There is no One.


ONEitis is paralysis. You cease to mature, you cease to move, you cease to be you.

There is no ONE. This is the soulmate myth. There are some good Ones and some bad Ones, but there is no ONE. Anyone telling you anything else is selling you something. There are LOTS of ‘special someones’ out there for you, just ask the divorced/widowed person who’s remarried after their “soulmate” has died or moved on.

This is what trips people up about the soul-mate myth, it is this fantasy that we all at least in some way share an idealization of – that there is ONE perfect mate for each of us, and as soon as the planets align and fate takes it’s course we’ll know that we’re ‘intended’ for each other. And while this may make for a gratifying romantic comedy plot, it’s hardly a realistic way to plan your life. In fact it’s usually paralyzing.

What I find even more fascinating is how common the idea is (mostly for guys) that a nuts & bolts view of life should be trumped by this fantasy in the area of inter-sexual relationships. Guys who would otherwise recognize the value of understanding psychology, biology, sociology, evolution, business, engineering, etc. and the interplay we see these take place in our lives on a daily basis, are some of the first guys to become violently opposed to the idea that maybe there isn’t ‘someone for everyone’ or that there are a lot more ONEs out there that could meet or exceed the criteria we subconsciously set for them to be the ONE. I think it comes off as nihilistic or this dread that maybe their ego investment in this belief is false- it’s like saying God is dead to the deeply religious. It’s just too terrible to contemplate that there maybe no ONE or there maybe several ONEs to spend their lives with. This western romanticized mythology is based on the premise that there is only ONE perfect mate for any single individual and as much as a lifetime can and should be spent in constant search of this ‘soulmate.’ So strong and so pervasive is this myth in our collective society that it has become akin to a religious statement and in fact has been integrated into many religious doctrines as feminization of western culture has spread.

I think there’s been a mischaracterization of ONEitis. It’s necessary to differentiate between a healthy relationship based on mutual respect and a lopsided ONEitis based relationship. I’ve had more than a few guys seeking my advice, or challenging my take on ONEitis, essentially ask me for permission to accept ONEitis as legitimate monogamy. In my estimation ONEitis is an unhealthy psychological dependency that is the direct result of the continuous socialization of the soulmate myth in pop culture. What’s truly frightening is that ONEitis has become associated with being a healthy normative aspect of an LTR or marriage.

I come to the conclusion that ONEitis is based in sociological roots, not only due to it being a statement of personal belief, but by the degree to which this ideology is disseminated and mass marketed in popular culture through media, music, literature, movies, etc. Dating services like eHarmony shamelessly marketeer and exploit exactly the insecurities that this dynamic engenders in people desperately searching for the ONE “they were intended for.” The idea that men possess a natural capacity for protection, provisioning and monogamy has merit from both a social and bio-psychological standpoint, but a ONEitis psychosis is not a byproduct of it. Rather, I would set it apart from this healthy protector/provider dynamic since ONEitis essentially sabotages what our natural propensities would otherwise filter.

ONEitis is insecurity run amok while a person is single, and potentially paralyzing when coupled with the object of that ONEitis in an LTR. The same neurotic desperation that drives a person to settle for their ONE whether healthy or unhealthy is the same insecurity that paralyzes them from abandoning a damaging relationship – This is their ONE and how could they ever live without them? Or, they’re my ONE, but all I need is to fix myself or fix them to have my idealized relationship. And this idealization of a relationship is at the root of ONEitis. With such a limiting, all-or-nothing binary approach to searching for ONE needle in the haystack, and investing emotional effort over the course of a lifetime, how do we mature into a healthy understanding of what that relationship should really entail? The very pollyanna, idealized relationship – the “happily ever after” – that belief in a ONE promotes as an ultimate end, is thwarted and contradicted by the costs of the constant pursuit of the ONE for which they’ll settle for. After the better part of a lifetime is invested in this ideology, how much more difficult will it be to come to the realization that the person they’re with isn’t their ONE? To what extents will a person go to in order to protect a lifetime of this ego investment?

At some point in a ONEitis relationship one participant will establish dominance based on the powerlessness that this ONEitis necessitates. There is no greater agency for a woman than to know beyond doubt that she is the only source of a man’s need for sex and intimacy. ONEitis only cements this into the understanding of both parties. For a man who believes that the emotionally and psychologically damaging relationship he has ego-invested himself  is with the only person in his lifetime he’s ever going to be compatible with, there is nothing more paralyzing in his maturation. The same of course holds true for women, and this is why we shake our heads when the beautiful HB 9 goes chasing back to her abusive and indifferent Jerk boyfriend, because she believes he is her ONE and the only source of security available to her. Hypergamy may be her root imperative for sticking with him, but it’s the soul-mate myth, the fear of the “ONE that got away” that makes for the emotional investment.

The definition of Power is not financial success, status or influence over others, but the degree to which we have control over our own lives. Subscribing to the soulmate mythology necessitates that we recognize powerlessness in this arena of our lives. Better I think it would be to foster a healthy understanding that there is no ONE. There are some good Ones and there are some bad Ones, but there is no ONE.

78 comments

  1. I always thought this idea of the One was something women preoccupied themselves with.

    In any case, it definitely comes from a scarcity mindset.

  2. The definition of Power is not financial success, status or influence over others, but the degree to which we have control over our own lives.

  3. In psychology, there is the concept of the locus of control. People with an external locus of control feel their life is governed by external forces, whereas people with an internal locus of control feel in charge of and lead the path of their life. People with an internal locus of control are less influenced by authority. There is the paradox of how an entrepreneurial businessman, who has an otherwise internal locus of control of his life, can still fall for the external locus of control in matters of love, but of course the key difference, I would think, is emotion. To question love is as taboo as religion: it’s unquestionable.

  4. The soulmate myth is yet another mystical concept that can be exploited by savvy men to extract cheap sex from gullible women.

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  6. This should be taught to all teenagers in all schools in all countries. Girls especially are bombarded with romantic stories from books to TV to film where the ONE idea is implanted and fertilized. Totally unrelated item: I’m reading this post exactly a year after it was published.

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  8. Technically if it was not morally bad to fuck/date multiple women at once then we really wouldn’t care as much about the “One” but since the Matrix and the feminine imperative are ruthlessly trying to strip us of our masculinity then we almost have no choice besides people like us.

  9. Quote: “I think there’s been a mischaracterization of ONEitis. It’s necessary to differentiate between a healthy relationship based on mutual respect and a lopsided ONEitis based relationship.”

    No mischaracterization whatsoever. Oneitis is a lopsided relationship, opposed to a healthy relationship, identified as LTR (Long Term Relationship).

  10. Anyone thought about Alain Badiou? The one is not – but there is an ‘of the one’. Which I think sums up oneitis – for better and for worse.

  11. “Love” or “psychological attachment” is not a social construct, it is an evolutionarily selected trait. Like any inborn impulse, we tend to rationalize our behaviors — such as with our favorite topic, female hypergamy.

    ONEitis is the expression of this bonding trait. It is no more explained as a social construct than thunder and lightning is explained as the wrath of angry gods.

    It’s true there is no “special one”, but that is largely irrelevant to the fact that these impulses kick in at an animalistic level, below and beyond the reaches of the upper layers of our intellects.

    If you are smitten by someone, either you actualize it or you suffer through it — regardless of your understanding about its cause. The longing and the pain are barely effected by such knowledge, though, of course, a rational understanding is beneficial when considering actions to address the pain.

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  17. How much money does she have?

    Two can play this game.

    Since we threw the whole concept of trust, love, and understanding between the sexes out with the bathwater a couple of generations ago.

  18. Good article. I like your perspective. This ONEitis can probably also be referred to as codependency in clinical psychology. Codependency as a term is fairly broad and can relate to many different subjects of dependency… but it is the idea that a person becomes unhealthily tied/preoccupied (dependent) to another person, substance, etc. The person is their life and reality, the focus of all their energy and time; the person is entirely controlled or tries to entirely control their subject of dependence. Anyone interested should check it out. I like that you acknowledge specifically the soul mate myth and how that works against people. That is something that gets ignored and SO many people are unaware of. Just wanted to put more information out there for you or anyone who reads this. -Shade

  19. This is the best website i have been too every since i started reading theses alpha male books, i am 43y old i was in a relationship for 9 years with a women that was semi mental. And for the past 2 years i was actually trying to find someone else. Most women i spoke to have 2 kids full time, they have no hobbies and there life sucks. I was feeling lonely and all until i arrived on this website. And you know what, reading it made me realize that i never had kids, but i don’t have to hassle with a lot of stuff, i am single and i can do what ever i want. Reading this website lifted my spirit, and made me feel great made me realize that a lot of people who are married or in couple are miserable like one of my friend who i went to Cuba with 17y with is girlfriend he told me i am not sure i am even happy with her. While i am having so much fun with 25y old women, okey i keep fit and all and in shape, he is 300 pounds ahh but even then. There are lots of positive to a single life. Been single for 2 years now and i really think i am going to stop searching for that stupid soul mate. God bless this wonderful blog.

  20. We can also blame Disney for this. Think about it. Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Aladin, Princess and the Frog, The Little Mermaid, A Bugs Life, Pocahontas, The Nightmare Before Christmas, etc…

  21. “We can also blame Disney for this.”

    You can, but Disney took his stories from the public domain.

  22. I am speaking from a female perspective here but this is bizarre. You are complaining about a litteral sense of the phrase “he/she is the one” is this correct? Maybe I am too simple but isn’t saying someone is or isn’t the “one” a saying not a myth? Like this dress is not the one, this guy is not the one, this house is not the one…I did not think anyone really took the fairytale idealistic view of prince charming and snow white as reality, yes diluted and crazy is this idea of true love. Saying there is no right person for you is different entirely. That is like saying no one truly knows what their favorite food is or how they like to relax. No relationship is fairytale perfect but there are people who are happy together. The article sounds to me like a person trying to say since there is no such thing as fairytale true love there is no such thing as a truly happy couple. That is not true I can give you proof, my grandparents were married for 65 years happily. I work with a man who praises his wife and loves her dearly and they have been married for 15 years. It is not about finding a perfect person it’s about loving a imperfect person perfectly. My right person may match 30 peoples description but there will only be the one I choose to be with out of love and respect for that person. Why is this wrong? There is much more than ideas and faith going into picking a mate. Chemistry, hormones, matching ideas, morals and goals a just a few parts of deciding if you want to spend any amount of time with someone. There is no magical force driving it to happen but getting to know someone and deciding if they are right for you is not a myth.

  23. How deep are you connecting to people that surround you?? Nowadays, we don't even look at people in the eyes when we walk in the street. We completely lost these connections that we use to have in the past. It’s ironic that we are meant to be connected and at the same time we feel so disconnected, lonely and separate from other people. But you can create an incredibly deep, meaningful connection with people by learning one valuable skill: the art of listening. When people talk, we listen…hmm… well…a sort of. At least most of the time, right? Here’s how it works: we hear the words (unless we’re so absorbed in our own thoughts that we tune them out) but we often neglect to hear the real meaning behind the words. Here’s what most of us do wrong when people are talking: We half-listen, while jumping ahead in our minds to think up the perfect response. We interrupt, pushing in our own ideas or comments even before the other person is finished speaking. We finish the speaker’s sentences for them – making assumptions about what they’re going to say. We subtly or directly try to hurry them along so they stop talking… just so we can say something. We don’t hear what they are saying; we hear what we want to hear. We automatically disagree if their opinion or idea doesn’t match our own. It’s shocking to know that most of us are actually terrible listeners. It’s not that we mean to be. It’s human nature because every one of us believes that our own opinion is the one that matters most (even people with extremely low self-esteem believe their opinion is important – they just can’t voice it). Everyone needs to be heard. Everyone’s ideas, desires, needs and opinions deserve to be heard. That is the secret to a deep connection – to let a person express themselves, without judgment, commentary or interruption. 📷©Stéphane Spatafora with my friends @philansaldo & @alexiacicard in Marseille, France. #love #compassion #deep #connection #people #meaningful #listening

    A photo posted by Stéphane Spatafora (@stephane_spatafora) on

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