Is Love About Finding ‘The One?’

It’s ‘nice’ to believe in ‘the one.’ But there’s more than one ‘one.’ This is about why this whole idea is a problem.

Some people believe that there is ‘One’ person out there who is absolutely perfect for them and that they will have a perfect relationship that will last forever. This ‘One’ also meets all of their needs so they won’t need anyone else. People also believe that we all have to find ‘The One’ in order to be truly happy or complete.

‘The One’ story is something that we hear a lot in stories (hello Knight in shining armour), films, TV (though not soap operas) and pop songs.

There are so many stories about 'The One' like the Knight in Shining Armour

People tell us about it too eg: “when you meet the right person.” Loads of people believe in this but I don’t think it’s true and it’s probably not a good idea to believe in it. Here’s why

False sense of security

When we meet someone we really like/love then it’s hard to believe that there might be anyone else out there who we might ever like/love as much as this person. Although this might feel like it’s true, really believing this can make the relationship harder but also trap us in unhappy relationships.

‘The One’ is perfect so we don’t have to do anything to make the relationship work right? Wrong!

Believing in ‘The One’ means that people might not do the work that is required to make a relationship better. ‘The One’ is ‘perfect’, everything is easy and natural and you’ll love each other forever no matter what. However relationships need work, they are often a struggle. ‘The One’ isn’t perfect and no relationship is: communication, openness, trust and fairness don’t come naturally, they come through work.

It makes us unhappy

If we are in an unhappy relationship then we may hold onto ‘The One’ because we are so afraid that this is our only opportunity for a relationship. We might not be able to see how unhappy or unhealthy the relationship is.

Believing in 'the one' makes it harder to spot an unhealthy or an abusive relationship

There are lots of reasons why people stay in unhappy relationships – fear of being single, economic reasons, being forced to, needing a co-parent, someone to live with – but believing in this idea of ‘The One’ is one of them.

Just relying on ‘The One’ to give us all the stuff we need in life (support, hugs, laughs, fun, someone to talk to, closeness, security) makes us very dependent on them but also really struggle if the relationship does end.

Often we might find ourselves in relationships that are abusive or really unhappy because we might believe that this person is ‘the one’ for us and that there are no other ‘ones’ out there. Sometimes someone might use this to their advantage by saying ‘there’s no-one else for you’ or ‘you only need me’. For more about abusive relationships read this

When we expect 'the one' to give us so much it can put a lot of pressure on relationships

Ironically, believing in the one can also make relationships harder with someone that might actually be really great for us. It can put so much pressure on the relationship and each other that it can make it really difficult. Also it means that we give less attention to all the other things that we need to keep us happy. Friends, family, colleagues, work and our hobbies just come second compared to the love we get from ‘The One.’

It makes being single suck

Believing in ‘The One’ can also make life harder for us if we are single too. Seeing everyone walking around with their ‘Ones’ can be pretty depressing if we’ve been taught that there is ‘One’ out there for us but we haven’t found them yet. It either makes us think that we aren’t good enough, or that we might have missed them or that our paths may never cross.

Seeing everyone walking round with their ‘Ones’ can be pretty depressing …

This is particularly hard if we find it difficult to spend any time with people that we may fancy or may fancy us. For example if we have a disability that makes it harder for us to hang out with people, or if we live in a small place with few people.

When we talk about 'the one' it makes it really hard for single peoplel

There’s more than one ‘one’

But the good news is that there isn’t just one ‘One’ – but hundreds, thousands or millions of ‘Ones’ all over the place.Very few people go through their lives with just one partner (and very few of those people who do are happy all of the time). Either things have changed or we are more honest about our relationships now. Whereas it used to be common for couples (men and women) to marry and stay together until ‘death do us part’, many people now re-marry. Or people don’t get married in the first place and have more than one big relationship.

Some people have more than one relationship at a time too, either openly and honestly or without their partner knowing. Or people have shag buddies, or non-exclusive dates, or have close non-romantic relationships with their mates or spend quality time with their family.

There's more than one one

Whatever you think about this believing that there is more than one ‘One’ can take the pressure off us a bit. It can make us feel better about being single, it can help us to be more realistic about what a romantic partner can give us and it can make us focus more on what we can give to ourselves and how we can do that.

Now read this!

More than one love – why it’s important not to put ‘the one’ above your (e.g.) mates

Love isn’t like a thunderbolt – it can feel like it, but love isn’t random like that.

What happens when we fall in love – how do we actually fall in love?

© Justin Hancock, 2015


3 thoughts on “Is Love About Finding ‘The One?’

  1. Justin, what about a post about marriage through the ages? For Kings and Princes, it was a matter of ties with foreign countries, a matter for diplomacy. The idea that there was ‘love’ involved was not considered. If the King or Prince wanted ‘love’ he had this with his mistress; the French court had a position of ‘official mistress’.

    And then there was the idea of a ‘business contract’, people who were partners in an enterprise. They probably liked one another, but it was mercantile not emotional. And, apparently, successful.

    Or marriage as the need of a legitimate heir? Some say that this is the origin of marriage, following the development of agriculture and towns; previously, people were nomadic.

    ‘Romantic love’ is a modern invention, though it might have its roots in the troubadours.


    1. Yes I think that’s a really good idea. It very much links into this idea of ‘The One’ having to be so many different things to us nowadays.

      1. Personally, I think the idea of a ‘business contract’ is likely to be the best basis for a long term relationship. I’d be very interested to see your views, in due course.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.