It’s the big question we all have to ask ourselves when we’re looking for love. Do we each have a special someone who represents our perfect partner, our one and only soul mate – our ‘other half’? Or are there a number of different people out there, with any of whom we could, potentially, be blissfully happy?
Put another way, should we content ourselves with the first reasonably good match who presents themselves – or should we keep on and on searching until we find our dream. The answer depends on the extent to which we believe in the existence of ‘The One’.
The idea of “The One” has its origins in a mythic tale recounted by the ancient Greek philosopher Plato in the year 360 BC. According to Plato, the god Zeus cut all human souls into two halves in order to weaken their power and keep them under the control of the ruling deities. Since then, as the tale goes, we have spent our lives searching for our ‘other half’ – the one being who can make us feel complete – in the attempt to become ‘whole’ again.
Trying to Locate ‘The One’
Whether or not we believe in Plato’s myth, for many people the notion of ‘soul mates’ has a glamorous and irresistible appeal. Surveys suggest that the majority of us think we have just one true love, although this belief is more prevalent among the younger generation. The older we are, the more likely we are to have changed our minds – maybe as a result of hard experience.
When we’re hit by the sheer elation of first falling in love, we’re usually convinced we’ve found our soul mate. But the more break-ups and disappointments we go through, the more cynical we tend to become about the idea of ‘The One’. With some six billion humans currently on the planet, trying to locate him or her can seem akin to looking for a needle in a haystack!
In reality though, with the possibilities opened up by the world-wide-web, it’s never been easier – against all the odds – to find that special someone. Reports abound of people living on opposite sides of the earth who met and fell in love on line and are now living happily every after. Or of high-school sweethearts, separated by circumstances, who were reunited through the internet and married each other later in life.
Love or Compromise?
But for all the success stories, there are also plenty of people who, in spite of all their efforts, find that love constantly eludes them. Many are confused by the overwhelming choice available on on-line dating sites. Others are frustrated by their own exacting standards that few candidates can match up to. In either case it’s possible to waste precious years of our lives chasing the unattainable ideal. To avoid the heartache and the loneliness, compromise is often the only viable option.
In times of old, before the communications revolution widened our horizons, there was actually little alternative to accepting compromise over love. That was the general expectation, and that was the way it was. For the average person, opportunities for meeting anyone outside of their immediate environment were extremely limited. The choice of romantic partners was usually restricted to one or two at best – and marriage was rarely for love.
Fortunately for us, now it’s a whole different ball-game, and provided we’re prepared to relax our requirements and take a flexible approach, love is within everybody’s reach. For each person saving themselves exclusively for ‘The One’, there are plenty of others who believe there are lots of good matches out there for them, and are keen to seize the chance of happiness while they can.
When Many Are Better than One
Plato’s mythic tale is a great story. But in fairness, how realistic is it to assume there’s only one being in the whole world with the potential to make us happy? Or that just one single person can forever satisfy all of our needs? Could it be that, instead of having all our eggs in one basket, we’re better off with a number of relationships – whether romantic or platonic – during the course of our lives?
Especially these days, many of us will have several big love affairs in our lifetime, all of which we may consider to be important. Every ‘significant other’ in our lives is likely to complement a different aspect of ourselves and fulfil us in a different, but equally valid way. The fact is that every major relationship has an extraordinary and uniquely defining quality – a ‘wow factor’ that causes it to stand out from the rest and makes it special in its own right.
It’s Actually Not That Difficult!
People with whom we experience a strong and lasting bond, but aren’t necessarily our ‘one and only’, can be thought of as ‘kindred spirits’ rather than ‘soul mates’. Tracking down kindred spirits is much easier than trying to find our ‘other half’ – quite simply because there are obviously a lot more than one of them around! By setting our sights somewhat lower, and searching for kindred spirits rather than ‘The One’, we greatly increase our chances of finding true love.
It’s actually not that difficult. All it takes is a positive attitude, some self belief, and the conviction that a fulfilling relationship is available to all of us, if we want it. A couple of registrations with one or two carefully chosen dating sites – and a little astrological help with sorting the wheat from the chaff – and soon we’re on our way. Romantic idealism is all very well, but is a bit of flexibility really such a bad thing?
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