7 Not-Discussed-Enough Signs That He's Absolutely NOT 'The One'

"One day, someone will walk into your life and make you see why it never worked out with anyone else." — Unknown

Love & Relationships

The one. If you got a group of 50 single women together (single women who desire to be in a long-term relationship, that is) and you asked them what they were waiting on when it came to being in something serious, I wouldn't be shocked if at least half of them said, "I'm waiting on 'the one'." The one who they love above anyone else. The one who seems like their soulmate. The one they want to spend the rest of their life with.

That's beautiful. No sarcasm. Love, when it's right, is the absolute ultimate. Yet sometimes, I feel like term "the one" gets romanticized so much that we overlook the very practical side of what being with that kind of man really is. So, let's explore that a bit. Via personal experience, a lot of observation, working with countless couples and even due to a bit of reading, here are seven conclusions I've come to as it relates to determining when someone absolutely isn't the one — no matter how much it seems like the opposite…on the surface.

1. You’re Not Clear on What “The One” Is


While this one might catch you off guard a bit, I think if I break it down a little bit more, some dots may connect. Sometimes, in our quest for "the one", we're not even really thinking about what role we want that person to serve in our life…because we're not absolutely clear on what kind of relationship would best serve us. What I mean by that is, do you really want to be married or have you been programmed — by family, friends, religion, the media — to think that you should be? Do you think that a soulmate automatically means that someone is absolutely perfect for you when really, since no one is without flaw, a perfect fit doesn't realistically exist (a great complement does, though. Check out "If He's Right For You, He Will COMPLEMENT Your Life"); therefore, you're kinda already setting yourself up for either non-stop or earth-shattering disappointment? Do you think that once you meet a suitable companion that giving them the title of being "the one" means that they will be your all and all (which is too much pressure to put on any one individual…ever)?

It's really hard to know if you've met "the one" if you don't have a good understanding of what that should mean and what that would require.

So, what do I think the one should be? The person who helps you to feel safe; especially safe within your authentic self. The person who brings consistent peace to your spirit. The person who challenges you to become a better version of yourself. The person who causes you to feel truly seen. The person who is a real advocate for your purpose. The person who loves, respects and celebrates you. The person who holds you accountable (without any pushback on your part because, again, you trust them). The person who doesn't make the thought of a long-term commitment freak you out. The person who you know you didn't settle for by choosing them. The person who is a true spiritual match.

When you can meet a person who checks these boxes off — and they are able to say that you do the same thing for them — you've definitely met someone who is in a league all their own. And the really cool thing is it's based in what's real — not some trumped up fantasy or even something that was birthed out of other people's pressure and expectations of what "your one" should be.

2. His Words and Actions Don’t Align


Now that we've touched a little bit on what a healthy definition of "the one" is, let's get into some signs of when a man absolutely is not the one for you. Let's start with when his words and actions are not in agreement with one another. I believe I've shared before that if there is a huge challenge that words of affirmation people go through (and I definitely am one), it's sometimes, we're so moved by what comes out of someone's mouth that we don't really expect them to do much more beyond that. For example, if they say, "I love you", oftentimes that can be enough and so it can take us a while to be like, "Hold up. When's the last time you did something that actually showed it, though?"

And here's the thing about words. If you look at them from a spiritual (in this case, I mean biblical) perspective, we are created in the image of the literal One who spoke words and things manifested once he did (Genesis 1-2). God said let there be light…and it was so. So yeah, we should see ourselves and others as literal vessels who also have the ability and power to definitely say something…and then make something happen as a direct result of the words that we said.

So yeah, sis. I don't care how much flattery he speaks, how many assurances he's given or how many promises he's made, there is no way that you trust in or rely on someone who doesn't actually treat his words like action verbs. If what I just said is a totally foreign concept to you…that's not good. And if you're with someone who is like this, that's a pretty telling sign that he's probably not the one for you. At least not right now, he isn't.

3. Your Value Systems Totally Clash


For many years, there was a guy from my past who I totally considered to be the one who got away. I felt that so profoundly in my spirit that some people in my world referred to him as that rather than using his actual name. Anyway, back in 2015, when I went on my heart pieces tour (check out "Why Every Woman Should Go On A 'Get Your Heart Pieces Back' Tour"), he was one of the people I connected with to get some of the answers that I needed in order to gain some real closure. That conversation lasted for hours and while that man is still sexy as hell, is thriving more than ever and I definitely get why we connected all those years back in the way that we did, when he started to share with me where he was spiritually and what some of his future goals were, I got that we had grown apart on levels that would definitely prevent us from living in any kind of harmony now. Past some climbing-the-walls sex and witty banter, we probably couldn't offer each other more than that. We just value different things now.

Two people having different values and standards isn't bad overall. It's absolutely horrifying, though, if you're trying to create a life with another person on a very intimate level. Matter of fact, I know a married woman now who loves her husband and yet regrets marrying him because she downplayed just how much some of their core values clashed back when they were dating. Listen, there are all kinds of people that you can love because you like them, you respect them and you enjoy them. It's a whole 'nother ball game when you're contemplating living with them and making little humans with them.

While relationships are all about compromise, if there's one area that should not be up for bending, it's your value system. If you and he aren't on the same page in this area, he's probably meant to be a friend. Or someone who taught you to put your values above a relationship — which is actually a really great lesson to learn.

4. He Doesn’t Bring You Peace (and/or You Don’t Bring Him Any)


Let me tell it, the reason why a lot of us don't prioritize peace as much as we should is because we didn't grow up in a household that had much of it to start with. And since there was so much chaos surrounding the people we shared that space with professed to love us, as adults, many of us think that love and turmoil/drama/a lack of harmony not only can coexist but should. Uh-uh. If you don't get anything else outta this, hear me when I say that no one is your one if they don't bring you peace — and they can't say that you do the same thing for them in return.

I've shared before that peace is a really layered, powerful and profound word, if you look at it from the Hebrew word "shalom". In modern-day Israel, when people greet one another with "shalom", what they are basically saying is "may health and prosperity be upon you". Yet shalom also breaks down to reference wholeness, completeness, tranquility and harmony. And harmony? That's about being in agreement with someone. Being on one accord with someone. Having a friendship, feeling unified and living in a way with someone else that shows that the two of you truly do fit together.

Whenever I do interviews and folks ask me what I want in a relationship, holistic safety and peace are always at the top of my list. Because if he and I don't feel safe in each other's presence, if we don't bring each other the shalom kind of peace — what the heck are we doing together? No. Really.

5. He Doesn’t Complement Your Life


I actually wrote an entire article on this topic before (also check out "The Right Relationship IMPROVES Not CHANGES You"). So why am I bringing this point up again? For starters, it's because it really can't be said enough (trust me). Also, because I want to share what a wife has been telling me, on repeat, about how much her husband absolutely does not complement her — and they are going on 20 years of being together. While I've got to respect the fact that she is honoring the vows that she took and so, for her, divorce is not an option (a lot of people are really flippant about the promises that they make; that is unfortunate), I must admit that she is a bit of a cautionary tale. She knows it too.

You know, I recently read a tweet that said something along the lines of, "Some of y'all are realizing that you never really wanted a man in your life. What you actually wanted was a son." Whew (check out "Are You His Partner Or His Second Mama?"). That said, my friend has been told, for years, including by her husband, that she can be pretty controlling and bossy. Not all of the time yet enough of it. And so, it would appear that she initially went into her relationship with her man to initially "make him better". It was all about her appointing herself to be his improvement plan. The problem with this is 1) that's not any grown person's job to do in someone else's life; 2) being so arrogant as to think someone else needs work and you don't is a recipe for ending up with mud all over your face, and 3) looking to change him means that she was more focused on what he had the potential to become than who he actually was/is.

As a direct result, she ended up doing what far too many people do — she married potential. A lot of that potential has never actualized because her husband doesn't want to become who she thinks he should be. He's content being the man that he is — and on some levels, has always been. Plus, since she's been more focused on him than she probably should, that has hindered her from growing as much as she needs to as well.

And that's the part of someone complementing another individual that isn't discussed, nearly enough. The literal definition of complement is "something that completes or makes perfect". Complete means "lacking nothing". While far too many people are out here looking for someone who will give them whatever they want on a tangible or monetary level, emotionally mature folks get that a true "lacking nothing" is someone who helps them to soar on a mental, emotional and spiritual level.

"The one" will fit you in such a way that you can't help but to become better as the result of them being in your life, as they are able to say the same thing about you. If you can't say that a man complements you, why would you stay with them? Being complemented is one of the best things about being in an intimate relationship. Straight up.

6. You’re Constantly “Convincing” Him


One of the joys of being single is the fact that when you're dating someone, you don't have to act like you're married to them…because you aren't (check out "7 Things That Make Marriage Different From Seriously Dating"). This means that even if you love a guy and/or you've been with him forever and/or you are in something long-term, it's still so much easier to leave because there is no contract (which is pretty much what a marriage license is) between the two of you. I'm not saying that ending the relationship won't hurt (check out "Why You Need To Grieve Your Past Relationship"). I'm saying that since you didn't say "until death parts us", why pressure yourself to act like you did?

Same thing goes with staying with someone to the point where either you feel like you have to keep convincing him to stay — or you've got to convince your own self to do it. And listen, this point can sneak up on you in some pretty cryptic ways. If you're constantly arguing and yet convincing yourselves to work it out, if you there are more bad days than good and yet you keep convincing yourselves that the good days are worth it, if you feel deep within you that there is probably more that you should be having and yet you too are afraid to let each other go to see what other possibilities are in store — those are some ways that you are definitely convincing yourself to stay. And sis, that's not loyalty. That's fear.

There's no way around the fact that relationships, even healthy ones, have their ups and downs. Yet you know what? When a relationship is both good and beneficial, two people don't spend a lot of time convincing themselves to stick it out. The dynamic is so good that it's worth hanging in and the drama is so far and few between that it doesn't feel like a ton of grueling work.

7. You Are Never Satisfied


As a marriage life coach, I 1000 percent believe that a leading cause of divorce that isn't brought up, nearly enough, is the fact that two people who went into their marriage not knowing how to be satisfied and so, they had totally unrealistic expectations when it came to wanting the union, including their spouse, to "make them content". What in the world? If you haven't mastered how to be satisfied — fulfilled, happy, supplied, positive, alive — within yourself, what the heck is some other flawed human being supposed to do? Good lord. Amazing how many folks want someone else to do what they won't even do for themselves. That's another message for another time, though.

For now, as I close this out, I want to drive home the point that someone isn't the one for you, not if they can't satisfy you (some folks out here are so greedy, needy or entitled that NO ONE could ever satisfy them); no, the clincher is they aren't for you if they get you out of the satisfactory feeling that you (should) already have within— with or without their presence.

Here's what I mean by that. I can't tell you how many divorced people I know who are thrilled to be apart from their former spouse. And one of the main things that a lot of them tell me is that they feel more content than they ever had because their partner was constantly nagging and/or trying to change them and/or constantly wanting more and/or always moving the bar and/or causing them to doubt themselves. That's hell on earth, y'all.

The one? That's someone who only adds surplus to the satisfaction that you already feel. You're content, so they come in and cause you to feel…even more content. So, you know what that means, right? You've gotta get good with yourself, so that you can actually tell who is incapable of supporting you in remaining in the state of satisfaction that you're already in (alone). Bottom line, if you're with someone and you don't feel any of this — it's either because you need some time to get right with you or the dissatisfied emotions are alerting you that they aren't "your one".

Do I think "the one" is possible? A thousand times yes. I just think we need to be a lot more practical in our thinking about it. Your one isn't some Prince Charming. He's someone who comes in and supports you being a better self. The one is who will bring you closer to your ideal self. Anything short of that is settling. Anything less? He's probably not your "the one".

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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