Why I'm No Longer Looking For The One
Our culture is completely obsessed with this narrative that ‘one day’ you’ll find ‘the one’ and then everything else will fit into place. Being single is seen as just a waiting game of sorts; not something desirable in itself, and certainly not something anyone would choose on purpose. There are endless reality shows on TV that subscribe to this view; from First Dates to Love Island, as well as most storylines in Hollywood. Needless to say, the romantic ideal portrayed in the media is often very damagingly narrow (e.g. slim, white, straight, cis, young, able-bodied).
It seems to be an unchallenged truth in the backs of so many people’s minds that this is what you do; you find the right person, fall in love and that’s the search over and you can live happily ever after.
“If this whole romantic idea works for some, then that’s genuinely great. What’s important is that each person knows what feels right for them. As for me, I am enjoying my life as a single non-dating person.“
I don’t subscribe to this romanticised ideal. Relationships and break-ups have been triggers for some of my most broken states of being and in this last year of being single I have found true stability and happiness alone. Right now, I am not risking that FOR ANYTHING. It’s not just me who has had this experience. I have seen countless people close to me completely destroyed by break-ups or toxic relationships. In some ways, it can be a natural part of life to build yourself back up again after heartbreak. Love can be a beautiful experience even with all the ups and downs and heartbreak holds valuable lessons. But I can’t help thinking that so many of us may end up in damaging relationships or repeatedly going back to an ex who wasn’t right because of the fear of being alone rather than because of it being good for our wellbeing. There’s an obsession with ‘fighting for love’ thanks to that one-sided narrative in pop culture, and in cultures worldwide.
If we could love without the addictive level of attachment that is often pushed as the true meaning of love then I feel like there’d be so much less drama when it comes to relationships. Loving someone for who they are without putting expectations on it lasting forever seems a lot more realistic, and actually more enjoyable, to me than finding ‘the one’ and NEVER letting go.
My mental health and emotional wellbeing are the most important things to me and I am going to protect them. Even when I’ve been clear about this in my current choice to stay single there’s still those knowing looks and comments like ‘oh but you can’t close your heart to love’ or ‘when the right person comes along, it’ll all change!’ I already have a lot of love in my life and I’m very open to love and platonic intimacy. I also already have a lot of the ‘right people’ in my life. Romantic love is not the only love that matters and it is certainly not the only type of love that brings fulfilment.
Another thing I have heard often said to single people is ‘the perfect man/woman is out there, you’ll find him/her.’ Not only is it generally assumed that everyone has this ultimate goal of finding a partner and needs reassuring that it WILL happen, it is also assumed that it’ll be someone of the opposite sex even if the person they’re speaking to has never explicitly said they are heterosexual.
My whole life is not one quest for a relationship and I know plenty of happily single people who feel the same. If it happens, it happens, but I’m busy focusing on me right now. I barely have time to balance all my own creative projects, studies, career, wellbeing activities and social life. A partner would just get in the way at the minute.
Another assumption often made about being single is that investing in yourself is for the benefit of being ‘ready’ for a relationship. It can be assumed that you work hard to be in a good place specifically for the goal of meeting someone and being a more desirable partner. I nurture my relationship with myself because it feels good, not because I want to appear more attractive to anyone else. I regularly buy myself flowers or take myself out on solo dates and I love it.
I also don’t understand this whole concept of being with someone forever. How can anyone possibly know that with certainty when in life anything could happen? Maybe one day I’ll suddenly change my mind but right now I have quite a practical view of relationships, you just never know what might happen. However, when I’ve been in serious relationships in the past, I’ve been completely unable to accept when they’re over even though I didn’t expect them to last forever in the first place. I realise this is a bit of a contradiction but that’s a work in progress and a whole other story!
I’m impressed by people who can do non-monogamy and have multiple partners with open communication, interacting with all of their loves in different ways and everyone is cool with it or talks about it if they’re not. The whole thing is based on open communication. There are so many ways to relate to other people or yourself. Some people are asexual and have romantic relationships which aren’t sexual. Others are in a monogamous relationship with one person. Others have multiple sexual partners but don’t want a relationship. Some people are happy celibate and single. The list goes on. Just because the media is dominated by one narrative does not mean to say it is the only story worth sharing.
I am happy for everyone who has found love. I am pleased for those who believe in happy ever after and being together forever. I am all for it if someone is single and ready to mingle. If this whole romantic idea works for some, then that’s genuinely great. What’s important is that each person knows what feels right for them. As for me, I am enjoying my life as a single non-dating person. I would love to see this celebrated for the wonderful thing that it is in its own right, instead of being constantly seen as a lonely temporary state of being; one that exists only before finally achieving happiness thanks to finding ‘the one’.