August 12, 2015

Why I Never Want to Be “The One.”

 woman alone beach

Caution: adult language below! 


I just came across the (popular) elephant journal article To the Women who are Never “The One.”

I’m not going to sugarcoat my feelings here: it pissed me off.

In it, the author goes through a list of five reasons why we (women) should take a good hard look at ourselves to figure out why we aren’t finding our “One” (man).

With all due respect to the author, I believe she’s missing the point.

Actually, she’s missing many points.

The article offers a list of why we need to examine ourselves to figure out what we are doing to make this happen, the implication being that we (“women”) really only have ourselves to blame for the fact that we haven’t yet found a life partner.

Since it’s our own fault that we are never “the One,” then making this happen is entirely up to us. Not once does she address the entire life situation of the reader, let alone the situation of their would-be partner.

The way that she links our need to be independent with not “relying” on men is a bit dated—I’m pretty sure that we can do both. We can let our lovers be our “heroes” at some point or another, but that in the end this doesn’t have a ton to do with long-term partnership. A long term partnership has to do more with interdependence than whether a man is her “hero,” at the outset. A great long term relationship is most likely created out of the practice and work of both parties, not some set of heroic gestures.

She also alludes to women who “think we’re more like a guy” and then that “we think women are manipulative.” Yes I’ve been that “cool chick” and known lots of them—but guess what? Neither of these things really have to do with finding a partner. Lots of women who identify with behaviour that is traditionally male have partners. The point is that we are either open to love or not.

If we are going around thinking that other women are manipulative, this is a whole other ball of wax that we should probably look into whether we are single or not.

We don’t need to be perfect to have love or make it. But we probably need to practice dropping judgement and drama in order to experience some solid love.

To her point about how “we think we’re different:”

Well, actually yeah I’m different. I’m different in that the thought of settling into a life long relationship that is not happy or satisfying or healthy scares the crap out of me.

I don’t think this is a bad thing.

Here’s a novel idea: maybe we really don’t need “the One.”

Imagine the possibility that not having or finding this person could actually be—well, great, instead of sad? It sounds sad because society tells us that it is—but it doesn’t have to be sad!

Relationships shift and sway. People move and travel and change. Heck, even sexual preference and romantic orientation are flexible for some folks. Many people (men and women and other identities) of us live (or want to life) alternative lifestyles that don’t fit into the nuclear family kind of norm.

This is just part of life as a single(ish) adult today.

What if we can really enjoy our lives and our love without tunnelling into this vision of fairytale romance? What if we choose to view the extra space that this offers as something that offers us more freedom to choose our lives and partners?

What if we are open to loving and living in different ways, thereby connecting with people in a natural way instead of pushing for it?

Do I want to be in a loving relationship? Of course I do.

Am I lonely sometimes? Hell yes.

Am I anti-monogamy? Not exactly.

But I also have a pretty strong intuition that boxing ourselves into this one way of doing relationships can be suffocating if not worse.

I’d love to find a solid life partner, but I’m not holding out for it. Nor do I assume that not having “that” is due to the fact that I suck.

It’s partly choice and partly circumstance.

Here are some reasons why I’m happy to step back and reframe:

1. Seeing ourselves.

When we’re already (maybe) a little lonely and thinking that there is something wrong with us, then we read an article that hammers this home even more…isn’t this kind of like pouring salt on a wound?

We need to practice self-reflection and personal growth without self-flagellation.

2. Understanding and accepting how our current life situation affects our relationships.

Preferences, hobbies, needs, obligations. We don’t always have room for a full time, monogamous relationship, and that’s okay. If a career or travel is what brings us the most joy and satisfaction, we should stick with that, and meet people along those paths of doing what we love.

3. Exploring different relationship structures.

This fits with #2: just because we don’t have time or energy to prioritize one person full time, it doesn’t mean we can’t have meaningful relationships, whether they are romantic/sexual in nature or not.

4. Having realistic expectations of the future.

Maybe we have a substantial commitment like the caretaking of elderly parents, going back to get a PhD or helping a friend to raise their kids. Ideally our life partner will be along for the ride no matter what. But let’s not forget that—especially for those of us who are a little older—they will likely have other substantial commitments too. In this way not only is it harder to find a partner, it’s harder to mesh schedules.

It’s about logistics, energy and resources just as much as actual love…getting to know one another takes time!

5. Knowing that I am not the center of the universe.

I had an ex tell me recently that “I was a really great girlfriend.” It was a compliment, but it pissed me off. It bothered me because what I really wanted to hear was “you are a really great person.”

To the extent that a focus on “the One” objectifies this other person (ie: a thing to fill a gap in life)—it also objectifies ourselves.

I don’t want to be anyone’s One and I don’t want to put this pressure on another person, either. I want to have an equal partnership.


The romantic notion that we are supposed to boil our entire world down towards a single other person (whether that’s them to us or us to them) is unrealistic and dangerous. It can work, but it seems to me like so many people have blinders on and then are surprised and deflated when they discover that the partner/relationship isn’t what they expected it to be during that initial haze of love.

Either waiting on or totally resisting this concept of “the One” are both ways of attaching to an idea that we are deeply conditioned into thinking our lives depend on. We think it’s the be all and end all, and that’s our main problem—no matter what our gender or sex or age or background or preferences are.

Maybe we there are just factors in our lives—both internal and extraneous—that aren’t really matched up to this quest for “the One.”

Maybe this lack of a perfect partner is pretty awesome—even miraculous—in it’s own way.

And maybe we and our (would-be) friends and lovers and lives are pretty great as is.



Why We will Never “Find” our Soulmates.

How to Love Better: Mindfulness in Relationships.




Author: Renée Picard

Image: Daria Nepriakhina Unsplash


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Anna Dec 19, 2015 11:29am

So, I’m not sure I want to ever be in a relationship again… But I want that to be my choice, not because I don’t know how to connect. And I don’t know how to connect. My exs have explained to me (some very eloquently, some I’m only understand now in retrospect) that they think it starts out very intensely and I’m something different, than I don’t connect deeper when they expect. I don’t know how to change that (but it is my thing to change, there is no magic man who will suddenly make it easy.) The original article was the first time anyone ever “agreed” with me about what was going on. I’m tired of people telling me it’s not me, and I guess that good relationship I was in here or there just wasn’t the magic “one.” That some magic man will suddenly read my mind and I won’t have to learn to connect better.

I don’t believe she can possibly touch upon anything about the reader or their exs in a peice, but like anything else in life you can discuss guidelines. In my job, when I prep someone for a job interview I don’t need to know too much about them or the person they are interviewing with. There are guidelines we as humans in western culture can use and learn, and I simply don’t see why we act like romantic relationships are any different that way from any sort of human interaction.

elephantjournal Aug 12, 2015 1:15pm

Great article Renee! Giving up on finding the one was a huge relief to me. So much happier since I stopped trying. 🙂 If it happens, it happens. If not, I'll be fine. 🙂 ~ Travis

Sherri Rosen Aug 12, 2015 1:09pm

Well said Renee. Thank you for getting pissed off at that writer's article. This such an intelligent a real way at looking life, love, ourselves. Bless you.

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Renée Picard

Renée Picard is a freelance writer and editor. She prefers real conversation over small talk, red over pink, ocean over mountains. She leads life with a soft-but-fierce heart. For her, writing has always been an instinct, a craft, a heart-thing.

For more, check out her personal blog or her Medium page. You can also follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.