Do you believe there is such a thing as the ‘One’?
I was watching a stand-up comedian recently on Netflix called Daniel Sloss.
He was a comedian with a difference, because not only was he funny, but he also talked about some very thought-provoking and uncomfortable topics which are painfully true about life, which a lot of us try and ignore. One which really resonated with me was about relationships and the way that so many of us are sold into the idea that we have to be in a relationship and there is almost something wrong about being single. He also talked about the ‘one’ that every single person is so intent on finding which begs me to ask, Is there really such a thing? And is being single really that bad?
I don’t often ask for feedback on my articles, but for this topic, I am really interested to know what you think because I have drawn my own conclusions about relationships which have come from my own personal experiences and I am interested to know yours.
Now, many people who are single and some of those who are already in not so happy relationships, seem to believe in meeting that magic person who they believe to be the ‘one’.
It sounds so romantic and amazing and there are so many movies on TV about boy meets girl, there is struggle or problem keeping them apart or at first they hate each other, but in the end, they find love and live happily ever after.
Of course, the movie stops just as the romantic couple have the first kiss…… it doesn’t go on to show the daily misunderstandings, the jealous arguments, the financial struggles and dealing with their stroppy adolescent children who are experimenting with drugs, sex and alcohol.
And as a result, many people seem to have bought into the Walt Disney films “Prince finds his Princess and they live happily ever after” scenario and feel as though they have missed out if they are single or their relationship isn’t perfect.
Now, I have drawn the conclusion that marriage and relationships are in fact just as much stress as they are pleasurable. But being single is, in fact, hassle free! Yeah, of course, it is nice to have that person to share some good times with and wake up in the morning too, but at what price do you pay for those pleasures?
Now, I am single at the moment and I have been for some years. Occasionally a woman passes through into my life which is nice, but these days, especially with all the travel that I do, it is hard to maintain a serious relationship.
But you know what? I really don’t mind. I am very happy being single and if I am brutally honest, I am always far happier being single than whenever I am in a relationship. If I ever feel stressed or unhappy at all with my life, it is always because of the relationship I am in.
In my last couple of relationships, I analyzed how much joy I was actually getting out of them and what I realized is that the stress can begin on day one…yes, even during the so-called ‘honeymoon period’ of a relationship.
They are stressful at the beginning because I don’t know the person that well or if things are going to work out between us. Then they are stressful in the middle because you are learning to adapt to another person and trying to keep not just yourself happy but the other person too. And of course, there is the inevitable end and everybody knows how painful letting go can be.
Relationships, you see, are like everything else in the known universe. They have a beginning, a middle and an end.
Because even if you stay with that person all of your life, one day the Grim Reaper is going to take one of you away first and that is going to lead to a lot of pain.
And if you are one of those people who think “But who will take care of me when I am sick?” Well, there is a 50/50 chance that your partner is going to die before you anyway and also, if you are in your 80s or 90s, how the hell is your partner going to be able to look after you anyway?
I think like everything else in life, there have to be two sides to everything. With day comes the night, with up comes down, with left comes right, with happiness comes pain. It is like a pendulum that swings back and forth. If our partners are able to bring out happiness and joy within us, they will also be able to also to bring out sorrow and heartbreak.
The other thing is that everything in the universe is in a constant flux of change. Nothing is permanent.
That beautiful young lady I fell in love with is going to change, physically and psychologically and so am I.
Will we still be compatible in years to come? Will we start to enjoy different things? Will such differences cause us to live a life of relative happiness or will we stick together because it is easier than going through the pain of breaking up?
Even the best relationships are never plain sailing and I often wonder exactly how many couples are genuinely happy in their relationships? I estimate that about 30% of people who are in relationships now, wish they weren’t.
So why do they stay with their partners?
Well, for a number of reasons: financial dependency, keeping up appearances, because of the children, fear of being alone or guilt at the thought of leaving their partners. Some people seem to accept after a while that being unhappy in a relationship is the norm and just put up with it. Better the devil you know as they say.
Also, I have met many people who believe they have met the ‘One’ only to find out a little later down the line that the person who seemed to be so perfect once upon a time is now regarded as the most despicable person on earth!
But who knows? Maybe it is just my upbringing that makes me feel that the ‘one’ doesn’t exist.
My parents got divorced when I was very young, at a time when you were expected to get married if you wanted kids. My mother had a turbulent relationship with my dad even before they got married so I am sure he wasn’t the ‘one’.
She really believed that her second husband was the ‘one’ when she first met him, but a few years after they were married and 2 children later, she realized he definitely wasn’t. She stayed with him though for another 9 years after that because of the children and financial dependency until life with him became so unbearable that she left him.
A few years later, she met another man who she hasn’t married but has been with for the last 27 years. I asked her about her relationship with him and if she thought he was the ‘one’ when she first met him.
“Oh god no!” she replied. “Yes, we liked each other for sure, but when we started dating, we were both half expecting the ‘one’ to turn up and whisk us away, but they never did, so we stuck together. But we got on well, share the same sense of humour and I think that has what has kept us together. And it certainly helps that we only see each other at weekends”.
I asked my Dad at his 40th wedding anniversary to my step mum what made his marriage last so long.
“Bloody hard work” came his reply…and I am fairly sure if I asked my step mum, she would have said the same!
And as for my Grandfather, when I asked him how he was going to celebrate his 50th wedding anniversary, he looked at me somewhat surprised and asked “Why would anyone want to celebrate 50 years of being married?”
I know I have never met the ‘one’ and I am so used to living my life on my own terms that I think I would find it difficult to settle down now. But, I am very happy being single and I don’t think that marriage or being in a relationship is for everyone. And maybe you think differently.
Maybe you would like to tell me “Toby, you just haven’t met the right one yet”, and you know what, a part of me still hopes that you are right.
I would love to hear what you have to say because I am getting tired of turning up to family weddings and all my older relatives asking “when is it going to be your turn?”
I think I am going to start asking them the same question at funerals!! ????