I Thought I Found “The One” — I Was Wrong

Thanks for studying Can We Speak?, a intercourse and relationships column that goals to sort out the burning questions on intercourse, courting, relationships, and breakups that you just’re too afraid to ask your accomplice — or possibly even your besties. Final time, relationship therapist Moraya Seeger DeGeare, LMFT, helped a reader who couldn’t appear to search out somebody they wished so far long-term. This week, we heard from Refinery29 readers about their stances on discovering their soulmate or “the one” they’d stick with perpetually… and if “the one” even exists.

Do you could have a dilemma or query you’d wish to see answered as a part of a future Can We Speak? Submit it right here or ship us an e mail at [email protected]


Leah Marie, 39
Williamsville, NY 

After Leah Marie misplaced her mother to an bronchial asthma assault at 16 and her dad to pancreatic most cancers at 21, she discovered it troublesome to navigate her grownup relationships, a few of which did extra hurt than good. “I seemed in all of the unsuitable locations and realized nearly each lesson the exhausting approach,” Leah Marie says. When she lastly discovered the particular person she noticed as “the one,” she was 37 years outdated and twice divorced.

“I married my first husband as a result of I used to be determined for stability,” she says. “He was additionally somebody I wasn’t bodily drawn to, however I informed myself it was shallow of me to suppose that approach.” They ultimately acquired married, however about 5 years in and one daughter later, Leah Marie says she discovered herself stressed and wanting out. “He wasn’t my particular person,” she remembers. “After I left that marriage, I did precisely what you’re not alleged to do: I hopped proper into one other relationship and introduced my unhealed wounds and emotional baggage with me. I used to be a late bloomer when it got here to realizing my sexuality and wished to discover the elements of me that had by no means seen the sunshine of day. I dated (and lived with) a lady that I used to be very drawn to for about two years.” 

After that relationship ended, Leah Marie dove into on-line courting. “As a substitute of constructing my very own confidence, I outsourced the love I used to be missing and married the primary particular person I went on a date with,” she says. “We dated for 3 months earlier than he moved in, and have been engaged 5 months later.” In the meantime, she was ignoring crimson flags and shrugging off what her instinct was telling her: that he wasn’t the so-called “one.” “Two years into our marriage I dropped to my knees crying in my bed room as a result of I knew what I had executed,” she remembers. “I had rushed into one other relationship with somebody I wasn’t appropriate with as a result of I used to be afraid of being alone. The worry of abandonment from the demise of my dad and mom had woven its approach into all of my relationships, particularly the connection I had with myself.” 

So she began doing a little self-work and extricated herself from that partnership. “I knew I wanted to interrupt my patterns; I knew I couldn’t maintain dragging my daughter via these relationships,” Leah Marie says. “I knew I wanted to do the scary factor and discover ways to be alone… I needed to face all the elements of myself that I hadn’t given sufficient consideration to. I needed to give myself the love I so desperately looked for in outdoors sources.” 

It turned out this was the most effective factor she might have executed for herself. She realized she needed to make herself the “one” she centered on, in an effort to discover somebody nice. “As soon as I started residing my life for me, realizing my price, doing the internal work, and fulfilling myself, I met the particular person I used to be meant to be with,” she says. “Absolutely the love of my life. And it was as a result of I didn’t want him. He wasn’t filling any type of void. He was additional, like a cherry on a sundae. We simply celebrated our one-year wedding ceremony anniversary final month. Life is sweet if you’re good to your self.” 


Corritta Lewis, 33

As a queer child rising up in small-town Ohio, Lewis didn’t suppose a lot about discovering “the one.” All she actually wished was to maneuver away to an even bigger metropolis. “That’s what I cared about greater than something,” she says.” I struggled for somewhat bit with my sexuality all through highschool… However as soon as I lastly acquired out, I began to develop into 100% safe and didn’t care what different folks thought. I wasn’t trying to find validation or hiding from my household, and that was necessary.” 

However little did Lewis know on the time, she truly had discovered somebody nice in her hometown of Warren, OH. It was there she first met and later reunited with Mea Hooks. The 2 had the identical group of buddies in highschool, however by no means frolicked one on one. After Lewis graduated, she got here residence to Warren on a snowy mid-winter break. On the way in which, her automobile slid right into a ditch. “I ended up in entrance of her home and he or she let me keep there whereas a few of my different brothers got here to assist us get out of the ditch,” Lewis remembers. “That’s how we reconnected.” 

For the subsequent a number of years, the 2 stayed in contact on Fb. However it wasn’t till after Lewis had moved away to California — and been once-married and divorced — that they actually acquired shut. Though on the time, Lewis’s life felt as stormy because it had the day she slid into the ditch, Hooks was a beacon of sunshine. She listened to and supported Lewis, even from afar, as Hooks nonetheless lived in Ohio. Quickly, Hooks got here to California for a brief go to. “I dropped her off on the airport in L.A. and I couldn’t cease crying,” Lewis remembers. “It was freaking me out; I’m not likely a crier.” After the dropoff, Lewis parked her automobile at a seaside close to the airport and simply watched the planes fly over her, sobbing and questioning which one Hooks was on. 

Quickly, Lewis requested Hooks to maneuver in along with her. Now the 2 are married, have a toddler, and are touring the world collectively. They’re at present primarily based in Mexico however transfer round quite a bit. Lewis went from considering the concept of “the one” was made up and barely worrying about discovering such an individual to “100% believing in” the idea. 

“She made me imagine in love and really willed me via a few of the worst moments of my life,” Lewis says. “The largest factor I’d inform my youthful self about love, now, is to work on your self and never stress about on the lookout for that one particular person. Oftentimes, issues discover us once we’re prepared.” 


Alice Eve, 29
Good, France

Rising up in Fort Price, TX, within the 2000s, Alice Eve believed in the concept “everyone had a soulmate on the market,” and that everybody’s story was destined to finish “fortunately ever after.” “That would have been partly as a result of I used to be completely obsessive about fairy tales and Barbie tradition,” she says. 

However in an effort to truly discover “the one,” Alice Eve says she needed to be taught the exhausting approach. When she first began courting her husband, she felt she “knew for certain that he was the one,” she says. “I used to be sure that we have been meant to be and that we’d final as a result of my mind, coronary heart, and loins all had equal weight within the equation. I’m ashamed to confess that I used to be even somewhat cocky about my sensible determination… I used to be extraordinarily certain that my search was over.” 

Nonetheless, the couple divorced after 6 years, and this introduced Alice Eve to the conclusion that “no one is aware of when and in the event that they’ve met ‘the one.’” 

“You’ll fall in love — that particular person might be your ‘right-for-all-time’ or ‘right-for-a-time’ accomplice,” she displays now, “and also you’ll take care of no matter occurs.” She’s since come to the conclusion that you just’ll meet folks you’re keen on in life and “how lengthy it lasts is anybody’s guess.”

“You’ll be able to’t actually work on that,” Alice Eve says. “What you possibly can work on is loving and cherishing your accomplice and making probably the most out of the time you could have collectively.”

Though her husband wasn’t it, to some extent she nonetheless believes she made an excellent determination to marry him. “We had many glad years collectively and, even after divorce, we remained cordial, amicable, and respectful, and we proceed to brilliantly co-parent a well-adjusted baby,” she says. 

Her path additionally led her to search out love once more. She says: “As we speak, I’m fortunately engaged to a person who I hope is my proper ‘one forever.’”


Kirsten McKinley, 34
Jersey Metropolis, NJ 

Working as a marriage planner, McKinley has heard a lot of tales from individuals who have been sure they’d discovered “the one.” Maybe by commerce, this led her to categorize herself as a “hopeless romantic.”  

“I at all times had excessive expectations of what my very own journey can be like,” she says. “I wished that rom-com spark, the sudden coup d’amour, and the assured feeling of getting discovered a soulmate.”

McKinley’s life didn’t go fairly that route, and he or she says that’s okay.

“I truly met my husband at an after-wedding occasion {that a} shopper was throwing,” she says. “Though there was immediate attraction, it wasn’t immediate love, and we each needed to work via our personal points earlier than being able to be in a wholesome relationship.”

As soon as they began courting, her idea of “the one” nonetheless shifted. After going via life’s ups and downs collectively, she realized it’s not about discovering that excellent different half — it’s about discovering somebody keen to construct a future with you. “I now imagine that soulmates are made, not born, via the sluggish intertwining of lives, hopes, and desires,” McKinley says.

The couple in the end acquired married, and so they work at their relationship on daily basis. 


Elena*, 34

Elena says, to this point, she’s glad sufficient with the way in which her life goes, with no “soulmate” in sight. “I really feel fairly good about my buddies, profession, and common life,” she says. “I get together with my household, I spend numerous time open air, and I personal a home. I’m proud to achieve success in most facets of my life to this point, besides absolutely the trainwreck of relationships in my rearview mirror.” 

To this point, she’s been in 4 long-term relationships — the longest of which was six years. “I do know that I are likely to gravitate in direction of individuals who appear to be they want ‘assist,’ whether or not it’s psychological well being points, lastly transferring out of their dad and mom’ homes (which has occurred twice now) or each,” Elena says. 

The relationships have crumbled for quite a lot of causes. “My first boyfriend was dishonest on me; the second’s psychological well being points have been an excessive amount of; within the third, we grew aside; and the latest was so full of resentment it turned me right into a shell of myself,” she says. “I feel a few of that is reflective of my very own self-worth, the place I imagine I want to supply one thing in an effort to be worthy, so I tackle ‘tasks.’” 

Now Elena says she feels able to date once more, and he or she’s able to set stronger boundaries and follow them. “I do know I want to interrupt this sample,” she says. “I realized that I’ve lowered my requirements in an effort to be partnered, and that’s not one thing I’m keen to do anymore… I’m executed losing time on individuals who aren’t ok.” 

She’s useless set on not “settling” now, and goes to belief her intestine going ahead. She doesn’t know if that may lead her to “the one,” however hopes it can not less than result in lastly feeling content material in the case of love.

“I used to imagine in ‘the one,’ however I don’t anymore,” she says. “I feel most individuals in glad relationships have ended up with an excellent match for themselves, however it’s exhausting to imagine you discovered your soulmate with your personal restricted location and circle of interactions. The one purpose I’m nonetheless motivated to search out somebody is that I do need companionship, despite the fact that it’s confirmed excruciatingly exhausting to attach with folks, and I’ve been traditionally drawn to males who’re horrible matches for me. I do really feel lonely, and I wish to find yourself with an excellent accomplice for myself.” For Elena, that may be greater than sufficient. 

*Names have been modified. 

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