published Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

Harpe: Trying to find The One can be confusing

By Corin Harpe

At my age, 25, not a day goes by that I do not get notification of another engagement or marriage. This summer, at least 10 people I have grown up with are getting married,. I have come to the realization that this will continue to happen throughout my life.

After the marriages come children and, as this happens, I realize that I am growing up. The first few marriages that occur in the early 20s are always a shock, then, like an avalanche, more and more follow.

It's a time of happiness -- everyone's falling in love and thinking about their futures -- but it can also be a scary and confusing time.

I am not sure if men feel this way, but it can be difficult for a woman to watch all her friends get married and wonder why she is the only one left. So just how do all these people find The One?

It's human nature to want to search for some sort of pattern or formula, and looking for someone to marry is no exception. Disney movies and romantic comedies show us that love is magic and that it happens basically at first sight. These proponents of magic advocate that you always know when someone is The One, but is it really that simple?

What if you are sure that you have found The One but they do not see you as The One? The magic of love suddenly transforms into harsh reality as you analyze why it didn't work out. When relationships that seem "meant to be" fail, there is confusion and loss because the one person that you thought you were meant for is gone and you're left to find that magic moment with someone else.

Tons of relationship and dating books have been written from the ashes of failed romances. These books portray relationships as a formula. If he doesn't wait one day to call you versus two, then it indicates this ... or if he brings up a certain topic in conversation, it means that.

The books try to analyze human behavior precisely, to let readers have some sort of clue to know if a relationship is going to work or if it is not. Many of the rules and regulations advocated by these books are a part of our culture, such as the guy always calls the girl, or it is important to act like you are not interested at first. But are relationships really based on a set of rules and expectations?

Relationships should develop in their own right as a process of getting to know someone rather than the game-like process of making sure the other person is doing the right thing. I can see the danger of being so consumed in the technicalities of a relationship that you forget why you are even with the person.

While I believe in not getting caught up in what the other person is doing wrong, I still think these books can help you to know if you are being treated right, at least in the beginning of a relationship.

With all these influences to follow advice or not, to read meanings into people's actions or to follow your heart, the process of finding The One is still very confusing, and it brings me back to the question: Is there really one person for everyone?

Is The One a perfect person who has no flaws, someone who you can get along with seamlessly, or is it someone you consider a friend? You may have differing interests, but you can carry a conversation and enjoy the person's company? Or maybe it is someone who simply treats you right.

In reality The One is probably a combination of a few of these factors. I guess, like many things, love is left up to fate. It all depends on timing, but that does not make it any less frustrating.

Contact Corin Harpe at corinharpe@gmail.com.

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