PSA: The One Does Not Exist
By Thao Nguyen
If you know me, then you probably know I’m a sucker for romance. My sisters give me continuous grief when they see all of the cheesy rom-coms I have queued up on Netflix and all of the even cheesier chick-lit books about true love (for clarity though, no trashy romance books for me). My friends know that I will stop mid-conversation to squeal over engagement posts for people that I don’t even know. Long story short, I love love.
But despite my hopeless romantic nature, one thing I refuse to buy into is the concept of The One. The idea that there’s someone out there who will make me infinitely happy has always seemed ridiculous to me. To think that not only will we be able to pick this person out and have them be perfect for me and me be perfect for them? That’s too farfetched, even for me. (And I literally have over 1,000 pins on my wedding board on Pinterest.)
Let’s start with one of the silliest issues I have with The One: the presupposition that it’s all up to destiny. To state that there’s one person out there for each of us insinuates that we really never had a say in the matter. Some higher power, whether you want to call it fate or destiny, decided who we were “meant to be with,” and then left us to our own devices to find them. (If this is true, I hope fate also puts us in the same geographic region as our One.)
That doesn’t sit well with me. It seems ludicrous to me that something as important as this was never up to me in the first place. I firmly believe in free will, and the concept of The One pretty much tells me that I don’t really have any free will when it comes to love. It tells me that I don’t actually have any say in who the right person for me is, and that I’m effed if I end up with the “wrong” person. As someone who will agonize over choosing the right manicure color days before my nail appointment, I can tell you that the belief that I don’t get to truly choose who is right for me fills me with anxiety. What if I choose the wrong One? What if I never cross paths with The One? What if I have met The One, but they choose someone else? It just leaves too much up to chance. And I don’t like chance.
What I do like, is getting to choose. Especially when it comes to love. Because while love may start as a feeling, it ultimately becomes a choice. Once you have discerned that you’ve met the person you think is The One, there’s not some behind the scenes voodoo magic that guarantees the feelings are going to last forever. It’s never that easy and feelings are fleeting. Love is a series of extremely hard choices that you both have to make, over and over and over and over. You have to wake up every morning and decide to love each other, even if you’re mad. You have to wake up every morning and decide that you will make sacrifices for each other, even when you’ve made countless sacrifices for each other before. You have to wake up every morning and decide that even when you feel like they aren’t enough, or that you aren’t enough, the relationship is still worth fighting for.
And that leads directly to my next point, there’s not a single person on this earth that will be able to always make you happy and inspire the warm fuzzies. That’s just too much pressure and wanting too much of them. It would be unrealistic of someone to expect that and unfair to both parties involved. Humans aren’t perfect. I can say this with certainty. That’s why it’s unrealistic to think there someone will always be able to fulfill you completely. Happiness can’t always be found in others. It’s something that must be found within.
We all have a yearning in our hearts to be endlessly happy and to feel complete. But it’s flawed to think that this yearning can be fulfilled by another person. And I’m definitely not saying that we should all be polygamists either. What I am saying is that the kind of peace we’re seeking from love can only be found in acceptance. Acceptance that there will be days when you won’t be able to make your significant other happy and that there will be days that they won’t be able to make you happy. Acceptance that not only will they not always be “enough,” but that we won’t always be “enough” either. Having a significant other is never going to mean that all of our self-doubt will go away. In fact, our insecurities can be especially amplified around them, so learning to live with the fact that we can fall short sometimes may be the hardest pill to swallow. But instead of making us feel like failures, this should inspire all of us to strive to be forgiving, understanding, and better every day and to also learn to love ourselves when we feel we have fallen short.
Waiting around for your “perfect” soulmate is just going to leave you disappointed and setting up the relationship for failure. Choose to wait instead to be happy and confident enough in yourself that any road bumps in a relationship come as a challenge rather than as a reason to stop and give up.