How to Find the One.

Via on Feb 14, 2011

Kiss me by Scented_mirror, on Flickr

Photo: Mariana Amorim

The One Lives Inside of You.

Just over 20 years ago I thought I had found The One. He was tall, strikingly handsome and extremely charming. He was intelligent and sensitive. He liked cats for goodness sake! He was a lover of children, took long bubble baths and was willing to give up watching football–for me!

“Oh my God,” I thought, “I have found The One!” I just couldn’t believe that I was his One too. Me? I never thought I would ever be anyone’s The One, let alone this smokin’ hot, super-sensitive, funny and charming superman! It was a drug more powerful than any I have ever known.

Anything I wanted to do he would do. Anywhere I wanted to go he would follow. We moved to Maine, we traveled to Spain. We got married (okay, that one took some convincing), bought a house and had a baby. I started a business and he became a house husband. I had a Mr. Mom and every woman was jealous of me. We lived in Italy, bought a cabin on a lake and had another baby. From the outside we were the envy of everyone who knew us, and even those who didn’t. We looked like we had it all: love, money, health and happiness. Over the years he told me over and over again, “you are the love of my life,” and yet, something was just not adding up.

In the early stages of our life together I recognized one powerful and important dynamic: I did not like the way I felt when this man spoke to me. I felt misunderstood, I felt stupid and most of all–I felt disrespected. I was young and hopeful, but the sinking feeling that I had in my body, mind and spirit when he spoke to me was so palpable that after one year of being with him, I had to say something.

“I don’t like the way I feel when you talk to me,” I told him, “and the only way to address this is to leave the relationship.” He was crushed. He cried and said he would change. He begged and pleaded for me to give him a chance. In the end, I couldn’t leave him. After all, he was The One. Finding The One means that there is no other. That’s it. The. One.

We began couples therapy and continued for ten solid years. Each therapist would say the same thing: “Well, it’s clear that the love is there,” but was it love, or was it just not wanting to let go of The One and end up with The None?

The years went on and he did not change, but I did. I became smaller, less strong. I felt so lucky to have someone to love me as much as he said he did. On top of that, he was able to see all of my flaws and was not afraid to point them out to me. He would make me a better person. He told me so often “you’re selfish” and “you don’t know what compromise is” and “you don’t know what it means to be in a marriage” and (the kiss of death), “you don’t know the meaning of the word compassion.”

How can it be that I simply did not see these things about myself? Over time, I couldn’t imagine that anyone would want to be anywhere near a wretch like me. Thank the stars above that I had him to make me likable, tolerable and approachable. Just being near him made me better and, like finding a needle in a haystack, I felt like I had won the relationship lottery. I had found The One and boy, where would I be without him? Still, I found myself questioning and becoming angry. I judged myself for this anger because he loved me so much. Why couldn’t I just be thankful?

Like a dog that is hit repeatedly, he eventually believes he deserves the treatment and so had I become. The questions still remained but I gave up on doing anything about it. Perhaps my greatest moment of learning acceptance was in my marriage. I accepted my life, my husband, my marriage and what I saw to be my future. Many years had passed. We had two children, a life, a house in Maine–and I saw that there was no way out. I was in it, together, with The One for the rest of my days. Trapped.

Like that aforementioned dog that eventually snaps, I had a moment of rebellion and turned on my husband. In one last expression of my voice I sat him down and angrily declared, “I feel like I am married to an asshole, and I do not want to be married to an asshole.” I mentioned a few instances that I felt were especially “asshole-ish,” and his response to my pronouncement was, “I’m sorry that you think I’m an asshole.” We got nowhere. After that I kept silent.

Six years passed and we moved to Boston. I had discovered yoga, had a personal transformation and began to find my voice again. I began to see that though he was my husband, he was not The One, I was. I saw that I was the one needing to find the light inside of me. Only I could cultivate that feeling of love and acceptance, and it came from deep within. I founded an organization that helps women in crisis see their value, their worth and their light.

Eventually the things he said to me had less punch and I chose not to let them hurt me. When someone hands you a fork, you decide if you want to put it to use, toss it aside, or poke yourself in the eye with it. And so it was with the criticism, belittling and sarcasm that my husband sent my way. I simply did not make use of them as I once had.

He did not approve. I did not care.

Seventeen years after I had met this man I made a shocking discovery. For all of these years, this man had been telling me that I was the love of his life, that I was The One and that he didn’t know what he would do without me. I had felt 100% responsible for his happiness. I felt that if I left I would be the most cold-hearted person alive. I would be destroying another person’s life. Yet for the entirety of our  marriage, all of the years that I believed that this man was so much better than me, he had been living a double life. For real. To speak of the details of this would be giving it energy that I just don’t feel it deserves. It is enough to say that when I retell the story to people, they usually respond with comments such as, “Your life sounds like a Jerry Springer Show!” And yes, it does. It has also taught me some incredibly powerful and beautiful lessons:

1. Trust your intuition:

My intuition was speaking loud and clear in that first year when I felt something that just wasn’t right. My head, my ego and my insecurities allowed me to doubt that intuitive voice, all because I didn’t want to lose The One.

2. Your choices in life will reinforce what you believe about yourself:

Though I was not aware of it, somewhere in my deep subconscious I believed that I was desperately flawed. Being with my husband helped me reinforce this belief. I chose to stay. It doesn’t mean the way he behaved throughout our marriage was okay, but if I did not on some level have a false belief about myself, I would not have stayed.

3. The One lives inside of you:

There is no Prince Charming, no winning the lottery or magic bullet. Life is a process and experience of joyful times and challenging times. When you have found The One deep inside of you, your ability to navigate through all of these times with grace, acceptance and continuous learning happens naturally. You experience a freedom and a love that you may have never thought possible.

So on this Valentine’s Day I will be telling The One that lives deep inside of me how much I love and appreciate her. Without her, my life would be empty.

About Suzanne Jones

Sue Jones, Founder and Executive Director of yogaHope has practiced yoga for over 15 years and is a leading voice in the subject of mind body practices for self regulation and personal empowerment. For the last six years Sue has trained, inspired and lead hundreds of volunteer yoga teachers who have donated their time in substance abuse rehabilitation centers, domestic abuse safe houses and homeless shelters for women. She dedicates much of her time to researching the effects of yoga and mindfulness practices on survivors of trauma and those suffering from traumatic stress response. Sue’s life and work have been profiled in Yoga Journal, The New York Times, Shape Magazine, Body + Soul Magazine, Martha Stewart Whole Living Magazine and on CNN Headline News.

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93 Responses to “How to Find the One.”

  1. David says:

    I agree with the essay. It still isn't easy – and I sometimes wonder what chance anyone has of happiness with another person – even if one is aware of the philosophy / approach here. Who is the 'I' who asks 'who am I'? And who is the other – whether it is the 'One' or not.

  2. Ken says:

    "You abuse your marriage to expect it to 'make you happy'. A pet dog is a wonderful thing, but it is poor transportation to ride it to work every day."
    The the therapist concluded the session with me – "It's only a marriage. It isn't your life." That was one of the clearest and most useful statements to come my way in months of individual and couple's therapy.

  3. nifflersghost says:

    I always love the insights you harvest from a broken relationship. I am trying to do the same thing — if something grows from that scorched earth, something new, it was all worthwhile.

  4. Alexa says:

    Thank you thank you thank you for this piece!!! It hit home. <3

  5. mrchokeys says:

    In the category of "careful what you wish for," you may even find you soul mate, potentially the worst thing that can happen to you. Good Story!

  6. Lou says:

    thank you. am feeling similarly pretty early on too. i need to listen! thanks xx

  7. Fiona Grogan says:

    Beautiful article and so eloquently articulated……. an invitation for self reflection as it resonated deeply……….. Attributing the title "the one" to someone else negates any self-responsibility and is a projection of responsibility onto the "other" to fit into the role and definitions of how intimate partners "should" be. It implies a separateness a "needyness" and is objectifying, compounding self-limiting beliefs………which are all the "heavy", "cold" stone building blocks of an arid, dry and toxic "somethingness" However when we are at one with self, we transmute an energy, an extension of self as an invitation to co-create a fecund, lush,landscape of togetherness through love…………………………………………..

  8. Elien says:

    Thank you, Sue, for this article. I just came out of a very similar relationship and it reminded me of everything I learned last year, and reinforced it, which is just what I needed. I wanna frame the three lessons and hang them on the wall to remember me to never ignore my intuition again and to always believe in myself. To Brent: Your comment nailed it!

  9. I totally get it. As I was reading your story Suzanne, I relived one of my own. It wasn’t as long as yours but it happened.

    Much love to you.

  10. barismumyakmaz says:

    Beautiful and very insightful. Wish I read it 10 years ago.

  11. Justin says:

    Sue, this is beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing your experience.

  12. beth says:

    thanks so much for this read, it really spoke to me. sorry for that crazy person writing all those comments- i think your article is very well spoken, and it can be such a vulnerable situation to share your story. so again thank you. love and light.

  13. Lady Lorelie says:

    I feel like you've very elegantly expressed the same lessons I have learned. Navigating the boundaries of their happiness and my own was very tricky. Looking back, I see how my self esteem and self worth slowly dissipates as I bowed to his dragon in the name of love and compromise. I learned forgiveness and certainly learned to love and honor myself first. Thanks for this article.

  14. ladyhawk87 says:

    I feel like i learnt a valuable lesson just about now.

  15. Shirley says:

    Beautifully said. I can totally relate.

  16. Xochi says:

    He was GAY, a no brainer, I've been there too. Thankfully, you finally escaped.

  17. Stef says:

    This is perfect. Thank you Sue.

  18. Johnk692 says:

    Thanks a bunch for sharing this with all of us you actually realize what you’re talking approximately! Bookmarked. Kindly also visit my web site . We will have a hyperlink exchange arrangement among us! keekekcfdake

  19. Tom says:

    Thanks so much for writing this, best article I've read on here. I had a very intense, short term relationship with someone that was similar in emotions and experience to this. It's great to read of someone else's experience and perspective, and makes me not feel alone.

  20. Mark Lee says:

    Sorry that’s a bit of a pointless article in my humble opinion. ‘The one’ is probably defined as someone who understands the real value of relationships, respect, honesty, truth, communication. Sounds like he clearly wasn’t ‘the one’ but that doesn’t mean ‘the one’ doesn’t exist. Depends on your perspective of course. But that’s mine.

  21. Paul says:

    I love you.

  22. hayati says:

    thank you for sharing this, i dated an older guy who points out all my flaws, he is trying to change me while im there being obedient to whatever he said, it is sad to hear that from the one u most look your days through but for my recovery i manage well, thank u again reading your post i feel touched and related

  23. karen says:

    If I didn't know better, I would think *I* wrote this. It is exactly my story as well.

  24. Annonymous says:

    Simply…thank you…for bearing your soul and for shining an often misguided light.

  25. Lotus says:

    Thank you Suzanne. What you've shared in this article is transcendent. I really needed to read this and thank you so much for putting your story, heartache, and hard won lessons out for others to understand the complexities of manipulative relationships that force a higher self awareness in the most painful of ways. I'm so happy you attained enlightenment in such a devastating situation, because most people would let the fear trap and bind them to the tortuous situation and allow themselves to die inside. You attained priceless knowledge and are choosing to share it with the rest of us. I needed it, because every little bit helps… so thank you. :)

  26. Lan4 says:

    Thank you so much. Ditto from all the comments above.

  27. bewilderness says:

    Sounds like you married a narcissist. They'll eat your soul if you're not careful.

  28. Suzanne Jones Sue says:

    I love that my article was a flag to help you along your path. That really helps understand that writing about my experiences has a purpose. Thank you for telling me xoxoxo

    sue

  29. Hector V. Barrientos-Bullock Harleigh Quinn says:

    Also, there is not ONE mention of any attempt by you to make amends, apologize for anything you may have done, or make restitution, which would absolve you from any wrongdoing on your part, and thus place the onus entirely upon him.
    Thus even the "double life" mentioned could actually be a narcissistic projection.
    My wife told me she walked out on her ex. After speaking with him and KNOWING HE WAS NOT LYING, I learned she had been lying the entire time.

    Yes, I know this type all too well, so please forgive me if I only see this as a well designed narcissistic projection yet again.

  30. Hector V. Barrientos-Bullock Harleigh Quinn says:

    Why do I mention any of this?

    Because your article seems to be the exact opposite of what Patanjali intended with yoga.

    You may have been justified by the fact that he led a double life, but I did not so where is my wife's justification?
    I went to work, sometimes for 24 hours a day and meanwhile she spent everything on LuLu lemon and personal pursuits.
    In our relationship she had the best clothes and the best car always and I always had nothing except the heel of her boot, which is why we never traveled and why her taking my dreams of traveling is so much more a slap in the face.
    She took everything I had to give her, said I was at fault, then took even more.

    And even after all of this, demanded forgiveness while offering no apology or restitution, and when I refused decided, childishly, that because she would not be allowed to have her way WITH me, then I was of no consequence.
    She hasn't even taken any of the money she took to file for a divorce.

    If she read this article she would feel justified in her actions.

    That is how misleading it is.

  31. Hector V. Barrientos-Bullock Harleigh Quinn says:

    There is no mention of what you did. There is no mention that maybe he was correct and you did not really know compassion or what it is like to be in a marriage.

    There is only "He made me feel bad and eventually I didn't care" without the possibility that maybe he was valid in how he felt.

    I have seen MANY in the last year doing exactly what you have described, my wife included, and I have been from the outside looking in and realized over 90 percent of these people just want excuses to be irresponsible and use things such as yoga, or buddhism or "impermanence" as catch all excuses for such action.

    This is everything I cannot stand in the New age spirituality movement of today.

    Self absorbed narcissistic pursuits swaddled in the blanket we call yoga or buddhism or spirituality.

    There was nothing objective about this. It was more "Lifetime" drama ego masturbation and nothing more.

    I am actually very disappointed to see such an article on elephant journal.

  32. Hector V. Barrientos-Bullock Harleigh Quinn says:

    Actually, narcissist are very skilled a mirroring. Their personalities are not their own, but an amalgam of those they wished to emulate.
    Eckhart Tolle is a narcissist. He is skilled at mirroring.
    And your prescription, though it may be the best practice, will only exacerbate the issue, as narcissism has become not only epidemic, but pandemic in society. It will be nearly impossible to NOT have to interact with a narcissist. It is nearly impossible now. It is an accepted social norm (thank reality TV for that one….)
    Also, that prescription can just as well be used by the antagonist against the protagonist. Believe me. I know this all too well. And they feel justified in that, if for no other reason than they do not have to be responsible for their actions toward those they hurt and can still seem the victim in the process.

    Yes, a narcissist could easily have regurgitated those three rules and the "one's self" mantras, just as many narcissists have regurgitated dharma and made millions in book deals and speaking engagements by doing so.

    I will include my Facebook here as it further illustrates why this bothers me and what has been written would take to long and too much space to reiterate here (as well as be out of context) :
    http://www.facebook.com/shivabodhidharma/posts/17

  33. Hector V. Barrientos-Bullock Harleigh Quinn says:

    If someone IS selfish, displayed over and over again, and every nice way of attempting to confront this is done, and they still ignore it, that is not emotional abuse, it is a statement of FACT.
    MY wife would not let someone, a friend left out in the cold, literally, sleep on our couch for a night, but would raid anyones refrigerator when she entered their home.
    In YOUR (and her view) my finally stating after years of this that she is selfish is "name calling".
    That is a narcissists attempt at reversal. It is an interesting tool of how the aggressor has now suddenly become the victim through use of words.
    For years my wife had a Honda S2000 that I paid for half of. I drove a 1991 Honda civic hatchback that was on her insurance for a better rate. When I and a tow truck driver were nearly killed in an accident (we had a blow out and I broke the lug nuts getting the wheel off the vehicle. AAA was called, the car was well in the shoulder yet a semi struck my driver's side door that was closed around me, hitting the tow truck driver with it, flinging him back on the bed of his truck. I immediately called 911, though I could have been killed, took the tow truck driver that was 3 times my size and pulled him further into the side of the road, wrapping hymn in a blanket that was in the car, all by myself while she just stood there) and the insurance came back for the vehicle, she took the $1,700 gotten and spent it on….HERSELF. I never saw a dime or got another car, even though it was my car and I had paid for it.
    But that's not selfish, is it?
    You are coddling someone that has all the earmarks of a narcissistic and borderline personality disorder crying for sympathy, which is a tool of these disorders, with the above comment.
    Feeding a limitless ego, as those disorders are "ego diseases".
    I do not mean to be confrontational, but I have issue with the constant coddling of people that actually fit the descriptions placed upon them but look for validation to state they are not that description from strangers that do not actually know them.

    As my relationship ended I was being told by people that knew my wife for less than a year how much they knew her, while I had dealt with her constant, usually PUBLIC abuse, for TEN years and obviously know her inside out.

    I feel you can see the imbalance of this view.

  34. Suzanne Jones Sue says:

    Harliegh,
    It is clear that you have lot of anger in you :( While I don't feel the need to explain or defend myself I would like to just say that I thank you for the opportunity to find compassion for someone as angry as yourself. I really do appreciate the opportunity and I sincerely hope can find some ease in your suffering.

    blessings,
    sue

  35. Hector V. Barrientos-Bullock Harleigh Quinn says:

    I only just mentioned “projection”, “mirroring” and “narcissistic reversal” in my previous comments and here they appear again.
    Also the attempted use of the “love mask” and the “serenity mask”.
    The emoticons at the end of statements? Narcissisic manipulation to make the actual aggressor seem “cute” and not dangerous. To make the actual victimizer a victim in the eyes of others.
    Also notice the immediate attempe to paint the “offending” party in a negative light, while ignoring valid statements of fact. That story and it’s details were included for a reason: to see how you would respond. You ignored all other responses, but when on came up that made someone look better than you in your eyes you HAD to respond to attempt to “smack down” someone who could in no way look better than YOU.

    I spent a decade with someone JUST LIKE YOU.

    I can see it from a mile or more away.

    Thank you.

    You assisted in helping me prove who the narcissist was in your relationship and who was at fault and the fact you should be offering advice to NO ONE until you actually succeed in getting over yourself.

    My only complaint is that people such as yourself and the toxic “oprah style advice” you pollute the world with, has made the narcissism epidemic a PANDEMIC.

    And to be honest, I’d rather not have to seclude myself in a monastery to escape it. I would instead address the instigators in a hope it can be quelled AT THE SOURCE.

  36. Ben Ralston Ben_Ralston says:

    "Eckhart Tolle is a narcissist".

    That might be the funniest 5 words I have every read in my entire life. Classic

  37. Hector V. Barrientos-Bullock Harleigh Quinn says:

    In his five disk CD set he says he was a banker, but quit his job and sat on a park bench for two years.
    The buddha story says that he was being groomed for royalty (ad lib) and he shunned that and sat under the bodhi tree for thee days.

    Are we not seeing a similarity here?

    Maybe if he had equated himself to jesus christ and his origin story it might become more apparent?

    So he has utilized the self help public speaker formula to gain monetary satisfaction as well as egoic satisfaction, while telling everyone the ego is bad, and money and the want of it is bad, all while preaching a defanged version of buddhism that solves nothing, as the actual difficult parts have been removed for mass consumption (to feel more books, speaking arrangements, etc…)
    Not to mention close friends [of his] have stated concern in the fact he seems hypocritical in what he is teaching versus how he is living.

    Yes, I will definitely stand by my statement, funny five words or not.

  38. Cassie says:

    I didn't mean to dislike your comment, darn phone. I loved it and agree with you completely. I was only with the person telling my intuition was wrong for 6 years before I realized how very manipulative he was. I can't imagine 20+ and yes, this article needs to be read by everyone. Just wanted to let ya know about the "dislike" and namaste. <3

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