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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 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 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 loved-up 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."
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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