The One True Love. It’s that glorious dream that so many poems, books, songs and films are written about. It’s what we’re all dreaming of finding; the person that completes us and that we’ll spend the rest of our lives with.

Whether you believe in the one as someone destined to be with you or whether it’s a person that you happen to fall in love and make a life with, the one is what most people are searching for.

But how easy is it to really find someone who compliments you perfectly and that you can spend your life with? And how often do people settle for less just to fit with society, their friends, their parents or their own wants?

The thought of searching for an elusive perfect person makes most people want to buy 35 cats and set up home with them right away. But it can be done if you put yourself out there and get a bit more of a realistic view by what ‘the one true love’ really means.

True Love: A Life Partner

You’ve heard all those soppy terms for love; the one, a life partner, two halves of one whole, someone to share your life with. These are flung around as descriptions of love that people aspire to. But read them a little more carefully; when you share your life with someone that’s exactly what you do, you share it.

You’re not just going to share your home, which is difficult enough, but your life. You’re going to have to make every decision with them in mind as well as yourself, you’re going to have to spend time with their family and friends, share money, dreams and probably children.

If you pick the wrong person you won’t just be trapped in a house with them, you’ll be trapped in a life. A life that can swiftly move away from what you want and need. You’ve got to ask yourself, can I put up with this person for the rest of my life?

This may have terrified you but it’s not all bad.

A lot of people don’t realise when they move in together or get married just how much their life will change and they will truly become a half of one whole.

With a compatible person this will still at times be very hard, but the pros will outweigh the cons. But with the wrong person it will be intensely difficult and you may find yourself splitting up, or worse, staying together because you’re too scared to go it alone.

So take it from us, think very carefully before you commit to someone.

True Love & Social Norms

The good news when searching for the one is that nowadays there isn’t as much pressure to get married young as there used to be. As of 2013 The Office of National Statistics stated that the average age for a man to get married in the US was 30, and for a woman it’s 28, and the UK falls along similar lines.

In the eighties it was 24 for men and 22 for women, a hell of a lot lower, and in the fifties men were getting married at 22 and women at the average age of 20.

A change of eight years doesn’t seem that much but it is a huge amount when you think of the change that you go through from early to late twenties; often you’re not the same person at 30 as you were at 20.

This gives you almost a decade longer to find the one, that’s a lot of time to date.

However, though the ages have changed, the pressure to get married is still there and anyone who’s single and approaching ‘a certain age’ is looked on as something of a social outcast.

We’ve all experienced it, being the only single one at a dinner party, getting pitying looks from friends, ‘helpful’ acquaintances trying to set you up on hideous blind dates.

Does this sound familiar?

It may sound a bit Bridget Jones-esque but that sort of unhelpful helpfulness can be excruciating and it takes a strong person to ignore it or laugh it off.

If you’ve ever experienced it you may know the feeling of wanting to get someone, anyone, just to avoid the socially awkward encounters. But do you really want to settle?

Luckily, nowadays most people are happy to wait it out to find the perfect person instead of settling. We’ve been programmed to expect true love, unlike older generations who tended to put companionship first, as well as social class.

While it’s good that we’re not selling ourselves to the most suitable partner anymore it does have the drawback that it seems to make it more difficult to find the person you want to tie your life to. How easy is it to find the perfect person who compliments you and shares the same hopes and dreams by the time you’re thirty?

True Love & The Fear Factor

A huge motivating factor in everything, including relationships, is fear.

We all have fears, some rational, such as giant tigers with big teeth, and others irrational; such as Koumpounophobia, the phobia of buttons.

The fear that is associated with love doesn’t have its roots in carnivorous animals or sewn-on fastenings; it comes from the fear of being alone, the fear of being judged for being alone and the fear of the biological clock ticking.

Fear can terrify people into making bad decisions in their love life.

They can be so desperate for a partner for whatever reason that they jump into a bad relationship, telling themselves they’ll make it better, just to have someone.

A lot of the time people just want the kudos of being part of a couple. But more often than not this leads to break ups and misery.

We’re all guilty at some point in our lives for making decisions through fear, but if you’re really looking for ‘the one’ as opposed to ‘the one that will make me look good to society and my mother’ then you need to stop making decisions because you’re scared.

This is easier said than done but you can achieve it.

At the risk of sounding like a Pinterest motivational life quote, you have to love yourself before someone else will love you.

If you can be happy by yourself without needing someone to make you a whole person it is then that you’ll be brave enough to search for the one and not settle for second best.

What all this soppy stuff boils down to is, don’t stay with someone if you don’t love them. It seems simple but lots of people do it.

Where To Look for Love

We know what you’re thinking, stop going on about how hard it is to find love and tell me where to find it.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be one place or situation that’s ideal for meeting people.

Instead, there are lots of ways that people get together, such as work, university, via friends, in bars or through internet dating.

Most people looking for love think the best way is to visit pubs and clubs. However, snogging someone drunkenly in a nightclub is not usually the way a great romance starts.

It appears that most people find their other halves in a way where they can get to know them or that is clear they have something in common, such as university, work, activities and hobbies.

Joining clubs, societies or sports teams is usually a great way of meeting likeminded people. So, if you’re particularly fond of pigeon racing or yarn bombing, then join your local group. You never know, you may find love.

One of the most common ways that people meet their other halves is through mutual friends. Sometimes this is one of the best ways to find a life partner; if they’re friends with your friend then chances are that they’ll have common interests with you.

But what if your friends don’t have any eligible friends, there’s no one at your work, you don’t have any hobbies and the club scene isn’t for you? Where will you find the one? People in this situation would be advised to take a more scientific approach.

True Love & Internet Dating

By scientific approach I mean the best dating sites. They’ve been around for a long time but recently they’ve become more advanced. In theory this should make it easier to find a partner.

Sites like Match allow you to put in your likes and dislikes to find people with similar ones, providing you with a higher chance of finding that special someone.

Dating sites do seem to be one of the best ways to find someone, once you plough through the losers and weirdos. However, a lot of people don’t want to try dating sites because they see them as unromantic.

And let’s face it; there is something clinical and cold about using a computer generated system to find a match. Everyone wants a cute first meeting story; if you imagine yourself as one of the old couples in When Harry Met Sally telling their stories, we met on plentyoffish.com doesn’t sound as good.

However, if you’re avoiding dating sites because of the lack of romance, are you actually hindering your chances of finding true love?

Is Romance Ruining True Love?

Romcoms give us the view that our dating lives should be full of mad dashes to the airport, kissing in the rain and romantic speeches that are off the bat but totally perfect.

Although these moments, if they happen, are lovely, they are not part of an everyday love affair. In your life with your chosen partner you are more likely to be dealing with meals with the in-laws, supermarket shopping trips and parent-teacher meetings.

These boring and frustrating moments will actually make up the most of your relationship.

Does this sound depressing? It is, but in a way it can be romantic.

If you have really found the love of your life then these are the test moments. Can you put up with his parents for the weekend? Can you tolerate her snoring for the rest of your life?

If you can weigh it up and find you can put up with them then you’ve probably got yourself someone special. But all too often people look for the big romantic moments and miss the little ones, they don’t realise that they may have already found the one.

Recognising Love When you Find It

Those pesky romantic comedies have a lot to answer for.

Our romantic aspirations are ruined by them to the point that we believe that if we aren’t doing some serious rain kissing then our relationships aren’t perfect.

Although you have to have some romantic moments in a relationship, they’re not the whole thing and if you get rid of someone because you’re not being swept off your feet every second of the day then you may be getting rid of the one.

It boils down to this, can you tolerate living in the same house as them, can you put up with their quirks, do they have similar life expectations to you and do you want to have sex with them? It’s unromantic but those are the questions that you really have to ask yourself to see if you’ve found the elusive one.

What Is The Answer?

If you’re reading this article hoping for a sure fire way of finding the perfect person for you then you’re out of luck.

There is, of course, no obvious way to find the true love of your life.

But there are ways to make it a bit easier, including opening up to alternative dating experiences, such as dating sites, getting a more realistic view of romance, not making decisions through fear and recognising what you’ve got when you’ve got it.

Having said that, there’s always going to be that one couple who have the disgustingly romantic meeting story and declared their true love for each other in an airport when one of them was about to get onto a plane to leave the country forever.

But just remember, they may have a really romantic story, but they still have to cope with each other’s in-laws just like you and your other half.

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Raw Attraction is the leading magazine for men and women about love and sexuality. Founded in 2012, we aim to bring you life changing articles, podcasts, and videos about love and sex.

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