Did you know that the average woman will be in at least two long-term relationships before they finally find “the one”? And they will kiss, sleep with, and date far more men than that. This is according to a study commission in conjunction with The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. If you’re interested in learning more about the study, there are more tidbits in The Telegraph, Daily Mail, and Glamour.
But interestingly enough, even though it’s common sense that not every one can be the one, most women still get their hopes up and plan for longevity in their relationships. In fact, according to another study from Avvo Inc, “Women are significantly more likely to believe that relationships are meant to last . . .” As in, over 20% more likely than men.
So what does it matter? Well, we could probably attribute this pattern of wishful thinking on a combination of evolution and societal influences. But regardless of the reasons, the fact remains that there is indeed pressure to be with the person you’ll marry someday.
What is worse, is this expectation doesn’t discriminate by age. From 22 to 42, women of all ages often deal with the pressure of dating with one main intention – don’t just find and date anybody, find and date “him”. However, rest assured. Statistically speaking, the person you’re dating probably isn’t the one. But they also don’t have to be, and here’s why.
1. If you met your future husband tomorrow, you might not want him.
Let’s be real. Some people might be fortunate enough to truly feel like they’re with not only a great person, but their soulmate. But for the majority of people? It’s all about timing. There simply isn’t enough love in the world to handle the challenges that life brings if someone isn’t mentally or spiritually ready to enter a serious commitment.
And there’s nothing wrong with not being ready. The important part is being able to recognize that you’re not ready, understand why that might be, and communicate it if you are in a relationship.
2. Successful relationships require two wholes, not one.
I consider myself a pretty confident person. But dating has a way of bringing up anyone’s underlying insecurities. Dating and meeting different partners is actually a great way to learn more about yourself. Whether it’s romantic or not, relationships challenge you by highlighting both the light and shadow within yourself. Sometimes, those shadow parts need a lot of work that requires a step back. No one is perfect, but if you know you have work you still need to do on yourself, it’s better to focus on that than worry about whether who you’re dating is “the one”.
3. There’s nothing wrong with not “knowing”.
There’s a misconception that you are somehow supposed to predict the future and one day just “know” whether or not your boyfriend or girlfriend is your future. The reality is that some people never know for sure. They simply make a decision to enter that commitment or not. Emotions and thoughts aren’t always like the fairy tales we grew up with. So if you do feel that confidence, great. If not? That’s okay too. In our culture there is an idealization of romance. But who’s to say that not knowing for sure isn’t a part of your fairy tale too?
4. Relationships, marriage, and monogamy are hard.
Time and time again we are shown that marriage and monogamy do not have a great outlook. Let’s say you make it through the two relationships that are projected for you and now you’re getting married – awesome! Now, you’re married and have basically a 50% chance of getting a divorce – not so awesome. It gets even better because the chance of infidelity occurring in what is supposed to be a monogamous marriage? Sorry guys, chances are pretty high. Western culture puts so much value and worth on the ring that it almost disregards what’s more important: Are you happy? If so, enjoy your bliss now because while you may love “the one”, it won’t necessarily be an easy ride.
5. You might not marry him…but you’re happy.
There are so many people in this world that aren’t happy. If you’re one of the lucky people that finds yourself feeling generally positive and satisfied with your life, and specifically, your relationship…don’t take that for granted. Maybe this person isn’t “the one”. There’s nothing wrong with them being the one for right now. I truly believe that every partner and relationship has a learning lesson behind it, often times about ourselves.
As long as you’re in a healthy relationship, you’re being honest with one another, and you feel satisfied, it’s absolutely okay to not have the end goal of marriage.