Read this if you are not sure he’s the one

By Kim Quindlen

It’s such a terrifying thing, isn’t it? The one. So final. So intimidating. So I’ve-heard-this-phrase-a-thousand-times-already-so-it-must-be-serious. It’s the be all and end all. It’s the your life has been leading up to this moment moment.

He’s just a person. Just a guy. A very important one to you, probably. The person you love more than anyone else, probably. But still, just a guy, just a person. Not the cure for your insecurities, or the source of all of your happiness. Just a person that you love dearly, probably.

But sometimes it doesn’t feel like that. Sometimes it feels like he’s supposed to be so much more than that. Like if you don’t have him, if you haven’t found him, the one, then you still have a long way to go. Your life means nothing yet. It’s still missing a huge chunk. Like, yes you should work hard and you should learn to provide for yourself and you should find a career or discover your life’s calling, but even after you’ve done all that, you better have a reason to give people when they ask “How come no one’s scooped you up yet?”

As if you’re just sitting there, doing all these things that are cool and exciting and important to you, but you’re just doing it to pass the time until he comes around to give your life meaning. Like he’s supposed to be your lifesaver and your sole purpose for living and your only source of light and the one you turn to for answers and your guide and your fixer.

It doesn’t have to be like that. You don’t need him to find meaning and fulfillment and joy in your life. Your existence does not become validated when he finds you.

But it also doesn’t mean that he can’t be a huge and important puzzle piece in your life and in your happiness.

Sometimes it feels like we either have two options:

Find a man and be happy, but give up all sense of independence and purpose and fulfillment and power. Find it all in him.

Or, hate men, because they’re evil and they take away our independence. We are self-sufficient and we don’t need a man. But if we do find one, if we find a guy who makes us happy and we love him deeply, it must mean we no longer have a life or a purpose of our own.

Either situation can happen, but neither one has to be true. Neither one has to ever be the case.

It is possible to truly be happy on your own, to learn how to love yourself. To appreciate your own company. To find meaning outside of your love life. But that doesn’t make love bad. Love is not a cop-out. Falling in love does not mean that you’re giving up on any kind of semblance of being a bad ass bitch who runs her own life.

Maybe try to just forget about the idea of the one. It might freak you out. It freaks me out sometimes. It makes me feel like it’s some kind of button I have to push. Yes, I have found the one. *presses button* Now everything in my life will learn to mold itself around his very existence.

Sometimes it feels like that, but only when I let the pressures and expectations of everything and everyone around me get inside my own head. But then I try to remember that other people’s opinions are not going to move my life in one direction or another. My opinion is what moves me, my opinion is what makes decisions, my opinion is the thing that leads my life down a certain path. Other people’s opinions may sometimes get in the way, and it’s hard to ignore them sometimes, but they really don’t matter. No one really cares that much about what I’m doing or who I’m loving. I know that my family and friends care if I’m happy, but they don’t care how. And I know that outside of that small circle, it doesn’t matter.

People might make snap-judgments about you, sometimes unintentionally but sometimes on purpose. Either way, it happens. It’s just life. It’s not something to be bitter about, or something to stress over. It doesn’t make someone a bad person. It’s part of human nature sometimes. It’s just a thing. It’s gone in an instant. People will think things about you and then they will forget them, because they are thinking about their life and who’s judging them. At the end of the day, you’re the only one who has to live your own life.

What really matters is how you feel. What really matters is that you’re happy in your life. You’re doing what you want. Maybe you don’t have it all together (you probably definitely don’t have it all together) but that’s okay. As long as you’re trying. As long as you’re waking up every day and trying to become better than the person you were yesterday.

There’s a place for him in all of that. If you really love him, if he makes you feel free and joyful and loved and cherished and taken care of, if he’s proud of you and he encourages you and he believes that you can do whatever you set your mind on, he may very well be a good fit in your life. He doesn’t have to become your life, but love is important and he can certainly give you love. He can certainly bring joy and happiness and encouragement to you, and you are just as capable of giving it back to him.

It doesn’t have to be black and white. It doesn’t have to be choose him or choose your independence. You can choose both. It’s up to you. It’s your life, it’s your happiness. Don’t worry about whether or not he’s the one. Don’t worry about whether or not he’s your soulmate or whether or not everybody else thinks this is the right move for you. Don’t worry about it being this gigantic, earth-shattering move. Just think about it. Do you love each other? Do you make each other happy? Do you feel like you could build a life with him?

There’s no choice that is better than the other, as long as you’re living truthfully and following your gut and choosing what you want. Don’t be afraid of love, because love is an incredible thing. But don’t be afraid of not having it, because you can find it in other people besides him. Listen to your gut, listen to your instinct. Whatever you want is the right choice.

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