The concept of ‘the one’ is not rooted in love, it is rooted in a desire, much like most of everything else we do, to be saved from ourselves. The idea that there is a perfect love that will induce the happiest life is a deflection and defense mechanism and it will keep us from ever actually finding it. Trying to determine whether or not someone is ‘the one’ – especially early on in a relationship – is the best way to assure nobody ever will be. Here, 7 reasons why.
1. The relationships we can’t get over are the ones we never really have in the first place.
People think that the love they can’t get past is the fated love they lost, but it’s really the love they feel, in some way, they never totally had. They didn’t try for, gave up on, decided they didn’t want and then decided they were mistaken. The biggest problem with love isn’t that we don’t have it or are incapable of it, but we expect it to do things it’s incapable of doing, and expect it to come from specific forms it can’t always come from. All of this to say: ending relationships because we can’t identify that they are some hypothetical ‘ideal’ not only keeps us from finding actual companionship, but it’s a source of intense turmoil because we end (what could ultimately be very good for us) before we give it a chance to be.
2. Only wanting to love the ‘correct’ person teaches you that only ideal people are worth love.
Love doesn’t happen because you meet someone who fits a set of criteria. If you choose who to extend your love to because of whether or not they meet a standard you have in your head about what’s ‘right,’ I can guarantee you are doing the same thing to yourself in some way – holding yourself back from actual love because only ideal people are worth it.
3. It teaches you that your love is expendable.
One of the most destructive subconscious beliefs people have is that you can only hold space in your heart for one person. But the capacity of your heart is not a set quantity, it’s something you decide. Your love is not a non-renewable resource that you must carefully ration. You don’t love someone better only because you’ve only loved them.
4. It creates the belief that the point of relationships is to find what’s right as opposed to build what’s right.
The point of relationships is to help us grow – as some people say, they are assignments. We’re not meant to have just one relationship that comforts us in some abstract way, we’re meant to have a series of them that teach us what we have to know at the time. Monogamy is possible for humans (though ultimately stressful because people grow and then a different partner is better suited for them eventually, etc.) but a valid commitment to make if so you choose. The point is being aware that love is not something that happens, it’s something you decide to make happen, and open yourself to.
5. If one trait doesn’t align with what you assume to be the ideal partner, confirmation bias will have you seek out supporting evidence to make that so. What you seek, you will find.
If you go into any given relationship with the assumption that the person at hand is not ‘the one’ because of some arbitrary, rigid standard you set for them, you will ultimately find many reasons that they aren’t right because your confirmation bias will start to kick in.
6. You have no way to actually know what you want in ‘the one.’
Thinking you know what you want in your ideal partner speaks to the person you are and were, not the person you’ll be. People are psychologically incapable of predicting what will make them happy (trying to figure that out = assuming a feeling from the past or solution to a problem can be recreated with similar circumstances). So we really have no idea how to gauge what ‘type’ of person would be right for us – only the people we were and we think we are currently.
7. Searching for ‘the one’ is not looking for love, it’s a defense mechanism.
It’s a way to keep yourself safe, it’s the risk-free version of letting yourself love. The idea of ‘the one’ is the promise of everlasting, unconditionally accepting companionship in which you are safe enough to open your heart and truly experience it. The thing you won’t expect is that nobody else can make you feel safe enough to open your heart. You must do that. And if ‘the one’ crosses your path, you’ll miss them regardless.