Is there such a thing as 'The One'?

"I love Dean Staley. He is DEFINITELY The One."
That is just one of the sugar-coated, I'm-in-love-and-it's-the-real-thing phrases that thirteen-year-old Holly would trot out on a regular basis. And Dean Staley was The One...Or at least he was until he started seeing another girl in Year 10 and I decided that I loved my history teacher more.
And so the pattern would continue. If you had asked me when I was fourteen I just KNEW that Nigel Harman from Eastenders was The One. Not that I had a new 'One' every week (it was more on a monthly basis...) but in hindsight it shows both how significant and insignificant finding The One can be. When you are a teenager every romance looks to be the real deal, The One you will marry, The One you will spend the rest of your life with, The One who will own your heart forever. But when you get older it suddenly takes a lot more to consider someone as being the person with whom you will spend the rest of your life. And let's face it, that is a big deal and something that requires more than just liking the same Pokemon as someone, which was my boyfriend criteria when I was eight. Which then moved on to liking the same sandwiches when I was ten. If someone loved a tomato ketchup sandwich as much as me then we were definitely marriage material.
On the other hand, I knew my ex was not the one when our third date involved him taking me to a field so he could smoke an illegal substance.

But then I met my current partner, and to all intents and purposes he is The One for me. How do I know? Well, he cooks me spaghetti bolognese, likes Yankee Candles and always knows where I've left my shoes. I love him unlike I have ever loved anyone else and. I fully consider him to be The One, so whilst I would always argue that there IS such a thing as that elusive partner that you were just meant to find and meant to spend the rest of your days with, I would also argue that maybe there can be more than just one The One. (That does make sense, right?)

In Maria Realf's debut novel, The One, she shows what can happen when you think you've found your happy-ever-after only to have your life turned on its head when a former flame makes a reappearance in your life. The concept of this novel really hooked me and I was just as torn as the protagonist, Lizzie, when her first real love, Alex, came back into her life. She was sorted, about to get married within weeks and she was happy. But when Alex comes into her life she is drawn back to him like a moth to a flame. Was Alex her 'One' all along? Was she destined to be with him despite everything that had happened in the meantime? Once you find your 'One' do they ever really go away, meaning that no one will ever come close to making you feel the way that they did?
What about people who get divorced and then go on to find happiness? Just because they may have found their 'One' now doesn't mean that their former partner wasn't once their 'One' too. And what about those who lose their partner? Because they had already found their soulmate, should they expect no one to ever come close to that status ever again?
Of course 'merely' loving someone and thinking of them as your 'One' can be two very different things, as is demonstrated in Maria Realf's novel and that is what grabbed me the most about this wonderfully written, heart-wrenching story.

After talking about this with my partner he offered a thought provoking insight which I am totally stealing (Thanks, Alex.) He said that different people may have different 'Ones' depending upon the path they are going down in life. Let's face it, life can deal you a pretty rubbish hand at times. People change. Circumstances also change and the right person for someone at one point in their life may differ from someone who would be right for someone at a different stage.

So whilst I fully believe that there is such a thing as 'The One', I also fully believe that, for most people during the course of their lives, there is more like 'The Two', 'The Three' or even 'The Four'. (But maybe not 'The Five'. The label kind of loses its shine a bit when you get into five plus territory.)

The One thing I have taken away from Maria's novel (See what I did there..?!) Is when you think you have found The One do everything in your power to hold on to them. Hug them, squish them, cook them spaghetti bolognese (*cough*) and never forget to tell them what they mean to you. Because time is precious, after all. Now I'm off to melt into a big smushy pile of cheese in the corner...


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