Most of us were raised on fairy tales of some sort. They were what our mothers read to us before bed, and the first books we learned to read. They were stories told to give us hope or to scare us into good behavior. We believed them, until accumulated experience made us feel foolish for doing so. There is no boogey-man. And there are no magic beans.

I am sure that most little girls have grown up wishing for one fairy tale in particular to be true. A Cinderella story. The fairy tale ending. The happily ever after. Finding the man (or woman for the men out there) they are meant to spend the rest of their lives with. But by the time most of reach our middle twenties, wishing is all we have left. A hope. And even that quickly fades based upon personal experience.

When we are young it is easy to believe there is one special person out there for us. I was seventeen and I was positively sure that Jennifer was the one girl in this whole world who was created in all the uniqueness of time and space just for me. I even wrote it on my notebooks, in poems, and fell asleep at night dreaming just how life together would go. I was one hundred percent positive even after she said she needed some time apart from me. I just figured I had to work harder to make her see what I saw. She never did see it, and with time I lost the belief too.

I believe I was just mistaken. I still believe that there is a girl out there, created in all the uniqueness of time and space, just for me. Sometimes, over dinner, my friends and I will get to talking and this very subject will come up. I have diverse friends, from many backgrounds, raised with different beliefs, and the conversations are always interesting.

We tell stories of what happened with this girl or that guy. How we felt during the relationship and how we feel now. What we think love is and what we want in a relationship.

Some of their stories have familiar themes. They too believed this boy or that girl was the one. And then it ended and a piece of that fairy tale dream got broken. And in some instances they started a relationship with a boy or girl whom they knew from the beginning was not the one. But they are lonely, or this person was particularly good looking, or they hoped that something would develop over time. It rarely did in these situations and one thing that got broken every time was another bit of that fairy tale dream.

Now, after many such experiences, they have different views on what love is. The fairy tale is too shattered to believe in.

Some say love is a choice. And it is to an extent. We can definitely choose who we love. And when the feeling of love stops, we have to choose to honor our commitment and love anyway. In some cases the feeling of love returns, and in some cases a deeper kind of love develops, one that is not based so much on the giddy high feeling of being in love, but the mature act and decision of loving.

Some say that love is a compatibility issue. They think that some people just fit. Maybe if they live in Boston there will be a few people whom they just mesh with (like peanut butter and jelly). Or if they live in San Francisco there are a couple people there that they would get along with very well and have a very happy marriage with. In any case, and in any location, there are always options. Love is likely anywhere and with many different someones.

Now, I am not too keen on either of these ideas. In fact they suck. A fairy tale ending sounds like much more fun. It also sounds much more satisfying. I want there to be just one.

Is it unrealistic to think there is just one perfect person out there for me? Is it a romantic fantasy, my very own romance movie? Is it a fairy tale and nothing more? No. In fact, it is part of the plan.

Next week we will reveal the truth behind the fairy tale, in Part IV.

© Seth Crossman