Why There’s Noth­ing Like The One

A coun­sel­lor ex­plains how harm­ful search­ing for the ‘per­fect’ part­ner can be

Cosmopolitan Middle East - - CONTENTS - WORDS: PAIS­LEY GIL­MOUR

Ditch the check­list!

Have you been search­ing for ‘The One’ ever since you started dat­ing? It’s to­tally un­der­stand­able if you have, af­ter all, it’s a con­cept that’s been rammed down our throats by (most) ro­mance nov­els, movies and love songs since the dawn of time. And, ac­cord­ing to re­cent re­search from Re­late and eHar­mony, un­der 35s (one in five) are the most likely age group to be­lieve in the con­cept of ‘The One’. But, when you re­ally think about, it’s a pretty harm­ful idea. Re­late re­la­tion­ships coun­sel­lor, Rachel Davies, agrees that be­liev­ing you will one day find ‘The One’ is dam­ag­ing. She even says it will stop you from en­joy­ing a great re­la­tion­ship. Here, she ex­plains why it’s all a myth.

It’s too fa­tal­is­tic

“This view of re­la­tion­ships is dan­ger­ous,” Rachel says. “It can lead peo­ple to think­ing that good qual­ity re­la­tion­ships just hap­pen. The truth is that all re­la­tion­ships have their ups and downs, and all re­la­tion­ships take work.”

It makes peo­ple won­der if the grass is greener

Rachel says, “Be­liev­ing there’s just one per­son out there for you can lead peo­ple in oth­er­wise good re­la­tion­ships, to won­der if the grass is greener. They may worry they’re with the wrong per­son. It’s nor­mal to find other peo­ple at­trac­tive, and doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean you’re with the wrong per­son. When you meet some­body new, you might think they’re per­fect, but of­ten we project our fan­tasies of the per­fect part­ner onto them, only to feel dis­ap­pointed when they turn out to be dif­fer­ent to how we imag­ined.”

We be­come ob­sessed with ‘tick­ing boxes’

“We can end up dis­miss­ing or end­ing re­la­tion­ships with per­fectly good po­ten­tial part­ners be­cause they don’t tick all of the boxes,” she ex­plains. “The myth of ‘The One’ is of­ten com­pounded by the idea that the best part­ners ful­fil all as­pects of your life - so­cial, emo­tional, in­tel­lec­tual, sex­ual, prac­ti­cal. It’s a tall or­der for any­one to live up to this. The prob­lem with high ex­pec­ta­tions is that we’re likely

It gives peo­ple an un­re­al­is­tic idea of what a re­la­tion­ship should be

“Some­times ‘The One’ myth is fed by films, sto­ries and in­ter­views in the me­dia, that de­pict lovedup cou­ples in beau­ti­ful set­tings, ecstatically happy. If they’re not loved-up, they’re de­picted as deeply un­happy and on the verge of break­ing up,” Rachel says. “There is no mid­dle ground when the re­al­ity of most long-term re­la­tion­ships is some­where in the mid­dle. Celebri­ties ar­gue, get grumpy with each other and get an­noyed with each other for the day to day things like we all do. The same is true of our friends, who may want to present the best im­age of their re­la­tion­ship in con­ver­sa­tion or on so­cial me­dia. The re­al­ity is more likely to be that there are as­pects of their re­la­tion­ship that are not per­fect.” to be dis­ap­pointed, and if we’re fol­low­ing the ‘The One’ myth, this means we may scratch a part­ner off the list who is right for us in many ways.

It’s just highly un­likely

Rachel ex­plains, “Given the many life choices and daily de­ci­sions we make that de­ter­mine who we stand next to in the cof­fee queue, or end up liv­ing next door to, it would be amaz­ing if any­one cou­ples got to­gether if was only one per­son out there for us.”

We need to ac­cept there’ll

be more than one ‘One’

“It may be bet­ter to think there are prob­a­bly many ‘ones’ out there for us and even that there are some ‘ones for now’ (some­one that we want to date and get to know, but with­out mak­ing the early de­ci­sion that this is some­one we want to grow old with),” Rachel says.

No re­la­tion­ship is per­fect, but they’re still worth work­ing on

“If there’s enough good in the re­la­tion­ship, it’s worth work­ing on the less-than-per­fect ar­eas and giv­ing your re­la­tion­ship


some ef­fort,” she says. “Cou­ples coun­selling can help to in­crease un­der­stand­ing and im­prove your com­mu­ni­ca­tion, so that you en­joy a hap­pier re­la­tion­ship. What coun­selling won’t do is pro­vide a per­ma­nent fix, or make your re­la­tion­ship per­fect. You’ll still need to keep work­ing at that. Rachel sug­gests in­stead of ask­ing your­self “are they The One?” ask, “Can I be my­self around them, or am I al­ways try­ing to be some­body else? Do we have a laugh to­gether? Do we have sim­i­lar val­ues and do we sup­port each other?” If the an­swers are yes, you’re golden.

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