How Do You Know When It’s “Right?” It’s Not What You Think…

Go on, admit it.

You’ve had one or two “you just know” moments.

If you don’t know what a “you just know” moment is, it’s something like this:

You’re dating a guy and everything is clicking. There’s chemistry, passion, talk of a future — and you say to your friends about your beloved boyfriend:

“You just know when it’s right.”

Six months later, you’re single.

I’m not teasing you about this. I had a “you just know” moment with girlfriends in both 2003 and 2004.

That’s right. I felt connected to both of them. I felt alive when I was around them. I felt that they fully “got” me. I genuinely thought both of them were my soul mates.

I was dead wrong.

If you ever thought that “you just knew,” but life showed you otherwise, you’re in great company. The question remains, however:

CAN you “just know” when it’s right?

SHOULD you “just know” when it’s right?

Ready for Lasting Love?
Ready for Lasting Love?

Do you HAVE to “just know” when it’s right?

These aren’t easy questions to answer.  I’ve written a lot about chemistry vs. compatibility. Both are important components of relationships, as you know. However, most of us mistake chemistry for happiness.

I was talking with one of my former interns yesterday.

However, most of us mistake chemistry for happiness.

She was in a tempestuous ten-month relationship with a man with whom she felt incredible chemistry. And with chemistry pulling her towards him, she never really looked up to notice that her boyfriend wasn’t always very nice to her. He was highly judgmental. He wasn’t a fair fighter. He constantly gave her a hard time. He didn’t support her and love her unconditionally. He never made her feel safe about a future.

Still, she couldn’t help herself. She mistook chemistry for happiness and couldn’t pull herself away for ten long months.

When I look back on my two intense chemistry experiences, I, too, felt that I was happy. After all, my girlfriends were attractive, smart, successful, fun, and came from functional families. They did tell me that they loved me.

Which is why I thought that “I just knew” that it was right.

But I was wrong.  It takes two to tango.  While I may have thought my girlfriends were perfect, they had major problems with me.

One was very jealous of my flirtatious ways.

The other didn’t like my big mouth, my career instability, and my anxiety.

They aren’t wrong. I am a flirt. I do speak before I think. I did struggle with money, and I’m never going to entirely stop being a neurotic Jewish guy.

The “right” man doesn’t leave you.  If he leaves, he is, by definition, the WRONG man.

So did my girlfriends LOVE me? Yes.

Did they ever fully ACCEPT me? No.

Which is why I got dumped both times.

Each time, I was devastated. I wanted to know what I did wrong, how I could change, how I could fix things.

Alas, there was nothing to fix. They simply didn’t want me as I was.  And if your partner doesn’t want you as you are, he’s not really your partner.

If you’ve ever had that feeling — that longing, that wondering, that agonizing — months and months spent beating yourself up for doing absolutely NOTHING wrong, I’m here to give you a break.

The “right” man doesn’t leave you. If he leaves, he is, by definition, the WRONG man.


Thankfully, I got through my pain and realized that in successful relationships, your partner is more than willing to put up with your bad stuff.

I’m delighted to report that my wife DOES want me as I am — flaws and all.

And that’s why she’s my wife — even though I didn’t “just know” that we were right until six months AFTER we were married.

You heard me correctly.

I DIDN’T “just know” that things were right with my wife until AFTER I was married, but I DID just know that I was “just right” with two ex-girlfriends who dumped me.

So much for “just knowing”, huh?

You want to know how to judge a potential life partner?

Find the man who treats you best, the man who makes your life easiest, the man that allows you to comfortably be yourself, flaws and all   – without fear that he’s going to leave you — THAT MAN is the best fit for you.

It is NOT necessarily the man you feel the most chemistry with.

To be clear, I didn’t say to give up chemistry.

I am saying not to be blinded by it, the way you have been in the past — putting up with crappy relationships just because you’re intoxicated by chemistry.

Believe me, I could have walked away from an amazing relationship to find more chemistry, to search for the “you just know” feeling, and to find a greater “challenge” (i.e. a woman who kept me on my toes by treating me worse.)

Instead, I chose to stay and appreciate my wife’s remarkable traits.

What I’ve found was a peace and happiness that transcends anything I’ve ever known.

You can have this, too, as long as you realize you don’t have to “just know.”