I reserve the right to love many different people at once, and to change my prince often. ~ Anaïs Nin Click To Tweet
The one. It is an idea as old as time itself. All we have to do is turn on the TV, and we are bombarded with the notion of “the one.” In this day and age, there are many different relationship structures. One human with one human is not always what works. Sometimes, we have one human who loves more than one human, and it works for those involved.
In Kissing Jessica Stein, when faced with the statement, “I’ve been hearing about the one for I don’t know, like years, and I thought it would be a guy”, Jessica responds with, “I don’t believe there’s just one person, I think there are like seven.”
Of course, many people find such a statement not only outrageous, but threatening. The main idea here, however, is to put a crack in the near-universal idea that life-long monogamy — and by extension, the nuclear family unit — is the only truly wholesome choice humans can make. The key word here being choice, of course…
Here are 5 reasons why this myth of “the one” needs to be dispelled.
1) You Complete You.
From an early age, we feed young children the idea that it takes this “other” to complete us. This is especially true for young women and girls, who are still taught from an early age that they will find their prince charming, get married, and live happily ever after. The underlying implication of this ‘true and lasting happiness’ is, of course, that they, as human beings, are not complete. This sets young people up for all kinds of unhealthy attachments down the road.
It’s 2016, so let’s be honest: there are many options for young women, and they do not have to include marriage, children, or a prince (or princess) carrying them off into the sunset on a white horse.
2) Our Most Important Relationship Is With Ourselves.
As much as some of us may not want to admit it, at some point, we will all be alone. Even in relationships, there will be time when we are by ourselves. Allowing ourselves this time, even while partnered, helps us to gain validation from ourselves, our talents, who we are at our core.
When we are happy with ourselves, and are complete in ourselves, this radiates to others who may be interested in getting to know us. When we are busy looking for “the one,” we are not focusing on ourselves and what makes us happy, and things we can do that are independent of another person. We fail to work on the most important relationship that we have, and that is the relationship we have with ourselves.
3) Monogamy is a Choice.
Monogamy is a choice that we make to commit ourselves to another person — and one we make continuously — but it is not something we owe people. The only thing we owe anyone else is the same thing we owe ourselves: honesty.
The notion of “the one” fails to acknowledge the many different relationship structures out there. Not everyone is choosing monogamy anymore and they should not be shamed by society for doing so. There are many different things on the relationship (or non-relationship) menu these days.
No person (or government) has the right to dictate what we as adults do with our own bodies, who we love, or how we choose to love. Nor does society at large have the right to abuse or ostracize people who have the courage to forge their own path and not live life according to societal ‘norms’.
4) Your Health and Wellness Matters. A Lot.
When we have assigned someone a title of the “the one,” we tend to ignore things that might be pointing in the direction of a relationship that is unhealthy. We may think someone is “the one” and go on to accept things like emotional, mental, or verbal abuse from them because of this. It can also lead to donning ‘blinders’, thus causing us to miss out on someone who may be better suited for us.
This is not to say we allow the idea that the grass is greener to rein — thus continually ‘looking’ — but we want to be aware of our worth and not allow someone to mistreat us simply because they may treat us well some of the time, and we feel we love them. It can be a real trap. As a trained crisis counselor, this is something I hear on a pretty daily basis from my callers.
5) Validation: It Comes From Within.
When we are focused on “the one,” we are getting validation from being with this “one.” Thus we are not looking to validate ourselves, but looking instead to find an identity through this other person. We are Partner X’s Partner, and that is what matters. We may forsake our friends to spend our time with them, increasing looking for our happiness in them alone. This is when things get co-dependent.
Again, this is something I hear all the time in my work: “My other half was my everything, we did everything together and they helped me through all of life’s challenges — and they broke up with me! We did everything together and now I’m just lost.”
Even in close-knit relationships, we always do better when we focus on ourselves and not the other. This may sound strange, but think about it for a minute. All relationship is about self-definition, as in, ‘How am I being in relationships to this other person?’
At the end of the day, we need to do what makes us happy, comfortable, and follow our bliss. Doing so is different for each and every one of us.