Any (heterosexual) woman who’s marrying the love of her life can tell the distinct differences between her future husband and all the people she dated before him.
There are many reasons she’s marrying him but not anyone else before him, and those reasons go far beyond just “the right timing.”
I realised this when I met my future husband.
I had no doubt in my mind when I said yes to his proposal because our present, day after day, was (and is) so blissful — I wouldn’t want it any other way or with anyone else.
This is profound to me because I’d never had a serious relationship before getting engaged and I used to think there was something wrong with me. I would be lying if I said the thought of settling had never crossed my mind then.
Luckily, I didn’t. As it turned out, I made the absolutely right choice to let go of all my past relationships. Those relationships were wrong, and I wasn’t supposed to be with any of those ex-partners, whether I met my future husband or not.
Also, I call them “boys” because, for the most part, while I was dating them, I was a girl myself. It took me a lot of time and effort to work on my emotional issues before I felt ready for a serious relationship and found my current partner.
Here are 6 differences between the man I’m marrying and the boys I dated (so you don’t make the mistake of doubting yourself and settling):
1. The man I’m marrying is my best friend while the boys I dated were my “opponents.”
In my current relationship, we talk about anything and everything.
My partner listens to me, comforts me, gives me advice, and helps me find practical solutions to my problems which we face together as a team. We know who we are, and we complement each other well.
In my past relationships, most of my problems were with the relationships themselves. I had to watch my steps as my anxiety surged. I also found it hard to share my true feelings and thoughts with the boys I dated because I worried that they would judge me or break up with me.
My effort to portray myself in a certain way often backfired and left me baffled because those boys always found a way to misunderstand me and turn me into someone I hated. To make it worse, I didn’t even know who I really was in those relationships.
In some cases, I even wanted to be like those boys or compete with them. I cared little about whether our relationship would work out long term; I just wanted my ego to be satisfied momentarily. All in all, it was a disaster.
Lesson learned: Be with a man with whom you can be your true self.
2. The man I’m marrying wants to understand what I think while the boys I dated always tried to tell me what to think.
As an INFJ, I wouldn’t expect people to get me instantly. But when it isn’t easy to get close, you can really see whether people are willing to put in the effort to peel off your layers.
My current partner has demonstrated his interest and commitment consistently from day one.
When I share something with him, he never assumes he already knows the subject; he always asks me thoughtful questions and makes me feel respected. I know he cares and is genuinely interested in understanding my “why”, which makes me comfortable telling him anything.
In my past relationships, those boys were often too self-absorbed to care about anything going on with me. They loved talking about themselves and making decisions for me. When I told them something personal about myself, they either made me feel ashamed or used it against me in an argument.
Lesson learned: If he isn’t genuinely curious about you or makes you feel respected, it’s on him — he isn’t worth your time.
3. The man I’m marrying sees my light even when anxiety hits me while the boys I dated shamed me for being who I was.
I remember, in the early stage of our relationship, when I felt anxious, my partner was incredibly kind and patient.
He never took it personally but saw it as an opportunity to understand me better. He stood by me, let me take my time, put himself in my shoes, and reassured me that everything was okay. I knew he saw me beyond my anxiety.
Meanwhile, the boys I dated treated me like I was an alien, which only intensified my anxiety. For example, they ignored my messages or even called me “strange.” But even when I wasn’t anxious, I felt like there was a “right” or “wrong” way to be around these boys: Basically, emotions aren’t cool.
I wish I had had the confidence I have now to tell them to shut the hell up and move on immediately!
Lesson learned: If you have anxiety, be with someone who’s emotionally secure or at least has the capacity and willingness to understand and love you for all that you are.
4. The man I’m marrying makes my reality better while the boys I dated gave me nightmares.
I had a nightmare the other day in which I was back to my old self, dating one of those boys. I woke up in anxiety because, in the dream, they abandoned me.
Then a sense of relief rushed over me because I was no longer there — my reality is actually better than dreams.
See, my relationship with my fiance enhances my life on many levels, and he constantly fills my days with care, love, and respect. He always looks for ways to make my life easier or better. And I’m truly grateful for how good of a communicator he is.
Meanwhile, my past relationships traumatised me in one way or another through careless words and cruel actions, leaving me with the worst possible feelings. Remember that walking on eggshells around your partner isn’t normal.
Lesson learned: Be with someone who makes you the best you, and stay away from anyone who makes you feel less of you.
5. The man I’m marrying is someone I’m ready to build a life with while the boys I dated were my emotional outlets.
When I met my future husband, I was sure that I wanted a serious relationship.
I was done with dating boys who were emotionally stunted and had superficial values. I wanted someone who was secure, mature, compatible with me, and ready for marriage.
Meanwhile, in the past, I was too occupied by my emotional issues to care about relationship compatibility. I chose people who could give me instant gratification and distract me from myself, which never ended well.
In hindsight, my past relationships didn’t work out because I never intended for them to work out. I was young and had time to waste, and so I did… until I was scared I would ruin my future forever.
Lesson learned: Know your dating goal and make sure you’re ready for it.
6. The man I’m marrying embodies all the things I love about myself while the boys I dated possessed all the things I hated about myself.
Have you heard the phrase “Likes attract likes”? It’s definitely true for me.
When I wasn’t happy with myself, I felt drawn to people who might seem the opposite of me but turned out to be similarly lost, lonely, and broken. But I only focused on how different they were from me. It drew me in because I wanted to escape myself.
Being with them was how I denied myself, and it hurt.
Meanwhile, now that I’m happy with myself, I choose a partner who is similar to me, and I love being fully myself around him. In this relationship, I’m real, and I’m becoming a better me each day.
Lesson learned: Self-love is the key to healthy and happy relationships.
My advice for you
If you value love and having a partner, my honest advice is to stop rolling the dice with your love life.
You can’t keep choosing the same type of people, ignoring the same red flags, or coming back to the same ex with the same issues, and expecting different results. This maths does not add up.
It’s time to approach your love life differently.
Be honest with yourself and make ruthless decisions that serve you in the long run. Keep marching forward. Don’t be afraid of being single — enjoy the hell out of it. Date with intention.
Trust me — when you meet your future spouse, you’ll know.