If you’re looking to get laid, go out and get laid. This article isn’t for you. It’s for those out there, of any gender or sexual preference, looking to discover what’s colloquially referred to as “the one,” which we’ll define here as “a romantic partner with whom you share similar hopes, dreams, and values. Someone you love, who loves you, and with whom you would like to build some sort of future together.” Sound okay?
Great, let’s begin.
There’s no such thing as “the one.”
If you haven’t figured this out already, now’s the time. Peel back your shoulders. Lift your chin. That ugly-beautiful, smart-dull, funny-boring person staring back at you is the one you’re stuck with for the rest of your life. The one you’re searching for is the human in the mirror. So begin by getting to know yourself—intimately.
What are your likes and dislikes? What are your goals and values? Do you have goals and values? Do you even like yourself? The answer to many of these questions is probably “yes-and-no.” On Tuesday, you might wake up hungover and question every decision that’s ever led you to that cold, bare mattress with that warm, hairy stranger beside you; his limp dick like a little arrow pointed straight at your heart, his snores whispering, “Look…see…you’re disgusting…you’re pathetic.” And on Wednesday, as the sun breaks through the crack in your curtains, you might roll out of bed, check yourself out in the mirror, and say: “Fuck yeah, you sexy fuck.”
The point is, if you’re interested in finding “the one,” you should start by learning to love yourself. Which doesn’t mean stroking your ego. It means managing your self-talk, discovering your interests, and answering questions like: who am I? What do I want? And what is my purpose on this planet?
You could also try masturbating, vigorously, to thoughts and images you find appealing, taking note of your fantasies for a later date, when you get to explore said fantasies with another human being.
Also, make friends (if that’s your thing). Or take up crocheting, or ice hockey. The more aware you are of your likes and dislikes, the better you know yourself, the more you know what lines you’re willing to cross or not cross, the clearer you get on the direction you’d like to head, the more likely you are to bump into a partner who can walk a path beside you, support you, and love you for a very, very long time.
You already know if you’re into them or not, and if you’re not, they’re not the one.
Let’s assume you’re in a relationship and that it’s going pretty good. He likes corn chips, you like corn chips. She likes spending time with you but also gives you space. He’s handsome and funny and happy to go down on you.
Now, take a deep breath. Ask yourself:
Do I even like this person? Do I love them? If I were stranded on a deserted island and could choose only three people to accompany me, would this person be one of them?
If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” they’re not the one. David Bowie is dead (sorry to say), so you can’t bring him to your deserted island, and long-term relationships, for all intents and purposes, require someone with whom you enjoy spending ridiculous amounts of time, whom you can trust to help feed and clothe you when the going gets tough, and with whom, after many a day under the hot, hot sun, you wouldn’t mind seeing naked in all their wrinkly glory.
Likewise, if the answer is “I don’t know,” then they’re either not “the one,” or you’re not quite ready for “the one.” Think of your love as you would a deli pickle. You either like them or you don’t. You know if you’ll like them in the future. When they arrive in front of you, you don’t sit there wondering if they serve a purpose in your life. You either crunch into them with vigor, or leave them wilting on the side of your plate beside a few stray fries.
Uncertainty is a veil we often hide behind to mask a simple truth: eating something we don’t really like is better than going hungry, and being with someone we don’t really love is easier than being alone.
But remember, you don’t have to break up with your partner if they’re not “the one.” You can easily string them along for another, say, eighteen months or so. Keep your eyes open when they lean in to kiss you, so you can check out the surfy kid with the six-pack who could be “the one,” or the bleach blonde girl with the bleached white smile, who could also be the one. Hide your true feelings and true intentions. Or, if you’re up for the challenge, stop acting like a scared, selfish asshole and start communicating how you really feel.
Either way, if you’re looking to find “the one,” it’s important that you start being honest. So man up, or woman up, or transgender up, and figure your shit out. Lying to yourself and others isn’t helping anyone.
You already know if they’re into you or not, and if they’re not, they can go fuck themselves.
This subject is more difficult to address, because people, in general, have a pretty low regard for themselves. But here’s the truth: you deserve to be loved by the person you love, and if that person doesn’t love you, they can fuck off.
Let’s say that again, in the first person: I deserve to be loved by the person I love, and if that person doesn’t love me, they can fuck off.
You’re not unworthy of love and you’re not dumb. You’re an emotionally competent human being with a certain number of senses that can ascertain whether your partner is into you, or just toying with you until they find someone they believe better suits them. You don’t have to settle for a glorified fuck boy or a tepid philanderer. Make babies if you want to make babies. Single parents are some of the strongest people on the planet. But do not settle for someone who doesn’t love you. And you know if they love you or not.
You know that someone who won’t drive across the city to see you, or won’t sleep with you when you drive across the city, or seems embarrassed to be seen with you in public, or can’t be honest when you ask what their intentions are, is not in love with you.
You know what you want out of a relationship and you know whether or not you’re getting it. If you’re not getting it, you’re either not communicating clearly or they’re not “the one.”
Trust your instincts. If you suspect your partner is cheating on you, they’re probably cheating on you. If you suspect that they’d leave you at the drop of a hat, dump them.
Stop wasting your time chasing men or women who have one foot out the door. Confront them about it. If they balk or stutter or freak out, if you can’t get a straight answer, leave. Because you already know what’s going to happen: they’re going to leave you as soon as they find someone else. Stop being a placeholder for the person they’re looking for. Stop wasting your life.
If you’ve think you’ve found “the one,” go all in.
So you found her? You found him? You found it? Congratulations! I, too, am a lovesick, delusional puppy who has been through all the steps noted above, and am now committed to a lifetime with a single pair of lips, a single set of legs, and one beautiful, effervescent sex organ.
We’re new on this road together, so I’ve been asking happy, older couples, who have what I want, how they do it. What’s the trick to maintaining your relationship? Any advice? The men generally say different versions of the same thing: “Make your relationship a priority,” “Don’t take anything for granted,” or, commonly, “Happy wife, happy life.” The women are a little more nuanced. “Be honest with each other,” they tell us. “Things will get difficult, there’s a lot of ups and down, but always remain kind to one another. Don’t make each other the enemy. Be a team. Talk things out.” I’ve also overheard, “Don’t try to change him.” My personal favorite is from my fiance’s 93-year-old grandmother:
“A spoonful of honey goes a lot further than a spoonful of lemon juice.”
All I know, based on 32 years of experience, a few serious relationships, and a whole lot of conversations, is that once you’re in, you’re in. There are no half-measures when it comes to loving “the one.” There’s no pussyfooting around the love you feel for your partner. I tell her that I love her. I tell her how important she is to me. And while I’m aware that giving up on certain things, like hopes, dreams, or my sense of self, is a mistake, I’m also aware that, aside from those things, what I have is hers, and what she has is mine. We’re a partnership. A disgustingly cheesy, belligerently happy partnership. So wish us luck, and we’ll do the same for you.