The Difference Between Wanting to Be with Someone and ‘The One’

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I have long been in love with the idea of love.

I like to be with someone, even though I’m just fine on my own. I like thinking “we” instead of “me”. It’s just in my nature. I guess I’m just a nurturer, no matter how much I’d like to deny it. I don’t like making promises, though. I don’t like feeling like I have to do something, even if I’m the only one telling myself that I do. I like feeling like part of a team – not just part of a relationship.

I don’t believe we have just one soul mate – I don’t understand the idea. I mean, we change throughout our lives, right? Who’s to say that the person you thought you’d marry at 18 is the same person you’ll want to marry at 25? (Mine definitely aren’t the same people – and that’s okay.)

Who’s to say you’ll still want to marry the person from when you were 25, when you turn 30? I’m not sure what the future will bring, but apparently, when you know, you know. And I don’t know yet.

I love my partner – probably more than I have ever loved anyone (aside from my family). Against my will, I started making “we” decisions from the start. Is that what they mean when they say you know? As much as I wanted to pretend that what we had was temporary, that idea didn’t really stick.

She’s still here, putting up with me.

And I still put up with her.

I don’t know if she’s “the one”, and truth be told I’m not sure I believe there is just one. But she’s the one for right now – and I’m okay with that.

Our hearts have to break.

Your first love is, most likely, not going to be “the one”. I made the mistake of thinking that my first love was going to last forever – it sure seemed to take forever to get started. I had waited so long to have her by myself that I thought it just had to last.

But it didn’t – and that’s okay.

As much as the pain of heartbreak hurts, it’s not the end of the world – and you need to understand that before you find “the one”.

If you haven’t already found heartbreak, your first love will break your heart. Maybe it won’t even be intentional – but she’ll overstay her welcome in your life, and you’ll come to a point where you resent each other for it. This seems doomed – but it’s not. It’s just a fact of life.

We weren’t meant to love only one person forever.

It’s a romantic thought that appeals to our deepest sense of love. We pick someone and we’re going to be with them for the rest of our lives.

Only, they’re not there for the rest of our lives. And they’re not supposed to be.

We need to fall in love, have our heart broken, learn, and then fall in love again – over and over.

Each time, we get a little smarter and a little stronger. And we prepare ourselves for the day it ends, just like the last one did.

I’m sure this sounds like pessimism – but I assure you, it’s not. Think of it this way:

Person A seems so right for you, but they break your heart, and you find Person B. Person B is a little better than Person A was, but they break your heart too. Each time this happens, we learn a little more about ourselves and the world around us.

We grow and we define ourselves.

And then we are a better person when we reach our next partner – leading, eventually, to the person who is actually perfect for us. The person who makes every other love seem like it was fake. The person we fall in love with long before we intend to.

I don’t want to know.

If the relationship I’m in is going to last for the rest of my life, I don’t want to know now. I won’t believe it anyway. I’ll feel like I’m stuck and I’ll want to run away. Instead, I’d rather be the girlfriend right now – the cool girlfriend who doesn’t need you, she wants you. That’s something special.

There’s a lot of material out there that tells us, basically, a marriage is the thing to strive for. If we see someone single, we pity them – even though they’ve got the freedom to do anything they want.

Why can’t we give ourselves that freedom a little bit, too?

I’m not saying we should undermine our partner’s trust, or do things she doesn’t agree with, but if we’re with someone who doesn’t support the things we want to do… Is that really the person we’re supposed to be with?

I don’t think so – so don’t tell me that I can’t do something because you’re my future wife. You might see it as romantic cultivation, but I see it as control and manipulation. We haven’t signed papers yet, buddy.

Even if we did sign the papers – I wouldn’t want that to limit me. A happy marriage involves trust, communication, and respect. I need to know that you respect my choices, and that you know my worth. (Especially on days I can’t offer this to myself.) I need to know that you’re with me because you like who I am – not who you think I can be.

I don’t want to feel married already.

Maybe you know this from some of my previous posts, but I am engaged. That’s not the same thing as married, though – that’s just the two of us pledging our intent to get married in the future.

It’s not a promise, as some people treat it. It’s just a symbol.

I want to marry her in the future – and it’s perfectly OK to want to marry the partner you’re with, even if you’re not sure – but I’m not ready yet and she understands that. I’m still me. I still need to focus on myself. I have goals and dreams, and I’d rather have the life I want than a rushed wedding just because that’s what you do.

This ring doesn’t define me, it defines one of my future goals.

I am not a “wife”, nor do I want to be a wife right now, and I wouldn’t want to rush into something that I wasn’t ready for. I love kids, but I’m not ready for kids right now. I wouldn’t rush into the decision to be a mother, so why should I rush into the decision to be someone’s wife?

But I said yes when she asked – because I do want that with her. I want to be the cute wife who makes breakfast in a little apron. I want to take care of our kids (hopefully just one at first!) and I want to bake her pies just because. I want a house and a yard and a white picket fence – the whole deal. I want a grand wedding that makes me feel like a princess and makes me cry (in all the right ways).

But I don’t want it right now.

I want to be “me”, too.

I think in terms of “we”, but that doesn’t mean I want to paint myself into a corner yet. I couldn’t handle the idea of not working and earning my own money. I want to be able to take time off work without someone else having to “rescue” me. I’m getting there, but I’m not there yet – let me have my own career for a while.

I want to travel. I used to travel a lot when I was younger, but I’ve never been out of my own country. (Well, a couple trips to the border, but that hardly counts.) I want to see the world, and I don’t want to have to think about whether someone else wants to follow me. If you want to come, that’s wonderful! But if you don’t, I’ll see you when I get back – I’m not going to stay here with you.

I think there are far too many of my friends who have given up on this point in their life too early, and I’m afraid of turning into one of them. Independence is huge for me, and I’ve always been my own person. I’m not going to say I won’t be ready one day, but for now, I have to do my own thing.

I want an empire.

I need to know that “the one” is going to respect my hustle, and I’ve been telling my partner this right since the beginning. “One day, we’ll have an empire.” Because I do believe we’ll have it together some day – but I need to know that this person is going to help me build it up, too. I am not selfish but I refuse to be an enabler.

As long as you’re putting in effort, I’m putting in double. That’s the name of my game. I’d share my last breath if I knew it meant something. But we’ve got to be partners or it’s not going to happen.

I want to grow.

And I want you to grow with me. I don’t like staying in the same place for too long, so I need to know that we’re going in the same direction. If I’m moving forward and she’s going side to side, this is going to be a problem.

This isn’t something you can learn about a person right away. It’s situational, and it’s probably going to stay that way our whole lives. You better believe I’ll pick you up when you fall, but I won’t allow you to bring me down with you.

This is something that’s always going to change, and I think that’s a huge reason you can’t predict “forever”. How do you know that the person you’re with will ever keep you on track? You don’t – so you just keep yourself on track, and if they keep up, they deserve the place in your life.

I don’t want to know.

I don’t want to know – I want to let it happen on its own. If I operated my relationships in any other way, I’d be stuck waiting for this false idea of perfect that might not even exist. I’m a romantic, but not in the way you might think. I think you can find love with anyone, and I’ve been in love many times.

But love isn’t all it takes.

I want everything else to fall into place at the right time. I don’t want to feel stuck in a choice I made if I’m not completely convinced of the choice. I don’t want to make promises.

When we rush ourselves into the idea of our soul mates, we might be passing up something much better – just because we’re too stubborn to let go when something ends. We fantasize that this relationship will be the last relationship we’re in, and we neglect to pay attention to what that really means.

I’m excited about the idea of marriage – but it’s not the right time for me. I still have a lot of life left and I want to experience it before I say “forever”.

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