Finding The One….


What do we talk about when we talk about love? Aristotle thought love was “a single soul inhabiting two bodies”; Joseph Campbell said love was “a friendship set to music”. Voltaire described it as “a canvas furnished by nature and embroidered by imagination”. Then this week Kim Kardashian tweeted a video montage of her husband Kanye West captioned: “Kimye Love” “Happy endings do come true.”

But of course we all know true love is none of the above, it’s a numbers game and this week maths found the formula: It takes fifteen snogs and four one-night stands to find The One.

A new study claims the average woman will kiss fifteen frogs, go on seven dates (four will be disastrous, one will involve being stood up), suffer two blind dates, two internet dates, fall in love twice, hang-in through two long-term relationships, two heart-breaks and have four one-night stands before she finally finds The One. Men fair better – sort of – going on eight dates, getting stood up twice and having six one-night stands before meeting the love of their lives.

The study of 2,000 loved-up Brits was commissioned to coincide with the January 2nd release of international bestseller The Rosie Project – the story of a genetics professor who tries scientifically (if unsuccessfully) to create his perfect wife. A book set to become a film next year.

“The message of the survey seems to be that dating is a rocky road”, author Graeme Simsion says, “Some people do meet the perfect person upfront but these days it’s rarely that simple. People expect there to be a few kisses and disaster dates and one-night stands on the way. Internet dating is making us even more picky, perhaps too picky, and that’s one of the themes of The Rosie Project.”

Still, Simsion admits the research – suggesting men have six one-night stands (and women have four) before meeting their dream lover -is “certainly in the ball-park!” of his own life. Not that the novel is anything but fictional. “Not at all!” Simsion laughs, “I met The One as a friend when I was twenty six. She was a member of our social circle but we were both married at the time so we knew each other six years before we even started dating”. He eventually married her, Professor of Psychiatry Anne Buist, when he was 33. They’ve been married twenty-four years.

Ironically, having spurred lovers on to find The One, Simsion admits he’s not convinced the concept really exists. “I don’t think it’s about ‘The One’, that’s a nonsense”, he says, “If my wife wasn’t here we’d have other soulmates. There are 6 billion people in the world – there’s got to be someone to have a relationship with!”.

Meg Barker Senior Lecturer in Psychology at The Open University and a contributor to the Enduring Love? Project (an Open University examination of 21st century relationships) agrees:

“I’m anti The One!” she wails, “Since the 50s we’ve put too much emphasis on idealising romantic love. The concept of ‘The One’ is what causes all the main problems people have in relationships – it’s what keeps people together with the wrong people, keeps them single or makes them stay with someone bad for them”. Barker considers the concept of The One to have arisen from the decline of religion and consistent work and home lives, as we look for more stability in our partners. Her advice? “If you stop trying to find The One you’ll be a lot more likely to find a great relationship”.


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