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Finding “The One” by Chance, Keeping “The One” by Choice

Finding “The One” by Chance, Keeping “The One” by Choice

It’s an ongoing debate, in my own head anyway. Does ‘the one’ just exist or do we have to work at it?

Are some couples happier because they found the right partner, or do they work harder at being the right partners?

Or, my own pondering…are some people just totally inept at ever being truly happy with any single person?

Is ‘the one’ out there?

It seems a lot of us think of these questions. Married or single. Male or female. The issue doesn’t discriminate. It just nags at many of us.

If I could count people who comment or message me about my blog as research, I would say it’s the reason a lot of people contemplate or get divorced. The search for ‘the one.’ The belief that they married the wrong person and the right one is out there somewhere waiting for them. (Or, they think they found them already.)

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And, for those of us who are single, we’re sitting around waiting for ‘the one’ to magically appear in our lives. Or, we’re actively pursuing looking for him or her. Or, we’ve decided that we are going to just be happy on our own and ‘the one’ will come along when we least expect it. Whatever it is, it’s all about ‘the one.’

Maybe, maybe not

One school of thought is, ‘yes, the one is out there.’ The quotes say something like, “You’ll never find the right one until you let go of the wrong one.” Or, how all the failed relationships were just leading to the perfect one. This might be true. Or, it might not.

It might be more about making it right. Sure, there are people who are better for each other. People who will have chemistry, share common interests, connect. And, others just don’t work at all. We all have that friend’s husband who we say “there is no way I could be married to him.” So, no, not anyone can be ‘the one.’ But, I’m not sure it can’t be the one you’re with. Or the one you were with.

Most of us start dating for some reason. Some initial attraction. Something that draws us to the other person. Many relationships end quickly, like the next morning when the wine has worn off and you wonder what the heck you were thinking. Or, a few weeks later when you realize he really doesn’t have a job, is living with his parents, and he’s 45.

Other relationships go on from there.  You enjoy each other’s company. Are physically attracted to one another. And/or think it’s a good thing. You start to share your lives with each other. Introduce the kids. And, start making plans together. You might even get married. You are a couple.

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And that’s where the road divides. For a few lucky ones, it goes straight ahead. Onward and upward, to bigger and better things. There might be a few bumps along the way, but they continue on.

For too many others, the road goes off in another direction. Doubt sets in. Communication starts to fail. They forget what they ever saw in the person. And, maybe a new road pops up that looks like a better option. A straighter path to the destination.

The thing is, all roads have their problems. It’s whether you fix it or build a new one that is the question. So how do you know?

By Chance

This is where that combination of chance and choice comes in. Chance is meeting someone. Choice is making it work. We have all had chances to meet ‘the one’ but are we willing to choose that person over and over again.

There is something about meeting someone in your 20s that seems to be problematic. My argument, you have no idea who you are at that age. It’s that college/post-college time when you’re your most rebellious. It’s the time when you are trying to decide who you want to be. Trying to live up to your expectations of yourself. Finding someone who also lives up to those expectations.

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So maybe who we choose during that time is not someone who will easily adjust to who we become when we’ve finally settled in to who we really are. Or, maybe we won’t adjust to them. Maybe that’s when we find a new ‘one.’ Someone who gets us the way we are now.

And, that makes sense. We all want to be loved for who we are. But, is it worth the sacrifices? All the years you invested? The kids? The possibility of being alone for the rest of your life?

And what if you weren’t in your 20s? What if you just met a year or two ago and things just got too complicated? It was too difficult to blend families. You got used to being on your own and didn’t want to give up your freedom. Or, perhaps, you got scared of getting hurt again.

Whatever the scenario, the reality is, you already found ‘the one’ but are now debating letting ‘the one’ go. Unless you choose not to.

By Choice

You can choose to stay with that one. Make things better. Go to counseling. Learn to communicate better. Work at it. But, I mean, really, really work at it.

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This is where the choice truly makes a difference. How hard are you willing to work at it? And, perhaps just as importantly, how willing is the other person to work at it? It really does take two to make a relationship work.

When you work together, you can establish the communication, commitment and collaboration (the 3Cs of relationships, in my opinion) it takes to find what’s missing. What you lost. Or, learn what each other wants now. You can choose to rediscover ‘the one’ you’re with.

Are you ‘the one’ you’re looking for?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out. Sometimes both people aren’t willing to do the work. Which begs the question, of me anyway, are some people just never going to be happy with any single person? Oftentimes, it’s only one person who actually has a problem with the relationship. The other person is perfectly happy and sees no real need to work on anything. They understand you’re not happy, but nothing they do seems to make it any better. So why should it be different in any other relationship, with any other ‘one’?

Maybe the core of the problem is that ‘the one’ you’re not happy with is yourself. Maybe that’s the person you need to worry about first. Perhaps your significant other will understand this and give you all the time you need to figure that out. Perhaps he or she won’t and you’ll need to do it on your own. Whatever the case, ‘the one’ you’re looking for is you. Find you, and maybe then you will find ‘the one.’

Featured photo credit: MarkGroves.tv via markgroves.tv

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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