If you’re here for the short answer, I’ll give it to you straight: No, I don’t think there’s really such a thing as ‘The One.”
That said, I’m not here to smash anyone’s dreams of Prince Charming someday riding in on his white steed/mule/donkey. If you have that mentality about finding love, then all I can say is good luck, I admire your innocence and try not to get hurt out there.
But for the rest of us pragmatics…let’s think about this idea a bit more.
Firstly, with the insane amount of people on this planet, I think it likely that there are probably hundreds of people out there that you could potentially fall in love with. Maybe only 50 of those would pan out into long term relationships but my point is that we have choices. That essentially is what dating is about right? If Bob isn’t treating you right, you have the knowledge that you can dump his butt and get back out there. Plenty of fish in the sea. Or as Beyonce put it, “I can have another you by tomorrow, so don’t you ever think for a minute you’re irreplaceable.”
We’ve fallen in love with this idea of finding “The One” because it buys into the idea that we are all individual, special beings with the perfect soulmate out there, just waiting to find us. I also blame Disney plot lines for this mindset. (It’s okay, Disney, you’ve gotten much better with time.)
But I think maybe the truth is, we can have several “The One’s” in our lifetime. You essentially choose “The One”; they don’t exist until you decide that’s what they are. And even then, I believe one day maybe they stop being “The One.” For example, what happens to people who were once madly in love and now are fighting over child custody rights? People who spend 30 years together, only to file for divorce?
It all comes down to choice. We, as humans, have an amazing capacity for love and I think we diminish our worth when we tell each other that there’s only one person, one soulmate for us out there, and that we are less than we are if we don’t find him/her/it/them. We are whole as we are, and love isn’t something that can be or should be limited to one person. Choosing a person is special enough, because you’re showing that of all the fish in the sea, they’re the one you want a future with.