Determining whether a woman you are seeing is “the one” or not is not the stuff of rom-coms. There is no exact cute moment, or thing that needs to be said or done and voila, a light shines down from heaven and you know what you have to do. But there are certain things a guy can watch for, cues if you will, indicating that you just might have found that much ballyhooed keeper. Such as…

1. You have shared interests.
Do you—and does she—need an escape plan, and time with friends? Sure. But you also must have shared interests—things the two of you enjoy doing together. Beyond that, these interests need to extend to things like family: do you both value those connections and support each other with them? You don’t want a squawker every time mom’s coming over. She’s gotta dig that you might have some mama’s boy in you.

2. You travel together smoothly.
This is so key. Because, as logic clearly dictates, if you can’t travel well together, you surely can’t live well together. But there’s more here. The ability to make mad dashes in airports from gate to gate side-by-side, to be calm when an unruly concierge isn’t treating you as well as you feel you should be treated, sharing a hotel bathroom and not freaking out about the close quarters. These things give a great indication about what home life might be like.

3. You do nothing well.
If you like to chill on occasion but she’s totally go, go, go, then it’s going to be bye, bye, bye, I’m afraid. Yet if you find yourselves both ecstatic over the Matrix marathon you’ve found on TBS one rainy Sunday afternoon, when your place is blown up and there’s only leftover Chinese food in the fridge, and the next thing you know six hours have gone by, she’s a keeper. But you probably already knew that, Neo.

4. You can be yourself.
If you’re catching yourself dialing it up a few notches when she is around, or down a few notches, it ain’t a good sign. Not talking energy levels here—talking actual tweaks to your personality. There is a monster difference between manners and actually feigning interest in something you find patently absurd. That’s unfair to both of you.

5. You feel the same way about kids.
There’s more than just she wants ‘em and I don’t (or vice versa) although that’s crucial territory. Don’t buy it when a gal says, “It’s OK, maybe you’ll change your mind.” That means she’s going to want you to. There is no compromise on this one. But beyond that, how does she behave around other people’s kids? Do they get on her nerves? Does she take them very seriously—maybe too seriously even—asking all sorts of probing questions? Does she let loose and act like a kid herself? Whatever she does… can you relate?

6. Sorry doesn’t seem to be the hardest word.
It’s easy when you’re in your twenties and on the dating scene to deem apologies unnecessary, trivial even, dismissing the mere notion with some cool quip like, “That’s three minutes of my life when we could be drinking or banging.” But the day’s gonna come when you screw up royally and she’s going to need to hear “I’m sorry” from you, fella. You should be able to do it without feeling like it’s this impossible chore. And she should, too.

7. You get surprising reminders.
Not to get all Hallmark Channel-y, but if you find all sorts of bizarre little things reminding you either of her, or of something you did together, that’s an epic sign. Sure, the tiny panties on the mannequin in the Victoria’s Secret window at the mall, but so much more than that, too: a couple laughing over coffee, someone falling on their face in the street, overhearing a certain word she favors. If almost everything is a reminder, you’ve found her. You might not have even been looking.

8. Silences are not so awkward.
If you feel every moment needs to not only be full of conversation but, moreso, compelling conversation, you’re going to have your work cut out for you. Chill out. Can you? Will she let you? You may be hustling to fill silences that she doesn’t even want filled. What’s more, if your cell phone is more interesting than her—or vice versa—I wouldn’t book the reception hall just yet, pal.

9. Your eye stops wandering.
If you’re Mister Bang Anything That Moves, and that just ends? Like, not due to this new woman in your life threatening you on a daily basis about any sort of transgression, or grabbing every other woman she sees you talk to, or even just look sideways at, by the hair, ready to rumble. No, your player switch is just off. You find yourself not only not that interested in this random piece of a**, but you literally sweat blowing what you’ve got? This is good.

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