Alison Berkley: Confusion reigns in search for the one
How do you know when you’ve found “the one?”
I do know one thing: there are a lot of useless theories out there about how you know when you’ve found the person you’re going to marry.
Everyone from my Grandfather to my dog seems to have an opinion about it, none of which are very helpful. My dog and I have actually had many heart-to-hearts about this.
He totally agrees that this is one of the great mysteries of the universe. Maybe even more important than why bones don’t grow on trees or whether or not there is a god.
As an Atheist and a man married to the same woman for more than 70 years, my Grandfather had the answer to both these questions. Brash and outspoken, he definitely did not skirt issues like religion and marriage.
“Honey, don’t let your vagina run your life,” he told me one day. “When a man finds you and decides that you are the woman he wants to have sex with for the rest of his life, he’ll marry you. Until then, there isn’t a whole hell of a lot you can do about it.”
He told me to just pipe down and “unlax,” as he loved to say. I guess after two World Wars, the Holocaust and the Great Depression, survival was enough for him. His generation took whatever they could get. I have a feeling that men like my Grandfather, who took the words “until death do us part” literally, are a dying breed.
As much as I cringe at the thought of my Grandfather saying the word “vagina,” I do think he had a point. But what he doesn’t understand (or rather, accept) is I am incredibly spoiled and used to getting what I want, like yesterday.
The idea of waiting around to be discovered by some random guy who is mostly interested in sex doesn’t really work for me. Individuality is so deeply ingrained in the female psyche these days that we can’t pry ourselves away from our own agendas.
I mean, how am I supposed to integrate someone else into my life? What if they mess up my plans for my career or where I want to live? In addition to doing everything I want, they will also have to be able to support me so I can quit my job and have babies as soon as I’m ready.
The point is, we’re used to having too many choices. Choices like these undermine fate. The more freedom we have to make decisions that screw up our lives, the less likely we are to find our true destiny. How do people find each other when everyone is moving in their own separate direction?
That guy who’s supposed to find me like Grandpa said probably got to San Diego the day after I moved to Aspen. So what? I was sick of the beach and totally needed a change.
If you say “you just have to be in the right place at the right time,” I will punch you in the nose.
That’s not nearly as bad as the friend who tells you “it was meant to be” after you clearly just made one of those bad decisions and dumped the guy who (maybe possibly) could have been “the one,” or worse, he dumped you.
These morons actually think they are helping you and will likely say something even more infuriating like “better sooner than later,” or “everything happens for a reason.” They probably also told you that your last boyfriend was “a keeper” before you found out he was sleeping with a stewardess.
Slightly more bearable are those of the “it happens so fast” philosophy. These are the ones who dated their spouse for like eight years and then got engaged for two, just to make sure they were doing the right thing. My friend Sarah loves to tell me this all the time, and I think she really believes it.
Oh, right. I think she only dated her husband for like six years. So spontaneous! Let’s see. If it happens that fast for me, I will be happily married (or at least engaged) by the time I’m 41. Sweet!
The worst are the Serial Matrimonialists. You know, these men who have been married like two and three times and consider themselves experts … after all, they have tons of experience.
They are usually rich and are definitely of the Satisfaction Guaranteed variety: If you don’t like it, exchange it! Because they have no regard for consequence or all those years of therapy their ex-wives will surely endure, they are smug and cocky and will tell you what every single person (no pun intended) hates to hear.
“You just know.”
Just know what? I don’t know who is worse: the ones who tell you it will take at least 27 years for a man to make up his mind, or the people who believe it will happen overnight. The love-at-first-sight person will also tell you, “don’t think about it” and “it will happen when you least expect it,” as if one day I will accidentally trip over my future fiance as he is lying on the sidewalk (already dead, no doubt).
My parents love this idea, because after all, they got married three months after they met and have been sickeningly happy together for 35 years. She “spent the night at his apartment and never left.” (Slut!) “As soon as I stepped into his apartment I just knew,” she likes to say. “I felt like I was talking to a reflection of myself.” (Narcissist!) So my parents brought me up in this idyllic environment where I would be in no way prepared for reality. Thanks a lot!
The one thing I do know about “the one” is that, at least for now, the only one is me … for better or for worse.
[The Princess would love to hear your story about how you met “the one.” You can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org]
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“If I was moving through the herd, the others would begin walking away, some of them at a jog, taking their calves with them, but the big brown ungulate would face me sideways, reluctant to move, not wanting to give any ground,” writes Tony Vagneur.