Are You the One?

I was just thinking about the concept of ‘the One’ in relationships and how it affects our expectations. People fall in love and in the midst of the euphoria of those initial weeks (or months if they’re lucky) of bliss, they often believe they have found ‘the One’ – whether they already believed they were waiting for such a person, or the intensity of the experience leads them to believe in such an ideal relationship.

So that’s nice for them for the time being. But what happens if ‘the One’ dies or leaves them? Or worse still the bathroom habits and general boringness of ‘the One’ start to pall and the relationship cools significantly? Is that person still ‘the One’ or have the got ‘the wrong One’?

Haley and Michael, credit:

If it is the former, they can carry on believing that that person was indeed ‘the One’, and their love life is basically now over- as in this classic clip shows:

Anyone who is not ‘the One’ is seen as necessarily a poor substitute.

Or they can revise their opinion and decide that this person was not the One they’d been waiting for after all, and they are yet to meet him or her; this also applies of course if they themselves go off ‘the One’ and end the relationship.

I would suggest that it is the very concept of ‘the One’ which is the root cause of problems in a lot of relationships. It comes from a fundamental belief in scarcity and lack of faith in life to provide abundant opportunities. Of course the particular person we are with is great and may tick all our boxes and we may be happy to spend the rest of our days with them, but that is not to say that someone else could not be equally good for us.

The difficulty with this is that we may not be fully committed to the relationship because we know that breaking up would not be the end of the world or the end of our love life- ‘there’s plenty more fish in the sea’.

Contrast that ‘easy come, easy go’ attitude with the suicidal depression of someone who believes that in losing ‘the One’, they have blown their only chance to ever be loved in this lifetime. The possibility of this disaster hangs over them throughout the whole relationship, often gradually building in pressure until it forces the couple apart and the dreaded break-up and feared recriminations become a reality.

It would seem that a balance between these two attitudes is ideal: we are totally into our partner right now as the perfect ‘One’ for us in this moment but know that if we were to be separated we would not necessarily fall into despairing loneliness for the rest of our lives; another ‘One’ will probably come along and be perfect for that moment.

So do I believe in ‘the One’? Of course the answer has to be ‘yes and no’.

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