Forget, “The One”: How to stop waiting for the perfect person and make a love that actually lasts
Just because I work as a sex and relationship coach, doesn’t mean that relationships were something that came easily to me. HA! That thought alone makes me laugh and I’ll tell you why.
I talk openly about suffering with severe M.E./C.F.S. for years in my late teens and early twenties. It was a long road to recovery that is the topic for a whole book in itself, but it was a key influence in how I learned to love.
10 years ago when I was just starting to recover, I started venturing into the world of love, relationships, and sex. I was a late bloomer and didn’t have my first proper boyfriend until I was 22.
I’d been desperately sick since the age of 14 and had been in and out of hospital and care homes. Thus, I missed out on a huge part of my emotional and psychological development that teenagers usually go through.
The teenage kisses and “firsts”. The nervous preparing for the first date at the cinema and obsessing over what t-shirt to wear and how to do my hair, The waiting for boys to text me back and spending hours on the phone with girlfriends picking it all apart.
All of this I missed because the only thing that mattered was whether I was going to be confined to a bed for the rest of my life.
Yet, despite being desperately sick for so long, I knew that the one thing I wanted aside was getting better, was to be LOVED.
Loved by my soulmate, to find a home in someone’s heart, to be adored.
Once I started to recover and venture out into the world again, this deep wound of feeling so unlovable and vulnerable left me exposed to feeling the whole range of experience in dating and sex!
I can’t say I did it all, but I certainly learned my fair share. From dalliances with much older men (who should have known better), chasing after men who clearly weren’t interested, getting involved with men who wouldn’t fully commit, confusing hookups that left me in an emotional mess, and then rejecting some really good men because I felt they weren’t, “The One”.
Without a doubt, the thing that has caused the most stress and heartbreak in my life aside from chronic illness has been love and relationships.
And what I believe caused the most suffering in all of this was being hung up on the idea of “The One”.
You know what I mean.
From romantic movies, Walt Disney, novels, TV shows, and most importantly, the spiritual consumerist machine that convinces vulnerable people to part with their cash to buy books or programs that guarantee you will manifest THE ONE/Your soulmate/Twin Flame, if only you just try a bit harder and say more affirmations.
You’ve probably tried that already, haven’t you? You made vision boards, you’ve prayed, you’ve read, “The Secret”, you’ve made space. You’ve gone on workshops to open your heart and learn to connect with others. Maybe you’ve dabbled in the world of tantra too?
And yet, you still feel dissatisfied and lonely.
Esther Perel, a renowned couples and cross-cultural therapist talks about this phenomenon often in her work. Having worked with many couples from many different cultures, she said that she noticed something peculiar about western (meaning American and British), attitudes towards love and relationships.
Our problem is that we expect our partners to be everything. And we are seriously obsessed with finding, “True Love”.
We are hung up with this idea that we will meet this perfect person who will magically complete us and be everything. They will be our best friend, ultimate lover, closest confidante, and complete complement.
We’ll just “know” when we meet them, there will be an instant connection, and we will be compatible in every way.
And this is one of the biggest stumbling blocks that will set you up for romantic failure, trust me.
While the idea of “The One” may be romantic, I believe it’s incredibly dangerous and will guarantee you a lifetime of disappointment.
You’ll soon find that when you are so obsessed with finding “The One”, nobody will ever match up to that. You’ll bump from relationship to messy relationship, carrying your emotional baggage that will get heavier and heavier.
When you do find somebody that you feel right with, you’ll soon get fed up with them once you see their flaws and feel disillusioned.
I see this in so many people I know and in my clients.
Should you give up on love? Does that mean you’re destined for a life of being lonely and unfulfilled forever?
NO! Humans are literally made to be in intimate relationships with each other, it’s how we evolved and how we bond.
You just need to shift the goalposts and most importantly, let people be human.
Here’s what you can do to create the right conditions for a loving relationship:
1. Stop looking for the perfect person right now, because believe me, they do not exist. It doesn’t matter if they’ve done every workshop and training after the sun and how many letters they have after their name. It doesn’t matter if they are a renowned teacher or even a relationship expert.
Yes, even that person who has a huge YouTube or Instagram following, who’s published books, and teaches at retreats. I guarantee you that they will be flawed, and their ex-partners will have interesting stories to tell you. (As a side note, it’s usually the people that end up working with relationships or in the world of healing, therapy, or personal development that have the most emotional baggage.
Why do you think we got into this work in the first place?!
Instead, get clear on your core values and non-negotiables. It can help to either work with a coach or do some journaling on what you really need to feel secure, and what is the cherry on top.
2. Start learning how to love and embrace the accept imperfections in everyone. Take your guru off the pedestal and remember that everybody messes up.
Nobody has everything sorted, and the most ethical teachers, therapists, coaches, and practitioners will be the first to acknowledge that.
The more you can embrace other people’s mess, the more you forgive yourself for yours.
3. Remember that at some point in your relationship, your partner will trigger the hell out of you, and you, them. Usually, this trigger will be completely unexpected and will force you to confront who you think you are as a person. You will question why you are with them and question if you made the right choice. While it may feel like the end, this is actually perfect because this is where the juice lies!
4. Forget how enlightened, woke, or developed you think you are. Forget how much therapy, coaching, or development you’ve had before. A relationship is a crucible that can bring up your deepest fears and leave you behaving like a screaming toddler again. Embrace it and embrace your vulnerability.
5. Remember that the reason we choose our romantic partners is usually unconscious, based on the kind of love we received as children. The more you understand your childhood conditioning and wounding, the more you will see this reflected in your partner. It doesn’t mean you’ve failed and that you’re destined to a life of dysfunctional relationships, it means you know what your love style is and what to expect.
6. Allowing yourself to love and be loved can be one of your hardest life lessons. As in, really loved. To feel brave enough to let somebody into the deepest, darkest corners of your soul.
You may think you want to be loved, but I’ll bet there’s part of you that is deeply afraid to be really seen. You’ll be holding yourself back and hiding to avoid being completely loved.
Real love isn’t just a warm fuzzy feeling or the flush of oxytocin, it’s a continued action of showing up every day and putting the work in.
7. And finally, stop taking it so seriously. Make enough time to play and be absolutely ridiculous with your partner. Create little in-jokes and cute (or hilarious) nicknames for each other.
I wish you a lifetime of love and being loved in all of your messiness.
Do you want to learn how to embrace pleasure to create your most intimate and passionate relationship ever? Then I would love to support you on your journey. I’m passionate about empowering women and couples to connect again and have the sex life they really want.