This is a hard truth to stomach. So hear us out.

We’ve all been sold a myth. The false promise that when we find “the one”, all of our problems will be solved. We’ll be rescued. Our loneliness, our heartache, our feelings of insecurity – they will all disappear.

The truth is, though, happiness is an inside job. When we make it an outside job – when we make it someone else’s responsibility – we lose our power, our freedom and often we lose our sense of self.

This also puts an unsustainable amount of pressure on our partner be “perfect”. And while this might work for the honeymoon period of a relationship, eventually cracks begin to form. Eventually we see start to see our partner’s imperfect and human self. We realise that it’s not always possible for them to fully get how we feel or to read our minds. We feel hurt when they put their own needs before ours. We feel devastated when they become attacking or withdraw. We feel angry and confused when they disagree with something that’s fundamentally important to us.

Here’s some food for thought that you might like to reflect on:

  • Can you relate to the idea that your partner (or future partner) should be the one?
  • In what ways do you think this serves you well in your relationship?
  • In what ways do you think this might be creating challenges within your relationship?
  • How do you feel about the idea of you being the one you’ve been waiting for? What does this bring up for you?

We think this quote by Alain de Botton in his brilliant book The Course of Love sums up beautifully what we mean when we say “you are the one you’ve been waiting for”:

Choosing a person to marry is hence a matter of deciding exactly what kind of suffering we want to endure, rather than imagining we have found a way to skirt around the rules of emotional existence. We will all by definition end up with that stock character of our nightmares, ‘the wrong person’.

This doesn’t need to be a disaster, however. Enlightened Romantic pessimism simply assumes that one person can’t be everything to another. We should look for ways to accommodate ourselves as gently and kindly as we can to the awkward realities of living alongside another fallen creature. There can only ever be a “good enough” marriage.

For this realisation to sink in, it helps to have had a few lovers before settling down, not in order to have the chance to locate “the right person” but in order to have ample opportunity to discover at first hand, and in many different contexts, the truth that there isn’t any such person; and that everyone really is a bit wrong when considered from close up. 

If you’re keen to dig a little deeper in exploring this concept or these questions, learn more about relationship counselling for individuals or couples therapy with your partner, and book an appointment online.