One Great Love Per Lifetime?
Q: Is it possible that one may have only one great love in their life? I was engaged to an amazing woman who broke off the engagement only weeks before the wedding. I got terribly depressed. I was sure this woman had exactly what I wanted, from personality and looks to sexual compatibility and so on. I had never before been that thoroughly happy. Now I compare every other woman to her, and they don't compare. Will I have to settle in the future, just to avoid being alone? -- Gregory, 39
Dr. Susan: It's possible that everyone "settles" somewhat, as there is no perfect person. If you think your ex was perfect, you were probably deluding yourself (not that she wasn't marvelous!). As long as you continue to over-idealize her, you won't be open to finding another who might be just as good if not better. In fact, I don't believe in the "one great love" theory. You create the one great love over time with someone. It's possible that you didn't get to know this young woman nearly well enough, or she wouldn't have chickened out on you at the last minute. Obviously, she didn't think you were perfect enough to stick with. Which means the connection was essentially one-way. But don't give up hope. Try to be more realistic about finding someone who isn't the perfect physical specimen you had in your life for a short time. So that although your future partner may not be exactly what you've been looking for, she'll be able to love you back fully and then the two of you can create something lasting and irreplaceable.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.