The Idea of a perfect soul mate is irresistibly alluring to most of us, though it’s been argued that the secret of lasting love is giving up the myth of “the one”. We go after it with remarkable ambition and even try to calculate the odds of finding that special someone, that invaluable human mirror who will “tear apart your ego a little bit, shows you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in.” But in a world of seven billion, how likely is it, really, that each of us will find that mythic other?
Tim Dawes on Quora writes there are two ways but you won’t like either of them. First, they aren’t the one. Accept that. There is no one. Or at least chances of you finding them is astronomical.
NASA-roboticist-turned-comic-creator Randall Munroe did a calculation in his book What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions. Given your life span, you have about 500,000,000 potential soul mates around the world. You’ll make eye contact with about 50,000 people in your lifetime. So, if your soulmate exists, you’ll meet him or her about once in 10,000 lifetimes.
So, you likely won’t find the one. But that doesn’t mean the person you marry won’t be special. And Tim dawes says if we take him as an example, you can find someone terrific, even singular.
He swores off marriage until he found the woman he is married to now. He dated and fell in love and was devoted to women that he did not marry. Until he found a woman who was different from anyone he had ever met and different from what he could imagine as a partner.
There’s the tricky part for him. He met her at a party just after he had sworn off women for the n’teenth time. She walked in and told him she was there to spike the punch, and he was smitten. But, They didn’t marry for three years. Because they both wanted to see how they were going to be treated by the other. And he thaught, that’s the key to finding one for other as well. So, Find someone you’re both attracted to and who will treat you the way you want to be treated for the long term.
For him, thats meant someone who was willing, even insistent, on working things out. Not setting traps for each other or playing games or taking offense and giving the cold shoulder. But someone who wanted to be “clean” in communications, who wanted to work things out immediately rather than carry them around silently.
When he saw that in her, he found someone he was knocked out by, who he thought would give him years of closeness. Its been 26 years already and both of them are still true today.
Edward Anderson writes on quora: We’ve been pretty convincingly advised that the myth of The One is little more than romantic fiction designed to sell reams of steamy novels and put butts in the seats of movie theaters. On the surface, it’s a compelling idea: that somewhere out there is a person who is a perfect match for us in all our unique intricacies, and when we find that person, romance just blossoms and everything is perfect.
Except it isn’t, is it? Even in the RomComs and the romance novels, there’s still trouble in paradise. That’s what drives the plot along. The leads misunderstand each other, drive each other nuts, express their desire never to see one another again, get forced unwillingly into proximity with each other, and only after a series of events of dubious rationality do they discover that they were The Ones and fall back into each other’s arms to live happily ever after.
Here’s the thing: occasionally two people just kind of blunder into each other’s orbits, hit it off immediately, and within three months are picking out china patterns. But for the other 99.999% of us, romance is hard work. We try to be on our best behavior, but we sometimes slip, we offend the person we love, we fight, we separate, we realize that even if we didn’t do anything wrong, we still would rather apologize than live without that person in our lives, and we make a resolution to do whatever it takes to be worthy of having that special person on our arm. If that means picking our socks up off the floor and putting them in the laundry hamper; or if it means checking her fuel level every day and putting gas in her car so she never gets stranded; or if it means that she gives him the only cherry in the can of fruit cocktail even though she adores cherries, simply because she knows he likes them too, we do what we must to stay in relationship with our partner.
So then, it’s not so much a matter of pre-existing as The One, and it’s incumbent upon each of us to search and search to find our own unique The One; so much as it’s a matter of getting to know our partner well enough to recognize what his or her vision of the ideal mate—his or her “The One,” in other words—is, and daily drawing closer and closer to that image. Becoming the One, if you will.
Conclusion: How can you know the person you’re going to marry is the one? Hopefully you have been paying close attention to his or her throughout your courtship. Is he or she closer to your vision of the ideal mate today than six months ago? Is he or she changing to conform ever closer to your static image or is your ideal mate also changing to become closer to what you see in your intended? And are you intentionally changing to conform more closely to your partner’s ideal? And is your partner evolving his or her ideal to correspond more closely to your reality?
If both of you are sufficiently invested in each other to be able to compromise your lofty ideals to accommodate each other’s reality; and to be able to adjust your own beliefs and behaviors to better match each other’s ideals, then we don’t need to say you’re both becoming The One for each other, and you probably have a good chance of making your relationship last.