Last night, I met up with a friend for what is becoming our quarterly check-in into the other’s life. With busy schedules, meeting up for drinks a few times a year is about all we have time for and sometimes we even have a hard time penciling that in. Tucking into one of our favorite local bars, we ordered pints and settled into a table for two with house-made potato chips and the delightful charm and camaraderie that only an Irish pub can offer.
As it turns out, the past few months have been great for the both of us. We happily chatted about our jobs, our hobbies, and then got down to the exceptionally good stuff: our relationships. Toasting to our good fortune and thrilled that karma seems to have finally found us, we began to gush about our significant others in ways that seemed very adult for two people who quite recently had been wondering why we seemed to be the only two singles left on the planet. We talked about how we journeyed into coupledom and where we saw things going. Then he said something that completely took me by surprise.
“I think she could be The One. I really do.”
I smiled politely and tried to disguise my less-than-romantic feelings toward one of the most clichéd terms of all time. You see, I’ve never been a fan of labels like “The One” or “soul mate” or “other half” or “love of my life.” I am always hesitant to put much stock into these types of categorizations because to me they seem pulled out of a chick flick and rather corny. I can’t help but feel that a relationship is doomed much in the same way as when a couple gets matching tattoos. You might as well start the countdown now.
For one, these terms of endearment just put so much pressure on the other person. I am not a commitment-phobe—in fact, I’m a serial monogamist—but getting laden with the burden of “other half” or “The One” would be enough to make me run for the hills. To be defined this way almost removes your individual identity. Who are you if not a part of your significant other? Do you exist in your own right? How did he or she ever get along without you? Interestingly enough, I have no problem with the term “better half.” I’m sure a shrink would have a field day analyzing that one and my feelings of superiority.
Secondly, these labels are so common yet don’t really mean anything. What exactly does The One entail? Is The One the person who holds all of your love and affection? What about the person(s) who came before? What about the one(s) who may come after? Is The One the person that you will be in love with for the rest of your days or are they just the person who came around at the right time and gave you exactly what you needed when you needed it? Urban Dictionary defines The One as “the person you know you’re going to love forever, the person who knows the words to your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten, and the person you spend your whole life looking for.” However, I don’t think it’s that simple. The One probably means different things for different people, much like the word “love” does. No two people look at it in exactly the same way and I guess until I fully understand a person’s definition of this term, I cannot fathom its meaning and can only understand based on my own
cynical personal interpretation.
But here’s the catch, I do believe that you can find someone who is the yin to your yang, the peanut butter to your jelly, the cheese to your macaroni, the one you spend a lifetime with. Despite my dislike for overused idealistic labels, I do believe that happily ever after exists. I’ve seen for myself that true love is real and that sometimes, two are better than one. But please don’t call me The One. I am completely comfortable with being called girlfriend, lover, or life partner.
Because they’re just romantic enough without making me sick.