Stop Looking for "The One" and Start Being "The One"

If there is someone out there for you — "the one" — rest assured you won't find them.

Everybody is a little bit crazy. There isn't a single person in the world who will drive you a little bit crazy, and there isn't a single person in the world who won't be driven a little bit crazy by you if you decide to live together and try to make it work.

We can spend our time looking for this person, only to be repeatedly disappointed by the fact that being in relationship means evolving together, needing to sacrifice and compromise parts of your crazy to meet the needs of the other, needing to inform the other of such things, and needing to graciously accept that you exhibit questionable behavior too.

We can continue to be disappointed by trying to find a new partner only to realize that problems of relationships are fundamental to humans sharing a life together.

The issue is not the partners. The issue is our expectation of what building a lifelong relationship with a cohabiting partner entails.

One day, I finally internalized that relationship is the act of contributing to the partnership. Moreover, the relationship requires no questioning of its validity for growth. So now the questions I ask myself have shifted from

Is my partner the right person? Are we compatible? Will I be able to live the rest of my life with this person?

to inquiries like

How am I being a contribution to our partnership today? How can I be a contribution tomorrow? What have I done in the past that has driven my partner a little crazy, and what lead me to do those things? How can I better my attitude about moments of growth in our relationship? How can I inform my partner of their craziness more graciously? What do we both want out of the relationship? How can I help enable those things?

Don't get me wrong, I think inquiries assessing the validity of a relationship are important if you are looking for that validation, and there are many situations where this is appropriate.

But no one needs that validation to decide that you want to contribute to a relationship. The act can be selflessly given away at no cost. What kind of partner are you being if your operating premise is that you will only contribute if you believe that the partnership qualifies as a worthwhile venture?

Relationships become worthwhile ventures because you contribute to them. Not the other way around.

This realization has taken a very long time to mold into shape, but it has slowly become the rock foundation of my decision making process in my marriage.

Adopting this framework of thought has lifted the pressures of needing to feel that the relationship is whole, and has instead actually helped me feel whole, knowing that I am doing something to better the relationship.

That's not the whole story.

I had a conversation with my wife the other day about how by looking at people's instagrams, you are given the wrong impression about what it's like to have a child. Watching stories about the child laughing and doing silly things is delightful.

Our 3-month old is totally affecting us in ways we didn't anticipate — and not all necessarily in ways that are emotionally easy to deal with, like struggling to find time with the spouse, being in a state of anxiety and stress when the child won't stop crying, among other things... I'm sure other parents can relate.

Just a casual reminder that, while I think many of us have struggles that give us trouble on a day-to-day basis, it's not so easy to share these things on social media. What you see online is almost always not the whole story, and that everyone has something that's difficult, perplexing, or troublesome in front of them.

You are a human too.

Maybe the phrase "love yourself" has become cliché. But if you dig into the phrase a little bit, I feel there's a lot of significant meaning there.

It means to treat yourself with the same respect you'd treat others you care about. It means to be empathic, compassionate, and caring towards yourself, the same way you'd be empathetic, compassionate, and caring for your loved ones.

Go exercising, cause that's how you treat your body well. Let your mind explore and try new things to quench your creative thirst. Explore current or new hobbies or find a new passion project. The ideas are endless.

Basically, if a significant person in your life came up to you and said, "Hey, I'm thinking of trying ___." As long as that thing wasn't harmful to others or themselves, wouldn't you want them to try it, see what comes of it, learn from it, be invigorated by the process of learning, and watch them grow?

Yet, somehow, we find ourselves always doubting ourselves and getting in our own way instead of being that supportive friend that we are to others. Why is that?