You’re never going to find “the one”—and that’s a good thing.
WHEN CARRIE BRADSHAW
declared “I’m looking for love. Real love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can’t-live-without-each-other love” at the end of Sex and the City, many of us sighed and agreed. But more than a decade later, her speech seems, well, dated and naive. We—and the pop culture we consume—are far more ambivalent about finding “the one.” Consider the Netflix comedy Master of None. In the finale of season one, Dev, played by the show’s writer and co-creator Aziz Ansari, attends a wedding with his girlfriend, Rachel. As he watches his pals—a nauseatingly-starry-eyed bride and groom—recite their vows, Dev imagines what he might say to Rachel if they were in the same position: “Rachel, I’m not 100 percent sure about this. Are you the one person I’m supposed to be with forever? I don’t fucking know. And what’s the other option—we break up? That seems shitty too.”
In addition to Dev and Rachel’s will-they-won’t-they-make-it-work story arc, there’s Gus and Mickey in the series Love, a couple who is as on-again, off-again as Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth. Or Hannah in Girls, who, at the end of season six, tearfully shuts down any hope of reconciliation with her former obsession Adam. Soulmates, it seems, are passé. Psychologists have been onto this for decades. In 1997, research professor Arthur Aron actually manufactured relationships in his lab at the State University of New York. He invited strangers to ask and answer a series of 36 increasingly personal questions. (The premise was simple: The questions—which range from “Would you like to be famous?” to “When did you last cry in front of another person?”—speed up intimacy and vulnerability, two factors that are key to a relationship.)