When we are younger, looking for our soul mates, ready to run off into wedded bliss, most of us agree that we would not settle until we found 'the one'. The person we are supposed to be with forever. The other half of us. 'The One' is a mythical creature who was born to, as the movie says, 'complete us'. But now that we are divorced perhaps it is time we reassess what it means to be 'the one' or if there is really a 'one' out there for us. Because clearly 'the one' we found the first time was not 'the one'.
I know a couple men, men I have gone out with, who are singularly focused on finding 'the one'. While they go about it differently, both men seem to fall into the same trap each time. Their persistent search and crushing dismay made me start to wonder if there is one single person out there for each of us. Because it seems through my recent dating experiences, that every man I have met has some unique qualities and personality traits that intrigue and excite me. None of these men have everything I am looking for because if they did, well, I would probably just be dating myself. Which would be awesome but might get creepy when I took myself to dinner.
Now don't read me wrong. I am not saying I am so cynical that I don't believe in love. I am saying there might be many ones out there for each of us. But the question becomes how to recognize that one when they arrive in your life. Post-divorce we all have all created a set of criteria we want to find in our next partner. Most of that criteria, not surprisingly, is exactly the opposite of our former spouse. But is there one person that encompasses our entire wish list or do we need to bend and be flexible? These men that inspired me to think about this concept approach this idea very differently.
The first of these men throws out a wide net and whomever he ensnares he falls in love with instantly. He spends an intense few days with the woman, citing all her wonderful attributes, spending 48 hours in a row with her and then is totally flabbergasted when it ends. These intense mini-relationships are full of lust and desperation. Each time he tells me how he has found the woman he is going to spend the rest of his life with and each time I smile and nod, knowing this will not be the case. Because once he gets to know the woman suddenly he realizes she isn't the one he thought she was and it ends. But to his credit, he throws that net out again. Will he find the one? Not sure. He will find 'a' one. Yes. Again and again. He is a good man and I really do hope that some woman slows him down and takes her time with him.
The second man is striving for some sort of perfection that probably does not exist. His list of wants and needs are extensive and overwhelming. Good enough is not for him. But again this man suffers from the instant decision. Right away, upon meeting a woman, he decides she is the one. Of course upon getting to know her this initial blush of sureness weakens and he finds faults in her that he couldn't possibly live with and thus must move on. The irony of course is that this man is not without his faults and is by no means perfect and yet he expects perfection. It is a vicious cycle. And so he continues to look for his one and continues to push aside wonderful women because they don't hit every check box.
So the question then is, in this big world, how could there possibly be only one person for each of us. And how depressing to think that there is only one. If I go by my check list of what I want in a partner, I may alienate and miss out on some truly wonderful men, who perhaps bring something to my life I didn't even know I needed. If I toss my list and open my heart could I invite in ones who were not what I thought I wanted but end up being what I really needed? If I eat the sushi every day, how will I know if I like Italian? Sure I could put sushi on my must have list but damn if that pasta isn't also delicious. I do thank both these men for opening my eyes to the fact that there is a whole world of men out there and that I don't have to be constrained by what I thought was my list of must haves. Rather I should allow myself to explore the options of what I didn't know I needed. And perhaps with that attitude I will find my 'one'. Because after all I am divorced and single.