Some appalling advice has led me to write this post, and it wasn't even me giving or receiving the advice. Here is what the advice was, basically: The One is worth waiting for.
That isn't usually what we would call bad advice. Bad advice is usually self serving or contains moralistic overtones, or only has ulterior motives.
This one is based on fairy tales and idealism.
Every time this conversation has been dragged up in the past few years, I think about a blog I wrote in 2008. A bit after my broken engaged was finished up for serious good, Simon asked me if I still believed in The One, and I wrote about it:
One of my friends asked me if I believed in The One awhile ago. At the time I thought The One doesn't exist. Now I believe that there is no The One in a secular sense. I do reckon that God has pretty good ideas of who He wants us to be with though. This is reassuring. On the other hand, the knowing who we are meant to be with can be a bit tricky and not always easy to get. I've always said to God stuff like 'Come on, You're not gonna just leave it at that are You?' and actually... sometmes He does. But what is that? Is that God just saying 'Nope, you ain't getting anymore my little cupcake?' or isn't it really Him saying 'Well cupcake, I did give you free will...' (I wonder of God would actually call me cupcake. Probably. I can resemble one at times.)
Seeing as that was ages ago, and I'm married and a little more realistic, I hope, I thought I'd write about it again because I think sometimes we all need some reminding of what The One and soul mates and destiny is all about.
Do I believe in The One?
It's definitely a new concept, repackaged.
I feel about it the same way I do about soul mates - they aren't some cosmic creation of the universe, but they are what you make them.
How did I get to this point?
I'm totally someone who hoards romance books, who loves fairy tales, who gets beyond excited with new and true love in other people's lives. And above all, I really like being in love.
But it isn't fair to someone to give them these labels. They have to fit into them first. And relationships change. People change. The One who was The One three months ago may not be the same person.
I think too often The One often meets The Criteria. And it's okay to have The Criteria, as long as you can accept that you'll probably fall in love with someone who either doesn't meet The Criteria, or who did and then became someone crazy, off the planet spaceball like a few months later (true story) who no longer meets it. So, when Person A, who wrote The Criteria meets Person B who fits it, Person B becomes The One, whether they even want to be or not.
And it is the 'or not' that becomes the problem.
Before I got married, a lot of people gave us some advice. One of the pieces of advice someone wrote on our wedding day was something like 'when you have a bad day in your relationship, think about the ones before, and how much more positive this one is in comparison'. What the? I know what they are saying. Sometimes The One becomes The One just because they weren't The Jerk Who Did Crappy Things Like Steal Your Doc Martens (true story). Comparing relationships is stupid, it never does anyone any favours. Most, if not all, relationships must have had something good about them, at least in the beginning.
The Honeymoon The One is also part of the problem. Because you get off to a great start, the person must be The One. But then The One changes and does things like ditches you for his friends (and his sister), has his parents spy on you and becomes a first class jerk (true story). But you always want to get back to the Honeymoon The One, because he was nice, sweet and had a lot of money to buy you unlimited hot chocolate (true story). That person doesn't exist anymore though, and as hard as it is to change someone (and you shouldn't), it's harder to change them back.
Now I have said all of these things, I just want to say something really important: love doesn't really need labels, unless you want it to.
Love has really poor timing.
Love rocks up whether you wanted it to or not.
Love is whatever the hell you want it to be most of the time.
Love is a lot of things but it isn't and shouldn't be one person you pin all your hopes, dreams, time, money, ability and love on. Because, that love is selfish. It doesn't matter if you have the greatest person in the world, they cannot and shouldn't give you everything you should ever need.
And, love takes time. And it changes. The best advice I was given from my Mum a while back is that marriage is hard, and you go through times of liking each other, and then not liking them so much, and so on. I wish she had told me this a long time ago, but I don't think I would have got it.
The thing is that sometimes we fall in love with the idea of a person, with their criteria, or who they are in that present moment, and not who they are all of the time. You can't go back in time, at least not in real life, and if that's what you're waiting for, well, you're in love with an illusion. And also they say in Sabrina 'He sounds like an illusion. Illusions are dangerous people; they have no flaws.' Of course, accepting flaws isn't usually enough (and trust me, I watched Don Jon last week, so I know all about why changing people is bad and why falling in love with someone a gazillion years older than you is good), accepting that maybe you deserve more than someone's left over at the end of the night when there's only the two of you waiting for a taxi is much better.
I say the taxi thing because I remember, years and years ago, a two mutual friends breaking up, and he turned to me a few weeks later and said 'Yeah, but you know what, it's nice to have someone to go home with at the end of the night.'
If that's what you want, someone to go home with or someone to text you ever single morning at 7am or someone to be your beck and call girl, and if you find that person, that's the one you want at that time. And it may not be forever. That's okay, you can't know unless you try it.
Being married though, it doesn't seem fair to say such things. Or, does it? I'm totally of the belief that a lot of the time, marriage is forever. But it doesn't seem fair to expect anyone to be someone's everything. Because that's an illusion.
I really hope it's okay that I wrote this post, but it's something I've had a few conversations about and I really needed to be like 'blurgh, have all my thoughts, oh blog', and then my blog can deal with it.
I still believe in fairy tales.