I’ve stopped looking for “The One”—the one person I’m meant to spend the rest of my life with.
That’s what we’re supposed to be looking for, right? When we’re 31, and single again, and have spent the years watching our friends and younger sisters have beautiful bohemian style weddings in lace dresses on the beach and give birth to chubby-cheeked babes, some of them now about to enter middle school?
Or when we’re 31, and divorced, but not single, because once you’ve been married every checkbox list on every identifying piece of paper will include the option divorced, as if you can never revert back, and you’re labeled, tainted with the sting of a negative name tag forever on your identity?
We’re the ones who just can’t get it right…right?
This concept of “The One” has a fundamental flaw though. We are always growing and changing as people. Even if on the surface it looks like we are the same person, something is always flowing and changing. Sometimes at a faster pace than others.
If I myself am not merely one person, since I have been at the very least many different shades of one person, then how can I expect a partner to remain one person forever?
How do we expect to find someone who will be what we want in a relationship now and who will continue to be what we will want in the future? When our needs change and our desires ebb and flow, in a way that is entirely unpredictable, and our partner’s needs change and their desires ebb and flow, how do we forever maintain that mutual satisfaction and connection?
Some of us have never been able to maintain it for long, which is why we leave a track record of relationships in our wake.
I used to believe this meant there was something wrong with me. Either I was fundamentally flawed or I attracted the wrong men. But when I look back, no matter how difficult or even unhealthy any of my relationships were, I would not be where I am today without each and every one of them. Each relationship teaches us valuable lessons.
The lessons of why we were attracted to them in the first place, of what they mirrored within us, of what projections we placed on them instead of taking accountability for within ourselves, of what we wanted our boundaries to be, and of what we even desired in our partners in the first place.
I know there are relationships out there that have lasted 50-plus years, happily. They may have been difficult, or not, but either way the mutual love remained. They grew together instead of apart—and that is wonderful. I don’t cast judgment on these beautiful couples.
But, I do want to challenge the cultural mindset that they “got it right.” That somehow their long-lasting relationship is superior to my shorter ones, no matter how passionate, how deeply intimate and heart-opening, how influential and profound they were in my life. That short relationships are mistakes of some sort, or failures.