The Myth of the “Right One” in Relationships

Photo Credit:  Monkeywing

Were you taught growing up that you should look for the “right one” to date/marry?

Where does this idea of the perfect “soul-mate” come from? Where do we get the belief that there is one “right one” for us?

I remember as a teenager being terrified of missing “the one.” Then a young adult who I respected told me, “You can’t miss the ‘right one’.”

I found that when you’re in the right place, in the right space (mentally and emotionally) and doing the right thing, the right one materializes.

A Fundamental Distinction

Here is a simple distinction that helped me and I think will help you.

Don’t look for someone to complete you; look for someone who complements you.

You are already whole. If you’re looking for someone to complete you, then you will be continuously disappointed. If you look for someone who complements who you already are, then you are well on your way to building a fulfilling relationship.

The Bottom Line

If you’re searching for someone or something outside of yourself to tell you who and what you are, you will never be satisfied.  If, however, you learn to stand strong in who you are, then you can freely offer yourself as a gift to anyone and find that they may bring out the best of what you already are.

Don’t look for the right one. Be you, right…give yourself lavishly to the world, and open your arms to receive the love that floods back to you in abundance.

About Steve

Hi, I'm Steve Rice and my goal is to transform simple philosophical truths into practical fuel to revolutionize your life. It's not about self-help, it's about self-reliance. I show you how. Connect with me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter and let me know how I can help you.

  • Absolutely Steve!

    I totally agree with you about finding the right one or the perfect match to complete you, as that never really happens. And if you wait for such a perfect person all your life, you will really keep waiting. This happens because no one is perfect, nor are they perfectly made to match you.

    Each person is different with their varied personalities, and what works best is how they complement your personality by bringing out the best in you. Nothing actually works in a relationship unless you want it to work, and if you have a partner who complements you in the best of ways, consider yourself lucky and learn to value such a person. It is just YOU who matters most and something that really keeps you working, while the other partner can enhance your personality better perhaps would be the right choice for you.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Steve

      Thanks for your insight, Harleena. I appreciate your perspective so much! This conditioning we have to find the “perfect” person is so flawed, yet we follow it un-erringly and it leads to so much disappointment and sadness.

      The point you make about someone bringing out the best in us is the key fundamental that I have found for why my relationship “works.” We both are better versions of ourselves because of each other!

      LOVE this: “It is just YOU who matters…” So often we feel guilty for being so honest and admitting that this is the foundation of our relationship because we think that it is selfish. But the truth is that unless we have filled up, we cannot overflow for someone else…no matter how much we love them.

  • Some very wise advise. I have been married twice and my second husband is truly a compliment to me. We are complete oposites, i’m crazy(er), he’s straight as an arrow, i’m daring and he’s a little more stable, i like black he likes white. it’s funny but we’re like yin and yang and it’s something that you just feel and can’t attache a word to. Anyways, i know plenty of people who marry or date for the wrong person including myself and it can be sheer torture to try to make it work vs having someone who is you exact compliment..

    Thanks for the reminder.

    • Steve

      Thanks, Annie! I am grateful that you found someone who wonderfully complements you. I’m sure this combination of “yin and yang” allows you to create a wonderful life that is fulfilling to both of you…perhaps even a life that neither of you would have dared independently. It’s wonderful how that happens. I really appreciate your perspective on this.

      Have you found the complementary aspects of your relationship helped lead to the place where you are able to live the life you want abroad? Or was that something you think you would have done (created) no matter what relationship you were in? Just curious how that has affected you in “real life”.

      • Good question steve.. I would not have dated or married my husband had he not wanted to travel. I’ve been travelling since i was born and it’s a big part of my life… I knew he had lived abroad before so we had lots to talk about. I think had he not wanted to live abroad it would have been duable but i would have had a big hole in my heart..

        • Steve

          Ah…that’s really fascinating, Annie. It’s wonderful that you both have supported the “best life” for each other. There is a lady I work with who does mission work in Africa–Kenya. She actually lived there for a while. She loves it and goes every year. She told me she really wants to live there year round, but her husband is here and is unwilling to live there. It was kinda sad because I could tell this work was so important to her and she really loved being there, but she’s also constrained by her relationship.

          Like you said, it’s “doable” but there is a hole in her heart, I could see. It makes me even more grateful for the relationship that i have in which we support one another and our individual and corporate dreams.

          When you met your husband, it sounds like you had already done the internal work on yourself to have a clear picture of the life you wanted, so it was easier to see how he could fit into that vision. Is that accurate? Are you one who believes in a “soul mate” or “perfect one”? Or have you found that finding one who complements you is more in line with reality?

  • Hi Steve,

    I totally agree with you and if I may I want to add something to it. Fairy tales have a lot to do with the soul mate myth. In fairy tales as children we are presented with a prince and a princess who ultimately end up together eventually. There is no one else in the world except the two of them. It leaves us confused when we see so many other potential partners.

    Best wishes to you, for a magnificent weekend.

    • Steve

      That’s a great point, Daniel. I had not included that truth, but it is as you pointed out. Fairy tales are between two people only and it is very clear that they will be together, it is just a matter of getting through the obstacles to “true love” but sometimes life is not so clear! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing this unique perspective. Great observation.

  • Very inspiring blog, i agree with the few last statement of yours, many of us are really trying hard to find the right one, but in fact, the most ideal thing to do is, to be as natural as you can be, make friends with everyone and be kind, in that way, people get attracted to you easily, since you are emitting positive vibes.

    • Steve

      Great point, Raymond! Allowing ourselves to be real in relationship is a powerful way to attract the right person into our lives.

  • A couple thoughts on this….

    The right ONE for you today, may not be the right one 10 years from now. I’m learning the hard way over the years, that one person can never encompass all of the qualities you want in a mate. This means friends and acquaintances can help fill the gap. People’s interests change, and inevitably, couples grow apart. Should they really stay together forever out of past decisions made when they were “a different person” so to speak?

    This may seem a selfish or irresponsible statement, especially if children are involved. However, unless 100% selfless service completely fulfills you,at some point, you will want other things. I just feel that marriage may not be the best idea for all. The sooner we all accept that things and people change, the sooner we can enjoy the time we have.

    • Steve

      Love your perspective, Jeff. I first read this in don Miguel Ruiz’s book The Mastery of Love. In it, he talks about what to do when someone no longer wants to be in relationship with us. We are conditioned to hold on to–to “cleave to”–a lover/spouse, etc. But from my perspective, this comes from a feeling of lack.

      It tries to stifle the human soul, which I believe is always expanding. So, it really is a paradox. IMHO, to have the greatest chance of success in keeping your mate, hold on to him/her as loosely as possible. Foster his/her growth and celebrate what you have while not holding it too tightly.

      This isn’t to say there is no commitment. It’s just a detour from the semi-dysfunctional BS that Disney (et al) fairy tales teach us we should love. In those stories, we are taught that our “one true love” will sweep in and solve all our problems and we will make them our whole world and they will become ours.

      I don’t buy it.

      • Thanks for the book recommendation Steve, I’ll check it out! 🙂

        Seems like it’s a problem with change. I guess, personally I’ve lost so much starting at 10 yrs. old I come to expect it and can be less than sentimental out of necessity.

        For most though, I can see why people try to cling on and on to something long dead out of fear or insecurity.

        I can see both sides of this.
        Two strong independent partners enjoying time together can be great, or those like myself that also enjoy the D/S dynamic. It all depends on each person’s mindset.

        I’ve been thinking lately, that as we get much older though, like 70’s+, it may make sense to just hang on to what you’ve got!

        • Steve

          It’s a pretty short book, but pretty profound insights that really helped me in framing a healthy relationship.

          I can understand your point of view. Even though I didn’t have the same circumstances that you did growing up, I think that the tendency to become defensive and protect one’s self in relationships is really a natural thing.

          I think you nailed it exactly when you said that many of us hold on to something we know is not making us happy out of fear or insecurity (or both, perhaps).

          You are right, though…it does take 2 strong and independent people to be strong and healthy in any relationship. It requires both people to show up 100% and be there for the relationship to make it work.

          Fascinating discussion. Thanks.

  • Dude, stop f-ing around with your audience. This “article” is a blatant SEO tactic – the tactic that is littering the internet with “articles” that pose a question, and then don’t answer it, but contains enough keywords to be found for something or other the author thinks people are searching for. Better start working on adding content because your article is going to be replaced very soon by someone who gives a crap to put more than a few sentences under headings and call it an article. And all your comments seem to be people in your field that are trying to build backlinks. I swear if all you idiots would put your energy into your content that you put in your stupid SEO bullcrap you read. Sorry, my rant for the day. Cheers.

  • I typed “the myth of spiritual growth” to find your high ranking article.

  • Monica@La Femme

    This one is perfect for me, I’m always searching for the right one who will complete and satisfy my life but I always end up being disappointed. After reading this, I’m now enlightened with the fact that you have to love yourself first and know your worth so you can give love to others too. 🙂