# 117 (2013) The One
It’s very hard to explain to someone, in the setting of someone else’s wedding reception, how your partner is not ‘the one’ because there isn’t ‘a one’. In a society where we are still generally programmed to want to settle down with a lifelong partner, get married and have kids, someone saying they are actively not looking for those end points is a difficult standpoint to explain.
My mother said last week that I’d had a lot of partners. What she actually meant was that in 21 years since I’d had my first boyfriend, I’ve had six long term partners. The shortest lasted a year, and the longest eight years. I don’t consider that a lot of partners given that I am not looking for ‘the one’, and considering I have friends in their twenties who have already lost count of the number of conquests they’ve had. I guess it’s a generational thing. My parents have now been married over 40 years.
Is the expectation of the new generation of daters that you will go through numerous partners, even though the end point might still be the same? Or is it simply a differing attitude to the longevity of relationships and what we expect from them. Many twentysomethings parents hope their kids will settle down. And certainly weddings are still revered as a big event and everyone gets very excited. Noone ever says, why would you want to go and do a thing like that? Everyone looks forward to the big day.
Not wanting to settle down in the traditional sense is clearly an individual decision. People are programmed to want security and to procreate so I don’t think we will ever get to the stage where marriage and children are outmoded ways of managing a relationship. But for those of us who have opted out and don’t follow those rules, it’s certainly an interesting ride.
I don’t get sad when I see my friends married off. For some people it really works out. Once they have drifted off and found that corner of ‘happy families’ that suits them and their new life begins I just find new people to hang out with. Because there are always people not settling down. I have older friends and younger friends who, like me, want to hang on to their independence or just aren’t wired for breeding. And that’s fine. We are lucky to live in a society where all things are accepted.
I don’t believe there is only one person for everyone. I don’t even think I believe in lifelong manogamy anymore. And even though I think marriage is an outmoded tradition considering the reasons for its invention I still respect people’s decisions for wanting to get married. Because many people still believe in the reasons behind it – to be legal and have children within wedlock.