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Does ‘the one’ really exist?

A few weeks ago I was wistfully looking out of the choo-choo train and I asked myself the very question that is in the title. I wasn’t thinking about whether true love exists or whether it is possible to meet that person but it was more of a thought about how likely it was that you would meet them.

It was a thought about basic maths.

There are what just over seven billion people in the world so that is a hell of a lot of people. Now obviously not all those people want a person of the opposite sex but just for the sake of this blog lets say that they do. So everyone is looking for ‘the one’ out of 3.5billion people. The odds of winning the Euromillions jackpot are 116million/1 and not many people win that and yet many many more people believe they have found their kindred spirit and the one that they were meant to be with. If we only take say the people within 10 years of us older and younger that would still be around 900million/1.

For the point of this blog I am assuming ‘the one’ is the perfect soul-mate and that there is only one for each of us.

If you are around my age and loved Sabrina: The Teenage Witch then you’ll remember the final ever episode where Sabrina found out that the man she was due to marry wasn’t the perfect match for her. He was a very close fit but Harvey was the one she was meant for. All very sweet but also asks the question about both the likelihood of her ideal match – in the world of the human race – went to school with her and also why couldn’t she be happy with someone who was nearly her ideal match?

I know it is only a TV programme but still.

To me it seems as though ‘the one’ could in fact be ‘many ones’ as we don’t get to meet everyone in the world in our lifetime. We’ll only ever meet the tiniest fraction of people who could in theory be our supposed life partner. In this modern day era we are exposed to more people through things like the internet and social media but still in all honesty an insignificant number. So how are we meant to find the one we are meant to be with when the odds are stacked so heavily against us ever doing so?

So either ‘the one’ doesn’t exist and instead we all find people that we enjoy spending time with and enrich our lives or as a race many of us defy the odds every single day and find the person that we are ‘meant’ to be with. I know which I think is the more likely.

There are a few people who meet someone and know straightaway and they are ‘the one’ or at the very least that they are head over heels in love. However even in these situations it is often just one half of the couple who know it there and then with the other realising later. My brother-in-law knew that my sister was the one for him the moment he sat eyes on her – seriously – and at that time it seemed highly unlikely but heck they’ll be celebrating 23 years of marriage in the autumn. I was talking to a friend of mine today who celebrated 16 years of wedded bliss to his partner yesterday and when he first met her (and fell in love with her) she was married to someone else. He cursed his luck that he didn’t meet her earlier but things change and he got his chance a couple of years later after the marriage ended.

Now some could say that these are examples of ‘love conquering all’ but I just think things happen and for every feel good story like the two above I am positive there are hundreds where two people who would have been very happy together missed getting together because of them wasn’t available at the right time etc.

One question I often ask myself in bed or on the loo or on the choo-choo or wherever I’m doing some thinking is ‘I wonder if the person I end up with (assuming of course I do end up in love and with someone) is someone I’ve already met or not?’ Will someone from my past return into my life? Will someone I’m friends or acquaintances with blossom into something more? Or will someone walk into my life at some future point? Will I know straightaway? Will it be a slow burner? There are so many questions and so few answers.

People talk about a ‘spark’ and I think the evidence is there that a ‘spark’ is real but most certainly isn’t something that means a long and fruitful relationship. A spark is different for every single person. I have had that ‘spark’ with just one person in 29 years. In the end we didn’t even have a date as she had other guys interested in her and she decided to go down that road with someone else. I have had *thinks* dates with I think seven women in the six years since. Not once have I felt that spark with any of them (although a couple I certainly was interested in seeing them again).

My point is a spark isn’t something that happens at the start of every successful relationship. I know people who think sparks need to fly from the very first moment otherwise there is no point. I don’t subscribe to that view. Not every relationship is like the movies no matter how much we would all like it to be.

Feelings ebb and flow and can develop over time and finding the right person for us all will mean many different things. If/when I find the right person I’ll no doubt gush over her and it’ll be a fantastic feeling. What it probably won’t be is me finding the perfect person for me. That is statistically an extreme long shot. What is far more likely is that I’ll have found someone whose life I enrich and who enriches my life to go with being in love. You don’t need to be with your ideal person to be in love with them. It is all about finding your perfect imperfection and when all find that then we are on to something.

As for the antiquated notion that there is someone for everyone are ideal partners well that’s hogwash. The odds on that are just too extreme. If we can find someone who in our own minds are perfect imperfection then we are all on to something good – no – on to something great.

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  1. neilmonnery neilmonnery

    Sanaa: I think you are right and that is how I see things. There will be several people throughout all our lives where love could genuine blossom and happiness can follow but it all depends on so many variables – not limited to timing and how hard both parties are willing to work.

    Stuart: As Sanaa has posted above (and I agree) we are all different in what we look for/what we need. Some need a spark and for some love can blossom in time. Some need hearts to pound and flutter straightaway but for others love can be a very different thing and is about happiness and security.

    You do whatever you feel is right for you. I have had people tell me that I should work harder to find someone and/or go with the flow more instead of thinking something isn’t right and extraditing myself from the situation. Personally I am more than open to a relationship but unless I see real potential very early then I’m unwilling to give up my lifestyle that I enjoy.

    So do whatever is right for you. That is the best advice I can give 🙂

  2. Stuart Stuart

    Very interesting article, Neil!

    I’ve always felt that I did find ‘the one’ or my soulmate. I met her at school when we were 9,there was always a spark and we entered into a relationship in our teens and broke up in our early 20s. She is the only person who I have loved in that way and continue to.

    A friend recently asked me why I hadn’t had a proper relationship in the years since (I’m now 31), and when I intimated that no one had measured up to my first GF, he suggested that it wasn’t healthy to be looking for the perfect partner and if everyone did the vast majority would end up alone. I think he makes a lot of sense and so does your article!

  3. Sanaa Sanaa

    Enjoy reading your blog as always Neil 🙂

    I think there are lots of ‘ones’ for each of us, but the test of how much it works or not is really how much you want it to. The best relationships are not easy they take a lot of effort and stress. I would always quote Kahlil Gibran ‘The deeper that sorrow carves into your soul the more joy it can contain’. Yes the worse you feel when you argue with a partner, the happier you are when times are great. It works both ways and makes life so hard!

    Everyone is different, some people need a spark immediately, some do not and like friendships that turn into relationships. We are all different, we are all wonderful and have the opportunity to have a number of soulmates in our life as long as we have faith.

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