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Relationship expert reveals how to know if you've found 'the one'

We spend our lives searching for love.

Of course, much of this is a biological need to reproduce and further the cause of our species, though in modern times, love has become a monetized commodity.

Companies would have you believe that you do not love your partner enough unless you shower them with gifts all year round, buy a ludicrously over sized card on Valentine's Day and take them out for a dazzlingly expensive evening meal, crammed in with countless other couples, prices hiked up to astronomical heights in anticipation of the 'special day'.

There is nothing more unfortunate than spending years with someone who turns out not to be who you thought they were, or who, in hindsight, you didn't really love. Life is short; far too short to spend in a loveless relationship that you quietly wish you had no part of.

Happy couple hugging Credit: Pexels

It is perhaps unsurprising, though, that many of us choose to stay in relationships we would be better off out of. Whether due to convenience, a fear of hurting one's partner or some other ill-conceived reason for staying put, countless couples all over the world presumably stick together despite it being rather obvious to everyone else that they would be better off apart.

Part of the problem, I suppose, is that it is actually rather hard to know when you have found the one. One relationship expert, Pepper Schwartz, though, is here to help, and she knows exactly how to tell when you have found 'the one'.

She says that love at first sight is a common misconception, and that strong initial attraction can often end in "disaster".

Couple sitting by lake Credit: Pexels

She also feels that there is not merely one perfect match for everyone, pointing to the ever rising number of divorces as proof of that notion, she continues;

"Everybody has to keep looking until they have that exact experience, and many will be misled by it, especially if sexual attraction is involved. You can feel like something is real and your partner is The One, and then all the other details come out, and things change."

She says that people should avoid searching for a soul mate, as that is bound to end in misery, and that your relationship with your partner should be different to that of, say, a best friend. So how do you sustain a long term relationship? Schwartz says;

"I think the most important thing is let the past be the past. Say that you forgive the other person, and then actually do it. When you get mad, you can't rehash that argument again. People have to feel they can escape their mistakes and build new credibility in their long-term relationship. There's no doubt that you've both crossed some threshold that you shouldn't have over time, but you really have to let this relationship go through its stages."

Older couple share a joke Credit: Getty

Importantly, Schwartz suggests establishing a few "core qualities" that make you happy. If they're ticking those boxes, nothing else should matter.