First dates can be daunting – you never know what to expect, and you can’t help but hope that after searching for love, this time, you’ve found the one. But knowing if someone is worth a second date is not always easy to work out. In fact, looking for love has become even more challenging, with a Pew Research Center study revealing that almost half of Americans say dating has become more difficult in the last decade.

So what’s a good way to approach the first date? Dr. Marisa T. Cohen, a relationship scientist at Hily, an online dating app, told The List that going into a first date is all about being in the moment. “It is important to be present and learn about the person you are with. This allows you to learn about your date on a deeper level and assess compatibility,” said Cohen. “Remember that early dating experiences can create a lot of anxiety, so give the person the benefit of the doubt (unless they do something that you find problematic) and consider going on a second date to continue to learn more about them.” 

But how do you know if something is a red flag or if your date is just nervous? We’ve put together an expert-based guide to navigating the first date and identifying any red flags that will save you from heartache later on.

They start to get pushy (or touchy) with your boundaries
Antonioguillem/Getty Images
First dates are uncomfortable enough, but if the person you are with is trying to invade your space or being too pushy, run, don’t walk. “It’s a red flag if your date doesn’t respect your limits for physical intimacy. If they’re trying to escalate to something you don’t want to do, that’s a major reason not to go on a second date,” says Jack Hazan, a psychotherapist and the founder of Modern Therapy Group.

You should feel safe and in control on a date. In addition, Jacqueline Fae, a relationship expert who is the CEO and founder of IDL Match Club, says pushing your boundaries is a sign that the person you are with is a poor listener. You, too, can avoid making misreading them by observing them closely. “When you’re dating, it’s really important to listen to what your potential partner is saying to you and their body language. It’s an art form to understand someone’s body language,” Fae told us.

Fae adds that if there is a genuine connection between you and your date and they are enjoying themselves, their body will open up to you: “They won’t cross their legs and arms, and they likely will be leaning into you. It’s important to pay close attention to it before jumping to any conclusions, especially making any moves such as a kiss. If your date just goes straight for it, they aren’t listening to you.”

They proceed to talk about themselves the entire time
New Africa/Shutterstock
Being stuck on a first date while your date talks about themselves the whole time is awful. If you find yourself just sitting there and staring at the exit while your date rambles on about their life, experts say that person is not worth dating.

Instead, according to Cohen, your date should want to get to know you. “A caring partner will take an active interest in what you need from the relationship to be fulfilled and to feel a sense of security. They will also be interested in where you see yourself (in terms of your personal goals) so that you can grow together rather than grow apart,” Cohen told The List.

Opening the door for someone too self-absorbed can lead to problems down the track, and you will ultimately feel dissatisfied and unseen. Fae says if your date talks about themself all the time, they are displaying narcissistic behavior. “This is a major red flag because you are setting yourself up for a relationship with a narcissist.”

Your date is aggressive toward service or staff members
You can tell a lot about someone from the way they treat others. The first date is a great time to observe how the person you are with treats those around them. If they have good manners and are respectful of those working in the hospitality industry, that’s a good sign. However, if your date is rude to others, that’s something to consider before arranging a second date. 

“A major red flag is when someone is aggressive to service or staff members. The sudden outbursts or impatience gives you a glimpse of the future and that this person could easily fly off the handle, even at the smallest inconvenience,” cautions Fae.

It can be very uncomfortable to sit there and watch your date order the wait staff around rudely. This is a very telling sign that your date may not be a kind partner in the future, particularly if their behavior is uncalled for. “Seeing someone treat others for less than what they are is a disgusting feeling. Witnessing your date act this way is a deeper reflection of who they may be as a person,” says Hazan.

They talk about their ex a lot
Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock
When you are on a date, you want the focus to be on you and your date, not a third party. However, when the person you are with is constantly talking about their past or an ex, this is not only boring, but also a sign they may not be over that person — and the last thing you want to be is a rebound. 

“Bringing up past partners is never a good feeling, especially when you just started seeing someone new. However they bring up their partner on the first date, whether it’s good or bad, is a sign they’re not ready for a relationship,” says Hazan.

According to Fae, if your date is talking a lot about their ex for almost the entirety of the date, that’s a red flag, and you should reassess your compatibility with the person. “I would think they are not ready to experience other people because they still may be dealing with the trauma of the previous relationship or grieving that it actually is over.” In addition, if you find that you try to change the subject and your date still talks about their ex, this is a clear sign that the person you are with is not ready to move forward with you.

They don’t respect your opinion
New Africa/Shutterstock
If you are engaging in an interesting conversation on a first date, that’s great! However, if you express that you might disagree with your date’s opinion and they are not open to your perspective, that’s a red flag. 

Fae says her number one tip for approaching a first date and life, in general, is to respect other people’s worldviews. “Respect where they are coming from and what their opinions may be. Instead of ruling them out immediately on the first date, try and listen to what they have to say and understand the background they may be coming from.” 

Just as you should have an open mindset, your date should try to understand your opinion and be curious to know where you are coming from rather than dismiss your ideas. Cohen says you should feel comfortable expressing your opinion. “If the person shuts you down from expressing yourself, essentially meaning that they aren’t allowing for open conversation, this indicates that communicating with this person will be a challenge.”

They are on their phone during the date
Prostock Studio/Shutterstock
Having a conversation with someone who is constantly checking their phone is frustrating, but when you are on a first date and the person seems perpetually distracted, that’s a sign the person is not valuing you or your time. After all, the first date is the best time to get to know someone in a romantic way — and if either party is constantly using their phone, the mood is ruined and no one is really in the moment.

“If your date is on their phone the entire time you are together, such as texting or taking pictures of themselves or food, that is a red flag,” says Fae. “Why would you want to be in a relationship with someone that is more focused on their phone than spending quality time with you?”

If you truly want to be with someone who will give you their undivided attention, then consider opting out of a second date if the person seems too distracted on the first date. Hazan says your date should not be on their phone unless it is urgent. “A date being on their phone the majority of the date is just rude. They’re not respecting your time, energy, and feelings.”

Talking down to you or others
Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock
If you are on a first date and the person is making you feel like you are not worth listening to, ordering you around, or making you feel like you are not smart enough during a conversation, you are with the wrong person. If your date has a patronizing tone when talking to others, this displays that the person lacks empathy. 

According to Hazan, this type of behavior is a red flag. “Talking down to anyone isn’t a good look. This could look like jokes or backhanded comments or compliments as well,” Hazan told The List. “If your date says something that offends you, even if it’s small, you have the right to stand up for yourself. Being disrespectful is never a good sign.”

Fae says that this red flag is one you should not ignore. “In all honesty, if someone talks down to you or is rude to someone else early on in the dating process, you are in for a lot of trouble,” warns Fae. “Within the first few months of dating, everyone is putting their best foot forward, especially on a first date. Once the veil drops and the honeymoon phase is over you will soon be the target of this person’s disrespect. If they are talking down to you or others early on, it’s a glimpse into what your future may look like.”

They are bad at listening and fail to validate you
Prostock Studio/Shutterstock
Their eyes are looking away, their body has shifted, and it seems they’re just not listening to you — these are the tell-tale signs you are on a first date with someone who is not worth meeting up with again. 

“If the person shuts you down from expressing yourself, essentially meaning that they aren’t allowing for open conversation. This indicates that communicating with this person will be challenging,” says Cohen. Meanwhile, if a person is a good listener, they will respond to what you are saying and make you feel heard. “If a partner is able to pause and take in everything you say, as well as validate you, it shows that they care to learn and understand your position.”

Meanwhile, Fae advises that listening skills should be at the top of your list if you are looking for a future partner. “If someone is bad at listening and validating you, it’s going to be very difficult to make that relationship work,” says Fae. “Listening and communicating is how you not only grow together, but evolve as individuals. A relationship that doesn’t include communication will be extremely difficult to sustain.”

They bring up sex and misread your body language
Talking about sex is essential, but there is always a time and place — and the first date is not the best time to broach the topic. If your date only wants to sleep with you, touches you without your consent, or keeps bringing up uncomfortable intimate issues, you are not on a first date with a keeper. 

“If someone is bringing up sex repeatedly, that typically is a sign that they are not looking for a real relationship,” warns Fae. “Dating isn’t all about sex, especially when you are looking for commitment. It requires vulnerability and communication, so they probably only want a one-night stand.” 

As Hazan puts it: “Everyone has different ways of reading cues. However, everyone has different boundaries. In the beginning dating stage, exploring these boundaries in a healthy way is normal. But if you’re being gaslighted or pressured to have sex, that’s a major flag. There is no respect for you or your boundaries.” So, if you want more than a fling, sex should not be part of the conversation on the first date. With so many topics to explore first, some things can wait — and if your date doesn’t think so, their intentions might not match yours.

You both want something different in the future
Although first dates shouldn’t be too serious, establishing what the person you are with wants from the future will save you a lot of heartache later in a relationship. Cohen told The List that it is a potential red flag if you and your date have different expectations — for example, if your date “has mismatched relationship goals, such as they indicate that they are looking for something casual when you are looking for something serious (or vice versa).”

According to Fae, having a similar vision for the future is essential. “It’s never going to work if you both don’t have the same end game. Both people need to want the same things out of life and the relationship,” says Fae. “Say if one person doesn’t want kids, and the other really wants to start a family, it’s just not going to work. Before you build an emotional connection, it’s important to communicate your desires and end goals in the very beginning. This also goes for timing as well.” 

So, if you are tired of first dates, it might be worth sharing your intentions with your date and asking what their relationship expectations are. That way, you’ll know what you’re in for before things go any further.

They are already too into you
Antonioguillem/Getty Images
We all want to feel loved and appreciated, but if your date is coming on too strong, this could be a red flag. If you feel like your date is already too into you or they are “love bombing,” be cautious. “The idea of love bombing is to make you feel really appreciated really quickly,” says Hazan. “This is to reel you into their facade that their love or affection is genuine, when it’s really for an ulterior motive. It’s an attempt to ensure manipulation or abuse in the future. If it looks or sounds too good, it probably is.”

Fae agrees, and says when someone is extremely into the other person and those intense feelings are not yet reciprocated, it can be a major deterrent. “Love bombing is typically for the wrong reasons. The intensity is not based on a real relationship, because both parties haven’t had the time to actually get to know one another. It’s critical that you take your time with the person you are dating and not move too fast.” 

According to Fae, love bombing can be a narcissistic trait used by a person to manipulate someone else to emotionally connect with them for the wrong reasons. “Typically it comes from a place of insecurity because they are scared of losing someone, even if they showed them the smallest amount of affection.”

They admit to ghosting people
Primorac91/Getty Images
Being ghosted is terrible. Imagine feeling a connection with someone and then discovering they are purposely trying to avoid you. If your date is boasting about having ghosted someone, experts say that is a clear red flag. 

“If somebody tells you on a first date they’ve ghosted a previous partner or date, they are instantly telling you they are not a good communicator,” says Fae, who adds that there’s no reason to ghost anybody in the modern digital age. “In the end, we appreciate honesty more than anything. So, if someone tells you they are a ghost on the first date, remember you are about to enter a relationship with someone who could ghost you at any moment.”

Hazan agrees, and says if your date is proud of ghosting someone that is a sign of disrespect. “The idea of possibly being ghosted can instantly put you on edge. When someone mentions ghosting, it’s a clear sign that they’re unreliable, not interested in talking with you, or don’t care to show an interest in you.” According to Hazan, it’s important to choose someone who communicates effectively and doesn’t throw in the towel if the going gets tough. After all, you want to share a future with someone who is brave enough to share their true feelings with you.

They are too vague about meeting you for a second date
P Stock/Shutterstock
After a romantic first date, you might feel excited about the next steps and can’t wait to meet up with the person again — but if they don’t commit to a second date, this may be a red flag. 

Hazan says that ideally, your date should be eager to meet for a second date. “If your date is purposefully being vague about meeting again, beware,” says Hazan. “Unless they genuinely don’t know what their schedule looks like, this shouldn’t be ignored. It’s not something you want to rationalize or justify away.”

However, this also goes both ways. According to Fae, you should also be direct with your date about whether or not you want to see them again. “If you want to go on a second date, great, but if you don’t, that’s okay, too! It’s better to cut it off early than down the line when emotions have been built. Never lead them on, both for your time and theirs.”

Signs You Should Go On A Second Date
There’s nothing like the stress of a first date. You have to get all done up, make sure you don’t have any wardrobe mishaps, and then do your best to have a good time with a complete stranger. Second dates, on the other hand, can be way more fun. Especially when you only go on them with the right people.

Your time is too valuable to keep dating the wrong people. But how do you know if your first date is worthy of a second date? I went to the experts to find out.

You enjoy yourself
One of the first signs that you should go on a second date is that you really enjoy the first one. Don’t focus on whether your date is good “on paper” — instead, pay attention to how you feel when you’re with them. If you enjoy yourself, it’s a good sign that you’ll enjoy the second date, as well.

One way to tell if you’re having a good time is if you find yourself smiling a lot. Dating and relationship expert Megan Weks told me, “One sign that you should definitely go out with the person again is that you find yourself smiling a lot. I have a client who didn’t know if she liked the man she was dating but she noticed that he had her smiling from ear to ear. She recalled that her ‘face hurt from smiling,’ however she couldn’t tell if she liked him or not! Her body was subconsciously was aware of something before it hit her brain. They are married now!”

Another indication that you’re enjoying yourself is if you get to the end of the date and wonder where the time went. Rhonda Milrad, LCSW, founder of the Relationup online community, told me that when you’re with the right person, “Time seems to fly. You didn’t even notice that time had passed as the short coffee date turned into hours of enjoyment. This comfort with one another is likely a sign that you two are very compatible.”

Your conversation flows well
In long term relationships, communication can mean the difference between staying together or breaking up. If you’re paying attention, you can see the signs of a good communicator on your first date. David Bennett, a speaker, certified counselor, and relationship expert told me, “Check and see how he communicates. Is he assertive? Is he open? Is he shy? Does he put others down? Look for clues about how he communicates, because it will indicate how he will do so later. If he is open, assertive, listens well, and is relaxed, get a second date!”

Milrad shared another good indicator that your date is adept at communication. “He is able to take cues from your body language or emotional responses,” she said. “He can read that you are uncomfortable or hesitant and behaves in a respectful, considerate manner. He gives you space to acknowledge this or set a boundary. This sensitivity shows that he will likely be an attuned partner who is sensitive to what is going on with you.”

Justin Lavelle, Chief Communications Officer of the PeopleLooker online background check platform agreed. He said you should consider a second date if “your conversation was easy and familiar, like you have known each other forever. You connected on multiple levels, attraction, interests, values, and perspectives. You forgot about all of the other people in the room, it was just you and your date!”

You feel chemistry
Another clear sign you should go on a second date is if you have chemistry. Bennett put it this way, “Does he get you excited? Were you laughing and flirting? Chemistry is a great sign you really like him. It also means your emotional brain — the most powerful part of your brain — is on board.”

I’ve had friends who tried to make it work with partners that they weren’t attracted to. It’s never worked out because it’s so important to feel a sexual attraction to your partner. Milrad told me it’s a good sign if you feel sexual chemistry. 

“Feeling sexually attracted to your partner is an important element of a budding relationship and you know right away whether the sexual chemistry is there or not,” she said. “Although your love can grow deeper over time, if the chemistry is not there, it is unlikely to grow. This innate attraction demonstrates that you have the foundation to have good sexual passion.”

You feel comfortable when you’re with them
Even though it’s important to be attracted to your date, you also want to feel comfortable and able to be yourself around them. Weks told me in our interview, “A sign that you should go out on another date is that you feel comfy, cozy. If you feel like you’ve known your date forever, it’s a sign you should agree to turn that pencil into pen on your calendar.”

In case you’re worried that feeling comfortable means the chemistry isn’t there, Weks wanted you to know that feeling comfortable on a date is not a sign that you are settling. “Maybe your body is not feeling tingles or butterflies but be aware that sometimes too much initial chemistry can be a trap. Feeling comfortable with your date is a sign that you two have commonalities that you should stick around to find out more about!”

Dr. Wyatt Fisher, licensed psychologist and host of a marriage podcast, told me, “Safety is a feeling most of us desire in intimate relationships, which is feeling like we can become completely vulnerable with this person emotionally and share our innermost areas of shame or insecurities. This is the path to true emotional intimacy and it often begins with feeling really comfortable with a date, like we have chemistry, like we have a lot in common, and them having attributes we admire.” Chemistry and comfort can exist together, and they are a potent mix.

They’re different from the other guys or girls you’ve dated
Feeling comfortable with your date is usually a positive thing, but sometimes, it’s because they’re similar to people you’ve dated in the past. Relationship expert Julienne Derichs told me, “I was working with a woman who seemed to pick the same type of guys over and over again. Part of how she chose to go out on a second date was by how comfortable she felt on the first date. She ended up with addicted, critical men, who broke it off with her abruptly.”

Derichs and her client worked to “reset her ‘picker'” for dating. Derichs told me, “We began to unpack what ‘comfortable’ meant to her and what we came to was that ‘comfortable’ felt familiar and familiar wasn’t healthy. So she had to change the way she was acting in those first few dates.”  If you find yourself unsuccessfully dating the same type of people over and over again, it’s probably time to make a shift.

Stef Safran, “Chicago’s Introductionista” and owner of Stef and the City, agreed. She told me, “One of my recent engagements came from a client who called me after the first two dates and said, ‘Well he’s not what I dated in the past.’ I told her that the guys from the past didn’t work and by dating this guy it didn’t mean she had to marry him, however after giving him a chance, she is!”

They are the same person you met online
Since you most likely met your date online, one of the best ways to tell if they’re going to be honest with you is if their online profile is an accurate reflection of who they are. Relationship coach and author Lisa Hayes told me, “Let’s face it, a dating profile is a sales tool. People are going to put their best face forward. That’s the way it’s supposed to work. However, if that best face isn’t an honest representation of who they are in the real world, that’s a sign of dishonesty or insecurity.”

Don’t get so excited about who you want your date to be that you fail to see the signs of who they really are. Hayes continued, “It can be easy to get caught up in the moment, or your own nerves, and miss clear signs that someone isn’t showing up as advertised.”

Safran agreed. She told me, “Trust is important. A first impression is good if what you thought you were going to get is what shows up.”

They appreciate you
Let’s face it — it feels good to be noticed and appreciated, especially by a potential partner. If your date takes time to notice what they like about you, it’s a great sign that they could be good to go out with again.

Derichs mentioned the importance of compliments, and especially unexpected ones. “He gives you a sincere but unexpected compliment, like, ‘Your taste in music is great… You smell lovely…You are so easy to talk to and I like your take on things.’ Expected compliments feel good” she said. “Unexpected compliments make a huge, and lasting, impact and are a strong signal that you should go in a second date.”

They focus on you
With so many distractions around, it’s all too easy to get stuck with a date who doesn’t give you the attention you deserve. That’s why if they do focus on you, it’s a very good sign. Derichs shared some important indicators that your date is paying attention to you, like, “He shows you that you are interesting by acting interested. He makes eye contact and smiles, is curious about what you are talking about, laughs at your jokes even if you’re not that funny.”

Unfortunately, you will often be stuck with a date who only talks about themselves. But if you find a date who seems genuinely interested in you, they are second date material. Milrad shared that it’s a good sign if “Your date not only tells you about himself, but wants to get to know you. He takes the time to ask detailed follow up questions that show that he is attentive and interested in knowing more about what you are sharing. This attunement shows that he will likely be a collaborative partner who is interested in your thoughts and feelings and hearing what you have to say.”

They are respectful to you
Your date can show they respect you in so many ways — by being on time to your date, making sure you get home safely, and treating you with respect when you’re on the date.

New York based therapist Kimberly Hershenson told me, “Saying you’ll be at a place at a certain time and constantly running late is annoying and a huge sign your guy is a dud. If your date arrived on time it shows that meeting you was a priority to him.” When your date respects your time on your first date, that’s a great sign that they’ll be considerate and think about your needs later on.

Hershenson told me if “he texted or called to make sure you got home okay — this shows he cares about your well-being which is a good indicator he will be there for you in times of need.” She shared a story to illustrate her point. “One client was heartbroken after a breakup and afraid to put herself out there again,” she told me. “When she finally started dating again she had a lot of fear. Her date sent a simple text asking if she got home okay and her mind was completely at ease because she felt cared for, unlike with her ex. She is now in a committed relationship with this man.”

They treat other people well
Of course it’s important that your date treats you with respect, but you can learn a lot from how they treat other people, as well. Hayes told me, “Often on a first date, people are very focused on impressing you. However, their true nature is quite likely to shine when they interact with other people along the way. If someone isn’t kind to the person who delivers your drinks, that’s a pretty good indicator you’re not going to be impressed with how they treat you eventually.”

Bennett agreed. He said, “If you see him interact with others (like a waiter, etc.), does he treat them right? Is he generous, cool, and a good communicator? If so, that’s a sign of how he likely interacts with others. If he’s rude or super shy, that’s a good sign he is that way with others. How he treats others is a good sign of how he’ll treat you and your friends on a long-term basis.”

Hershenson told me that a client of hers stopped dating someone because he didn’t treat the waitstaff with respect. “One client in particular stopped dating a man after he yelled at a waitress for getting his order wrong. She saw it is a sign he had a temper and would one day blow up at her.”

They show that they’re interested in seeing you again
You may be interested in seeing your date again, but it’s very important to know if they feel the same way. Derichs said you’ll know they’re a good second date candidate if “he is straightforward and says, ‘It has been really nice meeting you. Would you like to go out again?’ and he has a specific suggestion in mind: go to the movies, hear some music, try a new brewery, or go for a walk and get coffee.” 

She said it’s also good to know if he isn’t interested. “If he doesn’t want a second date that is good to know upfront. You’ll know not to spend your time wanting someone who is not interested.”

Safran also pointed out that it’s important for them to follow up to show you that they are responsible. She said it’s a good thing if “he asked if you would go out again and then followed up within less than three days to make actual plans.”

You feel good about yourself afterward
Instead of just focusing on how you feel about the person you just went out with, ask yourself how you feel about yourself after a date. If they made you feel good, that’s a great sign. 

Hayes told me, “Some people are very good at making you feel insecure. If you walk away from a first date feeling edgy and wondering if you’re good enough, chances are high the second date will be the same. However, if you walk away from the first date feeling grounded and good about yourself, that is a good indication you might be a good match.”

Lavelle agreed. He added, “If someone brings out the best in you, that is a sure sign you should consider spending more time with him or her.” Dating should make you feel good about who you are. Only go on second dates with people who give you that “I’m a rockstar” feeling.

Trust yourself
The bottom line is to trust yourself. If you pay attention to how you feel about yourself and your date, and you’re honest with yourself about your wants and needs, you will make good dating decisions. Only you know what’s right for you, so make your decisions based on that. You will enjoy dating a lot more, and your second dates will all be better than your first ones!

When You Meet Your Soulmate, This Is What Happens
They say there’s a soulmate out there for everyone. After all, there’s nothing in the world quite like falling in love, especially when it’s with the right person. Suddenly colors seem a little bit brighter, the air smells a little bit sweeter, and everything feels pregnant with optimism and exciting new possibilities. And, of course, the person you’re in love with is the most beautiful person on earth, and they’re totally into you. It’s nothing short of magical.

But just the act of falling in love with a person doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve met your soulmate. That’s why couples break up all the time, often leaving one of the partners heartbroken, wondering what happened and why it all went wrong. Unfortunately, that’s just the way things go sometimes.

However, if you’re lucky and the fates are on your side, you just might know the joy of falling in love with your soulmate. How do you know, then, if you’ve found the person who’s truly meant for you? Read on to find out how you will know for sure that you’ve met the one.

You just might freak out when you meet your soulmate
There’s no doubt that meeting your soulmate is one of the greatest things that can ever happen to you. After all, not everyone gets the chance to find theirs, so, when you finally do, it’s an incredible experience.

That said, finding your forever person can also be super intimidating, according to psychologist Dr. Mark Borg Jr. “What I find is the most common occurrence that happens — no matter how hard you’ve looked — when you finally meet your [soulmate] is: you freak out,” he told The List. “Meaning that because it is so overwhelming psychologically and emotionally to get what we always believed we wanted, it tends to usher in an immense amount of anxiety and insecurity.”

So if you find yourself doubting you’ve met the one because of all the nerves, don’t panic. “It’s just so scary to have our hearts so completely on the line that our mind sometimes (often) overprotects us through the ambivalent technique,” Borg explained. “It is mustered because the person (our soulmate) is threatening to matter too much — not because they don’t matter enough!” So fear not! That nervous feeling is totally normal, and it will pass.

Your dopamine levels will jump after you meet your soulmate
Naturally, when you meet your soulmate and fall in love, you feel happy and giddy pretty much all of the time. When you’re with your sweetie, you feel totally euphoric, and your face probably hurts from smiling all of the time. And when the two of you are apart, you constantly daydream about them, eagerly anticipating the next time you’ll get to see them.

Obviously there’s something that’s happening in your body that’s responsible for the nonstop bliss, which, according to Adina Mahalli, MSW, is caused by one special chemical. “The part of your brain that’s associated with addiction lights up when you think about your soulmate. This is because falling in love releases dopamine which is the hormone responsible for reward and pleasure,” she informed The List. “If you find yourself constantly thinking about this person, it might due to the fact that your brain is literally addicted to them.” Love is one heck of a drug!

You will feel more alive after meeting your soulmate
In addition to having all of that yummy dopamine lighting up your brain, your pain responses will be dulled, according to expert Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin, MS, LCPC. In turn, you’ll only see the good things about your partner for a while, while any of the less-than-shiny stuff will take longer to become apparent.

Additionally, when you find your soulmate, it can have a dramatic impact on your sense of well-being. “You also feel a sense of oneness, like you have found your other half,” he explained. “You may experience a sense of timelessness like you’ve known each other forever.” That’s despite the fact that everything also feels very new at first, and may for some time to come.

That’s not all, either, as your soulmate has the potential to help you improve yourself in entirely new ways. “You may also experience a sense of confidence and ability to actualize parts of yourself that were previously laid dormant,” he continued. “In short, you feel fully alive.” And that is a beautiful thing.

Your libido will drastically increase after you meet your soulmate
When you finally meet your soulmate and fall in love, there are several stages that you go through, according to psychologist Dr. Erica G. Rojas. And given that the first is lust, it should come as no surprise that meeting your soulmate is definitely going to have an impact on your libido. That’s not to say that you have to be with your soulmate when engaging in intimate activities, but certainly falling in love with the person you’re destined for will increase your sexual desire, according to science. Of course, if you’re asexual, your mileage may vary.

So what exactly goes on in your body that makes you super lusty all the time, constantly thinking of your new flame? “The stage of lust is driven by an evolutionary basis to reproduce,” she shared with The List. “The hypothalamus of the brain (think of the hypothalamus as the ‘control system’ of the brain that we could not live without) stimulates the production of sex hormones testosterone and estrogen — therefore increasing libido.” And boom! Just like that, you’re going to experience an increase over and above your normal baseline libido levels. Enjoy it!

Sleeping and eating are suddenly less important when you meet you soulmate
Just as finding your soulmate increases your libido, so too does it activate the reward center in your brain, according to psychologist Dr. Erica G. Rojas. That’s when you enter the second phase of falling in love, which is the attraction stage. “The stage of attraction invokes the brain pathways that allow to feel rewarded — resulting in that all-consuming, head-in-the-clouds feeling that comes along with the early attraction stages,” she revealed. Once again, that’s due to increased dopamine, in addition to increased norepinephrine levels and decreased serotonin levels. There sure is a lot going on!

As a result of those hormonal changes, you might notice a change in some of your daily physical habits, sometimes in drastic ways. “Our moods are lifted to euphoric levels, our appetites decrease, and we experience difficulties sleeping,” she continued. “In other words, we feel so ‘in love’ that we can’t sleep or eat!” That would explain why you’re forgetting to eat breakfast and why you feel fantastic even though you’re not sleeping as much as usual. 

You’ll definitely want to cuddle with your soulmate
After you’ve gone through the initial stages of lust and attraction, New York City-based psychologist Dr. Erica G. Rojas says that you next move into the attachment phase, which is super important for relationship-building. “It encompasses the initial stages of lust and attraction and all the fun hormonal imbalances that come with [them],” she explained. Thus the wild ride keeps going, and your body keeps changing in all sorts of new ways.

During the attachment stage, your body starts ramping up production of oxytocin, which is also known as the “cuddle hormone,” with good reason. “Think of it as a hormone rewarding you when you snuggle up or bond socially,” she continued. “Oxytocin is necessary to forming attachments and facilitating human bonding. And attachment is the cornerstone of infant-parent bonding and necessary in establishing (and maintaining) social and non-romantic friendships.” So that’s why you always want to cuddle your soulmate and why it feels so darn good. Who knew hormones were so powerful?

When you meet your soulmate, this hormone plays a vital role
Oxytocin isn’t the only hormone at play during the attachment phase, as vasopressin levels also increase during this time, according to psychologist Dr. Erica G. Rojas. And of course, vasopressin has impacts and effects that are different from other hormones and chemicals in your body.

So, what exactly does vasopressin do that’s unlike everything else? “Vasopressin is a vital hormone that promotes long-lasting relationships,” she told The List. “It has been shown to regulate interpersonal functioning, create larger social networks, facilitate greater spousal support, inform better attachment security, and support less negative communication in partners.” That’s one hard-working chemical!

Vasopressin functions in a particular way when you meet your soulmate, too. “As a result, when we have found our soulmate we most likely are in the attachment stage, which brings an overall feeling of calmness, security, comfort, and desire to protect one another,” Dr. Rojas added. No wonder soulmates feel so good around each other, even as time goes by.

Your soulmate’s actions speak for themselves
One thing that should be abundantly clear when you finally meet your soulmate is that their actions speak just as loud, if not louder, than their words. Additionally, those actions should be in alignment with eight things you have a right to in a relationship, according to an article in Psychology Today. 

Specifically, you are entitled to affection, compassion, respect, consideration, time, interest, intimacy, and generosity. And while those things may look different for different couples, you should never feel like you’re being denied these things in a manner that’s unfair, especially from your soulmate. For example, your partner should naturally demonstrate that they like you, whether it’s physically or verbally, whatever your preferences are. Additionally, your soulmate should innately respect you and your interests, acknowledging them as valid and never violating your boundaries. Plus you and your soulmate shouldn’t have issues expressing yourselves intimately to one another. Finally, your soulmate will always try to make time for you, even if they’re super busy.

You know it’s love when you meet your soulmate, and not just attachment
Finding your soulmate, as exhilarating and euphoric as it can feel, is — like anything else complex — only as healthy as you are. To that end, it’s important to understand that there’s a difference between falling in love and developing emotional dependency. And that in and of itself can be difficult to parse out, especially if you have traumatic experiences in your past.

In order to be ready to meet your soulmate, it’s important to make sure you know the difference between love and dependence. That way, you can welcome the experience of healthy, lifelong love, according to Dr. Margaret Paul, when your soulmate comes knocking. “When you fall in love as a loving adult instead of as a wounded, needy child or adolescent, your need for the relationship is totally different,” she wrote in an article in HuffPost, noting, “Your desire is to share love rather than to get love.” That right there is an indicator that you’ve met the one, and are ready to accept their love.

You don’t feel the need to snoop when you’ve met your soulmate
Trust is important in any relationship, whether it’s a romantic one or not. So when you meet your soulmate and fall in love, not only should they have full confidence that you’re trustworthy, but you should also feel the exact same way that they do. To that end, there’s no reason that you should read their private correspondences without their permission, or even feel the need to. That’s a red flag that you aren’t confident that they’re telling you the truth — something true soulmates don’t struggle with.

Why do people snoop on each other anyway, according to the experts? “Someone might snoop because their needs feel unmet by their partner, and they are trying to make sense of the disconnection or rejection they feel,” clinical psychologist Dr. Mary Lamia penned in an article on “Or they may snoop because they imagine they are inadequate, thereby becoming convinced that their partner is attracted to someone else.” Fortunately, when you are with your forever person, the trust will naturally be solid.

Your soulmate puts you first when it counts
Once you’ve finally found your forever person, it logically follows that you’ll introduce them to your friends, family, and anyone else in your life who is important to you. In a perfect world everyone gets along with one another, and the integration of your partner into your life is seamless and easy.

But the reality is that we don’t live in a perfect world, and often we’ll have to navigate the more complicated relationships in our life along with our partner. Unfortunately, at times, this can sometimes result in situations where your soulmate has an issue with one or more of your friends or family members, and vice versa. But as Dr. Terri Apter penned in an article in Psychology Today, “When two people decide to marry, each makes a pledge that the other will be the most important person in their life.” So you should be confident that your soulmate will have your back when it really matters, even when it’s difficult. 

Read More: