It’s like a game of probability. One in a million. One in seven billion people on this entire planet. According to urban legends and myths, there’s that one person that’s supposed to make this all better, that one person who is supposed to stick with you through thick and thin, that one person you’re supposed to grow old with… and love is just a game you play over and over just to find that one person.
Except it doesn’t really work like that, does it? If you start playing the game of probability, then the odds seem to be stacked against you right off the bat. After all, how can you find “that one person” through the billions of people and possibilities?
In MTV’s Are You the One, 10 men and 10 women are placed in this beautiful house together to find who science and compatibility tests apparently determined was their perfect match. There, the pool of people is immediately significantly smaller. And unless science isn’t enough to make a relationship work and other things get in the way, it is almost a guarantee that they will get to find someone if they played the game right. But in the second season, the producers added “the eleventh girl”, and this meant one of the guys had two perfect matches — two different possibilities.
See, this is kind of what happens in real life too. Because the possibility could swing either way, it always feels like you’re playing a game, like you’re in a competition to find “true love”, and by extension, happiness. It’s what movies have shown you your entire life — find the one, and you will be happy. Otherwise, you’ll be like the extra person who could have been part of a perfect match, but walks away empty-handed.
But what we don’t see when we “lose” in this game, is that like the guy with two perfect matches, there isn’t just one person in the entire world who can be your one. There are other options, and other possibilities, and therefore other perfect matches out there. We just don’t see it yet because when we’re so focused on one person, we don’t see the other seven billion people as opportunities to get us closer to finding somebody. We see it as a threat.
It feels so difficult and overwhelming to have to sieve through so many people in order to get to another “perfect match”. And so we fall into despair and hopelessness. We think that other than that one person we were so focused on, there’s no other person for us. Or we think that this person is definitely the one perfect match we are supposed to be with when they’re not, and we close our eyes to people out there who could really be one of many perfect matches for us.
I recently started watching this Taiwanese drama called Mr Right Wanted, as opposed to doing my revision for my last paper next week, and in the pilot episode, this male writer makes this sentiment at a friend’s wedding:
It’s a miracle when you like somebody, and by pure coincidence, that person likes you too.
Love is a miracle. Finding someone whom you are 100% compatible with is a miracle. Staying with that one person until you’re old and grey because you love them is a miracle. I’m not saying it’s not difficult, or that it’s not something to be cherished, but putting those constraints on somebody to be “the one” for you, the one you’re “supposed to be with” really over-romanticises what relationships are.
Because it feels like love is so rare and so true, every time something starts, there is a hope that this person will be the one so you can stop searching now and start living “happily ever after”. But wanting this other person you love to be “the one” for you sometimes creates so many unrealistic expectations that everything is going to be, as Adam Levine sings, “rainbows and butterflies”, and blinds you to what love really is.
Love is not a game.
It isn’t a game of chance.
It isn’t probability, trying to win against the odds to find this mystical one person you’re “supposed” to be with.
It isn’t a miracle, because that would mean it’s something that occurred rarely when it isn’t rare at all.
We see it in our everyday lives. We see it when someone makes a decision to spend the rest of their lives with someone they love. We see it when someone goes out of their way to help, or to listen, or to just be there for you.
We may not see it now when we’re so caught up with being alone, but love is a daily occurrence. And sometimes, it may be elusive to you, and it may seem to find others faster than you, but that doesn’t mean you should be dismayed. When couples start pairing up, and you feel a pinch of jealousy through your happiness for them finding each other so quickly whereas feel like you’re stuck here in status quo, remember that they’re not taking your chances of finding love away by pairing up and eliminating themselves.
There are many chances, and many possibilities out there. You just have to find one, and choose to stay.
To Fridays is a weekly column that hopes to be able to give you all the encouragement and love in the world. #tofridaysvp