by JR Stubblefield
Ah, The One. You know who I’m talking about. Your soulmate. Your better half. Your good time dandy. The missing piece to your puzzle that fills those hard-to-reach heart crannies with chocolate and smooches. They’re out there somewhere waiting for the opportune time to sweep you off your feet and mend those tired, broken wings. I dearly hope this isn’t the first time you’re hearing this but,
The One probably doesn’t exist.
I know what you’re thinking: “Here we go. Another cynical piece written by some humdrum, romantic-less jade.” But don’t worry because I’m going to get all those cynical-sounding stats out of the way right now:
As I’m writing this, there are approximately 7.9 billion people alive today. Of those 7.9 billion, let’s say about 25% are within a reasonable dating age range to yourself. If you’re only attracted to one particular set of genitals, there are nearly one billion people within your global dating pool. One billion. If you went on three dates a day, it would take you 913,242 YEARS to filter through all your potential suitors. What are the odds you’ll find the perfect match in your lifetime?
Well, that’s not fair. You wouldn’t even give the time of day to most of those people. Not to mention the drastic lifestyle differences and communication barriers between you and a lion’s share of the world. While this may be true, they still have some sliver of potential and therefore ought to be counted. After all, true love comes in every shape, size, and cultural variance. Anyway, you’ll only end up meeting around 20,000 of these possible “soulmates” in your lifetime (obviously, there are countless variables to this stat so take it for what you will) so you won’t even get the chance to make connections with the other 999,980,000. That’s a lot of untapped potential. The One probably doesn’t exist.
Basically, all of this is a convoluted way to say that the odds of you finding your perfect match are not in your favor. VERY not in your favor. But this is okay because
* The One probably doesn’t exist. *
Wait! I know that was a lot but before you go, just hear me out:
I’m not trying to attack any beliefs on fate, karma, predestination, or more of the like—if it leads to a more joyous and satisfactory life for you and yours, more power to you. Nor am I trying to dampen the spirits of any hopeless romantics out there (we need more of you, to be honest). Whatever you may ultimately believe, I ask you to participate in a quick exercise using nothing but imagination. Trust me—you’ll be healthier for it.
Step 1: Take everything you believe to be true about destiny and pull it out of your brain (I find pulling through the ears to be the easiest route). This includes any preconceived notions about fate you’ve adopted from religion, philosophy, and Matthew McConaughey.
Step 2: Carefully place it on a stable surface within arm’s reach. It’s going to stay next to you the whole time, I promise. As soon as we’re done you can put it back into your brain and go on your merry way.
Step 3: Imagine that destiny doesn’t exist.
All done! You did fantastically.
Why does this even matter? Doesn’t this cheapen the relationship I have with my partner? Not in the slightest. In fact, by dropping the expectations that you’ll end up with The One, you’re doing yourself (and your partner) a huge favor. The One probably doesn’t exist.
1. No one will ever measure up to The One
Filling the role of a soulmate is a tough task for even the most eligible bachelors and bachelorettes. The label of The One carries with it a hodgepodge of insurmountable expectations and assumptions. After all, this is the one person in the world who’s supposed to be PERFECT for you (or at least better than everyone else).
When held up to your idealistic checklist, potential suitors will inevitably fall flat, unable to scale your lofty tower of romanticism. Now, this is no rally to drop your standards, just a little reminder to declutter your expectations and keep an open heart—you might just be pleasantly surprised at what finds its way in.
2. Labeling someone as The One puts them on a pedestal
Just as with any great BBQ platter, there’s more than one side. Let’s say you’ve found someone who scratches your soulmate itches in all the right places. “Could this be The One?”, you wonder, “Could this be the person I’m meant to be with forever?
Once we start to impress the label of The One onto our partner, confirmation bias begins to rear its ugly, punchable head. Because we want to find our soulmate so badly, we’re willing to distort the reality of our relationships.
We chase the idea of The One with such intensity that we miss otherwise detrimental red flags that may pop up in our peripherals.
If we think someone is The One (or at least has the potential to be) it brings their best attributes to the forefront while pushing their shortcomings into irrelevance. While this is understandable and (mostly) harmless behavior intended to make the best out of our current situation— keep in mind that your partner is a real human being with their own human being needs and shortcomings.
They will fuck up. In order to have a healthy relationship, we need to be able to admire all those wonderful qualities while also appreciating their fuckupiness— without reducing who they are into a projection of who we might want them to be.
3. The One skews our views on love
The idea that there is only one person out there capable of loving and being loved by us to the fullest potential can misrepresent what love is. Love is not a finite resource and is not realized in the same way from relationship to relationship.
The truth is, we have the capacity to fully love a great deal of people over the course of our lives, even multiple people at once. The very nature of The One puts love in a restrictive box and can lead us to believe that love needs to look a certain way.
Even throughout a single relationship, our love is dynamic and constantly evolving. Why? Because we are dynamic and constantly evolving. Besides, the fact that we could fall deeply in love with multiple people doesn’t diminish what we have with our partners. It makes the conscious choice to be with them despite this all the more fulfilling.
You made it to the end!
Now you can put your thoughts about destiny back into your brain and go on believing whatever you wish to believe. Thank you for humoring me—you really are a good sport.
If you believe you have found The One then I am immensely happy for you. However, you choose to love is your business and I hope that business is booming. Just remember to remain aware of what you could be unintentionally projecting onto your relationships and onto love itself. If you haven’t found that special something, keep an open heart and an open mind because
* The One probably doesn’t exist *
And that’s perfectly alright.