How Do I Know My Ex Is Right For Me?

Question: First of all let me say, I’ve been through almost every post on your blog and every article on your website and I have to say, you really know what you’re talking about. Keep up the great work!

Now, I’m 32 and she’s 29 and both of us are in the stages of our lives where we’re ready to settle down and have a family. In the beginning I was sure she was “the one” but after two years together I’m wondering whether I’m settling or just have realistic expectations. We both have great careers, many friends and our sex life is great but I have this nagging feeling that I can’t seem to get rid of. I guess my question is, how do I know if I settled or made mature compromises?

Yangki’s Answer: Thank you for your kind words. This is a complicated one… 🙂

Many people have different answers to what is settling and what is making mature compromises. Having lived and worked with people of many different cultures, I think there is a socio-cultural influence on what one might consider settling or making mature compromises.

My personal opinion is that settling is when one feels that he or she is giving up “too much” of what he/she really wants, desires or needs. It’s usually a kind of “unsettling” feeling of being limited or confined either because one feels that someone is not “the right one” or the relationship isn’t what one wants.  This may cause a lot of conflict in the relationship because of feeling that one’s wants, desires or needs are not being met. In many instances, it can lead to an on-and-off-again relationship because one or both parties are trying to make “right” something that feels (or one knows) is wrong.

Making mature compromises on the other hand is when BOTH sides make concessions, modifications or adjustments for the sake of creating or maintaining a loving, fulfilling and successful relationship. Both of you show that you want to find what the other wants, desires or needs and are willing and prepared to give to the other as much of what he/she wants, desires or needs as possible. And both sides feel comfortable with the compromises they’ve made.

For some people the difference between settling and making mature compromises is very clear, but for others not so much. On one hand you have people who give up everything/too much of what they really want due to neediness, desperation, low self esteem/self worth etc., and on the other you have people who don’t want to give up anything because they believe (any kind of) compromise = losing.

It’s important for you to think about what you compromise about:

1) Is it fair or do you feel that someone is continually taking advantage of you?

2) Do you have equal power, equal say etc., in the relationship or do you have little direct say or power over what happens? Having more power or say in the relationship is just as bad because it leads to feeling like you’re the only one who wants to be in the relationship or are trying to make it work.

3) Is it a positive experience or does it seem like you have to fight your corner aggressively to get what you want, desire or need.

If there is no fairness, equal say or if the whole experience of being in the relationship is more negative than positive, chances are you’re settling.  What’s important to remember is that getting to a place of mature compromises takes time and effort, it just doesn’t happen on it’s own.

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11 replies on “How Do I Know My Ex Is Right For Me?”
  1. says: Waylon Filkins

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  2. says: Lujuanna

    You really give such wonderful advice. My ex of 4 plus years broke up with me and after weeks of begging him to come back he stopped all contact with me. Last month after he was gone for almost a year he contacted me and wants to work things out. I’m torn because I was becoming happy with my new life without him but I also still have feelings for him. I feel bad about wanting to be with him but also feel bad for wanting to work at making it work between us. Please help, I’m so confused.

    1. Feelings are important and you should not ignore them, but what is your rational mind telling you? Why did the two of you break-up? What has changed? Will the relationship be any different/better this time round?

      If you are happy with the answers to these questions, then by all means follow your feelings. But if your answers make you more confused, there is a reason for it.

      Take your time, don’t try to rush this one direction or the other. See if he adds to your new happy life or takes away from it, and make your decision based on what’s GOOD FOR YOU and not just what FEELS GOOD.

  3. says: Sage Man

    So did she love me one week and just stopped loving me the next? Did she even love me at all? She told me she did but how can she love me and do what she did?

    1. If she says she loved you, it’s highly possible she did and may still love you but not want to be in a relationship with you. It happens all the time. Sometimes two people who love each other can have compatibility issues or conflict in personalities, goals, beliefs etc. that make maintaining a relationship impossible. Other times people “outgrow” each other and other times the “timing” just isn’t right.

      You’re not doing yourself any good questioning whether she loved you or not. Accepting that although we do not consciously choose who our hearts and souls are drawn to, we make conscious choices as to who we get into a romantic or sexual relationship with, will help you let go and move on much faster.

  4. says: Sage Man

    Is possible for someone to feel like you’re the right one week and the next break up with you? My ex-girlfriend of 2 years told me one day out of nowhere that she didn’t want to be with me anymore. This is after she had told me the week before no one had ever loved her the way I loved her and that she wanted to have my children. I pressed her to tell me what I did wrong and she said she just was not ready for a serious relationship with anyone. It’s been only 6 months since we broke up and she’s in a serious relationship with someone else. She told me this herself when I tried to get her back. I know it’s serious because she always worried she might be getting too old to have children.

    1. Yes it’s possible. Maybe she saw/learned something about you that made her realize it would never work out in the long run or she had doubts all a long but was trying to convince herself that it’s what she wanted but finally decided it would only hurt both of you later.

  5. says: Modwana

    Yangki, I’m really loving these posts on “the right one” 🙂 They’ve inspired me not to be too picky and to give the guys I date a fair chance of becoming “the right one”. My question is, if it makes any sense, where do I begin? With my track record of writing guys off too early only to realize what I let slip through my fingers when I see with them happily married, I need to like start from the basics.

    1. Wow! That’s a tall order… I’ll have to do a new post… 🙂

      In brief, it begins with you relaxing some of your expectations, a genuine desire and genuine effort to explore each other’s unique personalities, wants, desires or needs – as a human being and not as a potential “mate.”

  6. says: PinkButterfly

    He told me he is conflicted because he’s not sure I’m the right one for him and does not want to settle. We constantly fight and I end up apologizing for something I didn’t need to apologize for. We’ve talked about this so many times and I even tried different things to spice things up but he says he’d rather leave now or he’ll hurt me more in the future. Is he losing interest in me? Is there something I can do besides just breaking up with him? May be I’m just trying to find a better reason to leave.

    1. I don’t think you’re trying to find a better reason to leave, I think you see things clearly but trying to convince yourself to stay. It seems you’ve pretty much tried everything — talking and trying to spice things up a little — but he’s still saying things like “not the right one”, “leave now” and “hurt more in the future”… sounds like someone who has already made up his mind and may have already emotionally checked out of the relationship. You can’t force someone who does not want to work on a relationship to do so. The only person you can “make do” what you want to do is you.

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