobs was to write “Love Stories,” weekly articles about newlyweds. I always focused on how they met — and part of that was finding out when they knew they wanted to marry the other person. Everyone has a different story. One guy said he knew she was the one for him when she happily agreed to go to an important football game with him — and she hated the sport. Another woman said she knew her husband was worth marrying when she saw how he interacted with her children.
So I’m throwing it out there: how do you know? What is it about the other person that made you decide, “Hmm, I think this one’s a keeper”?
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My husband and I met on a “relationship” website, and I knew he was the one when the first time he visited me in Las Vegas (where I lived at the time), he braved 110 degree heat and despite almost passing out, he stayed the whole week. He and I just clicked. I know it sounds corny, but he really completed me. He was the yin to my yang. We just complimented each other in ways no one else had. He was everything I looked for. I sometimes think what would have happened if I passed him over. We have two beautiful sons, and he really is my best friend. I am not sure if you know immediately because for me, it was a build up of knowing someone and being with them.
@islandgirlinnc I love that — yin to my yang!
You never know for sure. The best observation I can offer comes from Friedrich Nitetzsche. I have to try so hard to spell his name correctly that I never get the quote exactly right, but essentially it is: “What matters is to be able to converse into old age, for all else is transitory.” If everything else is there, and we understand that much of it will fall away over time, and two people think that they will enjoy each other’s conversation thoroughly into old age, that is probably the best sign.
I would offer greater certainty, but my first of two trips down the aisle thinking that eternity was ours to share turned out to be a total disaster. A bit of maturity and that experience under my belt, I have done much better the second time. After 19 years together and 17 years of marriage, I am sure that we will still enjoy each other’s conversation and company 19 years from now.
Hmmm…I think this (unanswerable) question is a keeper. A person comfortable in their own personality can be a natural attractant to others. Unfortunately, a strong natural attraction is fodder for obsession-compulsion, stalking, whining, etc.(depending on life before the encounter). Einstein may have come close to the answer with his time (spent)-space (shared) continuum theory.
When I was younger I had a solid answer for this one but as time has passed by I no longer can answer this one with such great confidence. My completely lacking confidence answer is that it appears to be different for everyone. One thing is for sure, the bigger the hurry the more likely I will be to run away and hide. Seems the faster it develops the easier it is for them to RUNNOFT. And I think there is a strong liklihood there will not be a next time, gotten to happy with being single. I have a ton of female friends and frankly that is more than good enough for me.
I think it is chemistry first, psychology second, and compatability last and not sure this is the correct order.
@dbjack Are you an Aries?
@Cat Nope, not an Aires. I’ve read all the material about my astrological sign and frankly think I was switched at birth 🙂 I think the Chinese Zodiac is way more accurate in describing me. And I am the year of the Monkey. OK, why do you think I am an Aires?
I agree with below comments that there is no way to ever know. It’s all a gamble. It’s a risk. Just have to hope for the best. Although I’m pretty sure I’d be very very very happy if Reese Witherspoon wanted to marry me. That I definately know.
You never know for sure, just like everyone else has already said. Sometimes you have to ask yourself whether your older self would have kicked your younger self for not taking the plunge. If the answer is yes, that may be as close as you ever get to really knowing.
@Sushi I think what we want changes as we get older. I mean, looks don’t matter all that much anymore, at least to me. What’s important is kindness, authenticity, compassion and a steady job with benefits. 🙂
i have no idea. i have ever been in love. i’m not sure i know what it is, except fleeting. i think it’s better to make relationship commitments on less volatile criteria. i still have curiosity about love.
@turkfontaine You need your own blog!
@Cat yeah. i could call it ‘Advice For The Loveworn’ snicker.
The timing of this post is uncanny. Today, my wife and I celebrate 8 years of marriage.
In my humble opinion, love is less about a feeling (i.e. a sense that this person is “the one”) and more about a deliberate commitment to another person. Both parties must continually choose to support, understand, and appreciate each other. If a relationship is based purely on that blissful, “head over heels” adrenaline rush, what’s left when the feelings fade?
@MikeSumida Congratulations on your eight years! I think you’re right that relationships are a moving target. I mean, they are fluid and change and you have to be flexible enough to roll with it. Only way it will work.
@Cat Thanks! We’ve had out share of ups and downs, but we’ve come to find joy in the journey 🙂
What’s interestng to me is whatever criteria one might use to answer this question is likely to be valid for a limited time only. Take the guy who “knew” when his girl chose to attend a football game with him despite her hating the sport. A sacrifice of sorts, her decision to accompany him certainly had a positive impact on his perception of her. But it raises so many questions. Should a single football game really make the call? Would she attend others with him too? Even now? Why would a guy want a girl to accompany him to a game (no matter how “important”) knowing that she hates the sport?
I think these events (attending a football game, seeing how a guy relates to her children, etc.) tend to evoke strong emotional responses that lead many people to make these important life decisions. Whether these decisions are the right decisions is another question, though, and one that can only be answered later.
But that’s the rub, isn’t it? Although emotions are a necessary component in forming relationships, they may not be the best in determining whether those relationships are ideal for both involved or whether they will last. A better indicator is the ongoing level of commitment each has for the relationship when life isn’t all lovey-dovey and the ups and downs of reality kick in.
I don’t think you ever know. Just when you think you know a person, there’s something else you will discover about him or her down the road.
@M I think that’s my fear… that you really can’t EVER know for sure. You have to just take that proverbial leap… Scary!
I don’t know. I don’t think she knows either.
But, once you know, please let her know.
So she can tell me what I’m supposed to know.
Aside from the initial physical attraction the next few minutes will be the key. Good conversationlalist, common interest(s), a modern woman (or man) are a few points. Hopefully it’ll be more than I-Candy… I want… I need… I said…
Then as others have already alluded to, the proverbial “skelton in the closet” pops out of nowhere. Yikes!