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[Picture: She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not by Oolong]

The topic of this post was suggested by Mike of Unknowing Mind. He was curious to know your thoughts on the following:

Do you believe there's only one person who is "right" (as in significant other) for everyone?

Growing up, I always believed that the answer to this question was "yes." Probably as a result of watching too many movies and too much TV. It was actually quite a stressful and distressing prospect. What if I don't realize that he is the "one" when I meet him? What if I over sleep and our paths don't cross as "planned"? What if he lives on the other side of the world? I would be destined to live my life alone!

I now believe that there are many people who are "right" for each of us. And I believe that we meet many of these people throughout our lives. Our life choices and circumstances dictate how few, or how many, of these people we explore relationships with. Our long term relationships are products of conscious decisions to commit ourselves to a certain person. How strong and successful these relationships are, depends on the amount of effort we dedicate to keeping the relationship open and honest so that it continues to meet the needs of both parties involved. While in committed relationships, we will meet other people who are "right" for us -- people we are mentally, emotionally and physically attracted to. These attractions do not necessarily indicate that there is something awry in our current relationship. Whether these new "attractions" lead to anything more, is the result of a decision on our part to honor, or dishonor, our current relationship committment. I believe that the specific people we do pursue long term relationships with are determined by timing and life decisions -- what our life circumstances are at the time that we meet that person, in addition to whether or not we are mentally and emotionally open to the possibility of a relationship at that time.

I can ramble on and on about this subject, but I hope I explained my opinion somewhat clearly. Some books I found enlightening on the topic are: The Road Less Travelled, The Five Love Languages, The Mastery of Love.

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Since I suggested it, I better comment! :)

I am a firm believer that there are many people with whom we can share long-term, successful relationships. And I side with Angela—our current life situation and decisions dictate who we end up committing to.

Let's examine mathematically the idea that there is only one right person for me. There are about 6 billion people in the world. Let's say 50% of them are women. My available pool is now 3 billion ladies. Let's assume that the one who is right for me is within 10 years of my current age—a reasonable assumption. If we say, for a back-of-the-envelope calculation, that the 3 billion ladies are evenly distributed between the ages of 0 and 80, that means that the pool of women that might be right for me is comprised of 375,000,000 women. If I believed that there was only 1 right woman for me, how could I ever be happy with anyone I was with, when the odds that she was THE ONE are only 0.000000267%!

Unless you're willing to believe that only 1 out of every 375 million people ends up with the person that is THE ONE, you'd have to find a way to reduce the odds a lot, like by assuming that that person was born in your country, or your state, or your province, or your home town. The trouble here is that we venture into the theory of "predestination." To make these odds even remotely achievable, you have to assume that "something" has a hand in putting you in touch with THE ONE, or that it always just "works out" that way. I am personally not a believer in predestination. Of course, there's no way to prove that, but at the very least we have the ILLUSION of free will. Since I can't see any evidence for predestination, I have to believe that I can have a successful relationship with many women out there, and I have chosen the one that I have based on my life experiences and situation.

There are probably hundreds, maybe thousands, of people that are perfect for us. We are talking about true love right...if we were talking about lust...millions..never mind.

You have to decide to make a relationship work after the time allotted dosage of happy pheremones is naturally depleted.
We are not naturally very good at monogamy; men having a portion of their sperm that is designed to block and kill other sperm seems to prove that and women having the ability to disguise their fertility window..sneaky sneaky.

Anyway it is way more fun to retain the romantic notions about Love in order to sell books and make movies.

If we are constantly growing as an individual, then I think that the type of the right relationship (either sex) will change as we change. The person that might be terrific for us today might not give us what we need ten years from now and another nuturing relationship will enter our lives. We must be open to these life-changing experiences.

One has to work at any relationship. Soul-mate? I think its overated. In India, arranged marriages do work rather fine. Both work towards it without any illusions or expectations.

Gautami, thanks for visiting!

I think you bring up some interesting points. They brought some additional questions to my mind.

Is anyone familiar with any statistics regarding the success of arranged marriages? Are the two involved often able to build a solid foundation for a healthy, happy life long relationship?

Do our illusions and expectations interfere with maintaining happiness in our chosen (unarranged) relationships?

Are there "soul mates"? I am not quite sure what my own answer is to this question. I do feel that there are certain people you meet with whom you have an instant attraction (mental, intellectual, and/or physical) and understanding. Not quite sure how to explain that...is it because we are connected in some other-worldly sense? Or were connected in a past life? Not sure....

What do you guys think?

I definately agree that the idea of a single, 'destined' soulmate is perpetuated all the time in movies/books, and such. Is it just because it's that far away from reality, that it makes for a really good story? I don't know many people with super-powers, though I've certainly seen a lot of movies about them... Why do we cling to one idea as being true, aching when it doesn't come true.. and yet, we're perfectly fine accepting the other as total fiction..?

Still.. I want it to be true. And it's a lot harder to accept when it's not.

Part of what complicates this, is that I'm not so sure it's realistic to find someone that's "just like me", when I'm not even the same person from one day to the next. I've never been. The 'me' at my mom's house was totally different than the me at my dad's... My friends each had a very different relationship with me, and *I* was different with each of them, to suit both - what they needed me to be, and what I needed to be while I was with them. The relationships I've had are no different. In each, I would have described feeling like there was never a time that I was more "myself", even though the "me" I was during each was different than the others.

Little more on this later on, must leave now :) [and, apparently I never clicked go... wrote this hours ago..]

> Is anyone familiar with any statistics regarding the success of arranged marriages? Are the two involved often able to build a solid foundation for a healthy, happy life long relationship?

Do our illusions and expectations interfere with maintaining happiness in our chosen (unarranged) relationships?

I wonder a lot if we (western civ.) fully understand what arranged marriages truly mean to both people, their families, etc.. I always feel like they've been cheated.. that they've not had the chance to find and explore relationships with people they've "fallen" for through the natural course of their lives, and blah blah, all that that we claim is the way it should work. :)

But we're always on the lookout for a sign to bail, and way over 50% now find it.. and do. Is it wrong to?

I had a camp counselor that once sat me aside, and asked me to talk about my parents' divorce. He was trying to be sure that I would never grow up believing divorce was okay, and said everything he could think of to convince me that what they'd done was wrong. (there was a strong religious spin to what he was saying though - God wanted them to be together, would've worked through them to fix it, if they'd only given Him time, etc.. Words that [even at that time] meant nothing to me, and were so generic, that by definition had nothing to do with my actual parents' relationship, and everything to do with what he expected every marriage to be.) I clearly remember defending their decision, and trying to describe the level of anger and fighting and mistrust that was a daily experience, for all of us. They divorced, and all the anger, all the fear, all the everything, vanished. Wholly and totally removed from my life.

Them being apart was better. That was simply a Truth for me. He said it was impossible to go against God's will and find happiness. *shrug* They were each happy afterwards.. both marrying people that they had much better relationships with. It gave me years of stability, after 4 years of .. not that.

The reason I mention this.. is that some folks will consider that a failed marriage, and I consider it a successful divorce. That's a stat I'd be curious to see reported, too.

If my mother's parents and my father's parents had arranged for their marriage, in an environment where talking about divorce makes as much sense as talking about replacing your own parents/siblings with ones you get along better with, would either of them have been better off? Would they even have fought about the things they did, in the first place? That's the bit that I don't know. I think the fights we have (non-arranged) are different than theirs (arranged). And the risks of those fights are different too.. If I'm not careful, I will lose my wife. If I'm not trustworthy, I'll lose my wife. (But, in some cases, if I'm truthful I might lose her too, interestingly enough..) There are very specific consequences..

But if I couldn't lose her... if it was arranged/permanent, could I be as careless as I wanted? As untrustworthy? Would I be? The only thing I can think to compare it to is my folks... who I'm at no risk of losing (my mom can't un-mom from me...). What point would there be to lie? With no risk, there's simply no reason to hide anything. Nothing but time, simply, to make our arranged marriage the relationship it deserves to me, without being so focused on avoiding its potential demise.. :)

Mostly, I don't know. I live here. :) And unless my parents are plotting something that I'm unaware of, it's not like I have much choice, anyway. :)

Loki, I think each of us has to decide for ourselves what our definition of marriage is. Do you believe it should be forever? Is it a legal institution? A religious institution? Is it necessary at all?

Is it really realistic to expect that we will spend our lives with one person? I think judi's comment explains the situaton well. We are ever changing -- as we grow emotionally and intellectually our relationship needs change. The person you are with may or may not grow in sync with you. If they don't, then the relationship may meet its natural end, and another relationship will most likely present itself which will fulfill your current needs. Our society exepcts that you pick one person in your early 20s to spend the rest of your life with. Is it reasonable? Most people can't even pick a career that they will do for the rest of their lives!

Therefore, I don't necessarily believe that couples who divorce have failed. In fact I don't necessarily believe in the necessity of marriage given the fact that we are all ever changing -- unfortunately it is necessary for many legal reasons.

We are social creatures, and although we like to think that we're special and unique, the idea is only slightly true when people are easily labeled and divided, profiled if you will. The ONE is a magical thought that brings us comfort, but in reality I think there are several people who could be THE ONE for each of us.

It's not a static ONE, either. As LV7 said, we are different people at different times and places of our lives. None of us are the person we were ten years ago.

Maybe marriages work when possibles ONEs grow together through those changes.

No. There are many people for everyone. If two people meet and decide to engage in a long term relationship they need to have an understanding of each other. Grow together, share interests, love one another for who they are and not what you want or expect them to be.

I've been having trouble expressing my thoughts about this particular topic because I can talk all day about my feelings regarding this subject.

Be there for each other! Live, love, share, learn, grow, nurture, understand, become best friends, etc.

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