Now and Later: The Truth Behind the Myth of The One

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series The One

The main problems with the idea of The One True Love of your life come from a watering down, glazing over and outright manipulation of the myths that once upon a time laid out a pretty sensible picture of love, life, relationships and romance (when there was any to be had).

The Big Secret

The big secret about finding The One is that, by definition, it’ll happen unless you go out of your way to stop it. The reverse is true, too–if you’re not going to find that magical One, there’s nothing you can do to make it happen.

See, by the definition that most people assign to the concept, The One is a predestined perfect relationship. There may be a hoop or two to jump through to get there, but you’ll see it and leap with little problem.

It’s not something that everyone subscribes to, and that’s really for the best. The One is a near-mystical concept that requires someone already predisposed to fanciful thoughts to buy into. It’s that buying into the idea that makes it possible to find The One–even if you don’t, really.

Not Just One One

The other important thing is that The One is a concept directly tied to who you are–and who they are–right now. Every day, we all grow and change a little bit. Before long, we’re not the same person we were a week ago, a month ago, a year ago. The same is true of our partners.

That person you were so totally in love with when you were 18? There’s a good chance you wouldn’t fit together quite as well a decade later.

Again, this works both ways. Over time, we may find someone we were once incompatible with becomes tolerable… then desirable.

Shared experience can do amazing things. If two people grow in the same direction, whatever bond they share can get deeper, their feelings more intertwined, and, as a direct result, discover that they are each other’s One.

They didn’t start out that way, but it’s where they ended up.

Hard Work Pays Off (Sometimes)

In the oldest myths, there are always quests and challenges that must be undertaken before elusive True Love is found. Psyche was put to a number of tasks by Venus before she ended up with Cupid. Through the course of her challenges, she grew as a person and got to know more about herself.

Before their Disney-ification, all those classic princesses like Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and The Little Mermaid went through a whole lot more than just wishing their dashing prince would show up and rescue them from a blase life. They had to discover who they were–sometimes by being lost in the woods, sometimes by spending a whole lot of time alone, and sometimes by trying on a different skin for a while.

The truth of any relationship is that it’s going to be work. And it should be work for both people. If only half the pair is working to discover themselves, things are most certainly destined to end poorly. This is doubly true if the one doing all the work thinks the other is The One.

A piece of advice I give frequently is that even though you love someone, it doesn’t mean you should be with them. Deluding yourself into thinking someone who’s not working on themselves will change–or even worse that you can change them–will only hold you back and cause you pain.

Back to the Dream

People do find their One. But they don’t do it by looking for him or her, or wishing, or having them come riding in on a white horse.

They do it by finding and interacting with compatible people on a regular basis.

They do it by sharing experiences with others around them.

They do it by being open to the idea that it can happen, but knowing that if they buy into the dream, it really is out of their hands.

The One exists, for some. For everyone, though, there is “the one for now.” And with some work, “now” may be a very long time.

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