Why Finding Out Your "One" Doesn't Feel The Same Way Is One Of The Scariest Things

by Candice Jalili
Xavier Sotomayor/Unsplash

My biggest romantic fear is being someone's "Karen." But first, let me give you some backstory as to what that means. Karen was a character Rashida Jones played for a season on The Office. She was hot (duh, it's Rashida Jones), funny, and all-around awesome, but when she started dating Jim, he was already in love with Pam (his soulmate whom he ends up marrying). As far as Karen was concerned, Jim was the one. And in situations like this, anyone who's ever wondered, "Is he the one?" knows the next question usually is, "Does he feel the same way?" Well, as far as Jim was concerned, Karen was someone he used to distract himself from the pain of temporarily losing his actual one, Pam. He didn't feel the same way.

If the answer to that second question is yes — that your "one" does feel the same way — that's wonderful and amazing for you. But if that answer is no, well, that's pretty much the most depressing thing that could ever happen to you. But why is that? What about this situation makes the prospect of your "one" not feeling the same way about you so terrifying? I talked to Dr. Niloo Dardashti, a psychologist and relationship expert in New York City, about exactly why this particular form of heartbreak sucks so much, and how you can get over it.

Why does it suck so much?

Alexey Kuzma

Basically, the pain you feel when you're rejected by someone you believed was "the one" is two-fold, according to Dr. Dardashti. On one hand, you experience the regular pain of having your heart broken that comes along with any breakup. But then, that pain is intensified when you have to give up on your fantasy of a future together. It's that second factor that makes it harder than ever to open your heart to someone else and move on.

"It's almost like, 'Wait a second, if I can't have this with this person, whom I placed all of my fantasies on and projected all of my fantasies onto, then whom could I possibly have it with?'" says Dr. Dardashti.

When you genuinely believe your partner is the one you were supposed to spend the rest of your life with, it becomes more difficult to get comfortable with the "image of somebody else being in that picture of a long-term relationship with you," Dr. Dardashti explains.  She continues that when you invest lots of time into imagining that person as the person you'll be spending the rest of your life with, it becomes harder and harder to imagine anyone else taking their place.

"You placed all of your expectations onto one person," she says. "You put all of your eggs in one basket, so when that ends, not only do you have the heartbreak, but all of your fantasies and hopes for the future are shattered, too." Sounds pretty brutal, right?

How do you get over it?

Andrei Korzyhts

Dr. Dardashti has some great tips. First, like you should do with any breakup, just take some time to remember your own identity — before this relationship came into the picture. It's important to take some time to be "stepping out of your current state and remembering what it was like when that person wasn't there and remembering that you were OK," she explains.

I know, I know. When your heart has recently been shattered by the person you still have on a mile-high pedestal in your head, it's hard to imagine ever being able to find someone else to be that crazy about. When it seems almost impossible, Dr. Dardashti urges you to remember that if people who permanently lose their soulmates to real tragedies can still find a way to move on and find happiness with someone else, then you can move on, too.

"They're still able to find someone else. They're very happy even after having lost the loves of their life," Dr. Dardashti says. "If that can happen for them, it can happen for you."

Of course, that's not to diminish the pain you might be experiencing in your situation. Just remember to take things day-by-day, and focus on yourself and your own identity. It'll take some time, but I promise you can do it.

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