Finding the One: Who or When?

Last week, out of nowhere, a friend asked me if I thought “the one” was a who or a when.  I told her I’d give it some thought and get back to her.  Instead of shooting her a text, I decided to make it a blog.

I’ll admit, I’m by no means an expert on love so keep reading at your own risk.  Over the past few years, I’ve spent more time single than not.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve gone on dates and had flings but nothing I would consider to be “love”.  Traveling made finding a significant connection that I could maintain difficult.

The quote that best describes my love life is: “a pain stabbed my heart, as it did every time I saw a girl I loved who was going the opposite direction in this too-big world.”  I had no difficulty finding a girl who caught my attention.  It was the stuff that follows the initial attraction that I found difficult.  To be honest, it wasn’t something I was looking for.

The time I’ve spent single has been valuable.  It’s given me a chance to learn about myself, why I believe what I do, and what I want out of life- both romantically and otherwise.  Not rushing into a relationship allowed me to take a step back.  I was able to see what I value in a significant other and not settle for less.

Even after years of being single, I remain, at my core, a hopeless romantic.  If you talk to my friends they’ll tell you I fall ‘in love’ easily. Every few months there’s a different girl who could be “the one”.  A smile.  An unexpected adventure. An in-depth life chat is all it takes for me.  When I feel that connection my mind starts racing with the potential possibilities.  What can I say, I love love and cheer for a good love story whenever I can.

Though I haven’t found it yet I like to think I’m more ready for it now than I was when I was 22.

Before I explain why here are some ground rules:

  • I’m fully aware that there are hundreds if not thousands of different variables that decide if a relationship is successful (location being another huge one).  It’s not as simple as “who’ or ‘when” but as that was the question I was asked, those are the rules I’m playing by.
  • “Soulmates” and “The One” are different things to me.  I believe soulmates could be friends or lovers who come into your life (and usually leave) but help you grow.  “The One” is the person you voluntarily choose to spend the majority of your life with.
  • I think you can have more than a single “the one” over the course of a lifetime but this is rare.  If your “the one” dies you can find another “the one”. If you get divorced or break up that person was never really  “the one” even if you thought they were.  Believing something doesn’t make it a fact (though some may argue otherwise).
  • If I asked 100 people this question I would get 100 different answers and that’s okay.  It’s still interesting to debate because everyone can relate and there’s no “right” answer.
  • Your personal beliefs on destiny/fate will have a large impact on your opinion on this topic.  For the record, I don’t believe in destiny/fate I believe that where we end up is because of the choices we made in the past.


Honest answer. I think “the one” is a combination of who and when.  But, that’s cheating.  So if I had to pick, to me, it’s more of a when then the who.

I spent my last two years at Creighton in a relationship with a great girl (she just wasn’t for me).  After I graduated she had another year in Omaha. I decided to defer law school for a year (little did I know it was actually forever) so I thought it made sense to stay in Omaha while she finished school.  I took a job at a trading company in June and by the end of July, we were broken up.

At first, I was devastated.  This was the girl I honestly thought I was going to marry (22-year-old Todd had no real plans of adventure).  All of the sudden, that future was gone.

After I got over the break up I spent the next year angry at myself and full of regret for staying. I had a chance to leave but I didn’t.  I was trapped in a job I hated for no reason other than quitting “looked bad on a resume”.

It was then that I promised myself I would never let another person decide if I stayed or went.  And I would never ask someone to stay and give up what they wanted for me.

In the end, it all worked out.  A few months later I took a job on a cruise ship in Australia and my life trajectory completely shifted.

Over the next 3 years, I had zero interest in finding “the one”. My last relationship ruined any desire I had of wanting a girlfriend and let me be clear I would have been a terrible boyfriend. I saw relationships as a hindrance.  As something that gets in the way as you attempt to pursue your dreams.

During that time, I could have met Emma Watson (the love of my life) and would have told her to fuck off.  I wanted to be selfish.  I wanted to explore the world.  I wanted to go and never look back.

But since returning to the States, finding a great job and a kickass group of friends, I’ve begun to feel differently. Life is good and I’m happy, but I’m not in the same “need to be selfish” mindset I was before.  I’ve explored and grown over the years.  I’m not looking for a relationship, but for the first time in years, I’m open to one.

My friends Zoran and Priya have played a role in my mentality shift.  Yes, I’ve matured since I was 23 (I hope), but watching them over the past three years has been eye-opening.  I’ve been with them at Burning Man and backpacking Southeast Asia. I’ve watched from afar as they went to Yacht Week, Spain, and helped each other through med school and now residency.  They’ve shown me that when you find “the one” it shouldn’t hold you back, quite the opposite.  The right person (at the right time) enhances all the things you love to make them even better.  But they didn’t meet and instantly date.  The timing had to be right for their relationship to become what it did.  Which is why Priya pursued Zoran for months before they got together.

We meet a handful of people over the course of our lifetime who we truly connect with.  Each of these people could be “the one” we end up with.  However, them being “the one” depends on when we meet them.  At some point, you’ve heard someone say, “It didn’t work out between us because the timing just wasn’t right.”

Timing is everything.

It’s likely that you’re able to recognize how amazing someone else is, or vice versa, but if the timing is off, giving or receiving love will be difficult. It honestly doesn’t matter how compatible two people are. If the time isn’t right in someone’s life, they won’t be able to love completely which makes the relationship doomed from the start.

It’s also why you hear ‘we used to just be friends, but one day it just clicked.’  It wasn’t that the other person changed overnight.  It was the timing and situation shifted and you saw the same person in a new light.

Over the past five years, I’ve met a girl or two with whom I know I could be happy with in the long run if the timing had been right. Each challenged my thinking, loved adventure, was attractive (to me), opened me up to new ideas, and were equally interested in me. But we met at the wrong time (and lived in the wrong places). I wasn’t in a place where I was interested in making it work.  It had nothing to do with them and everything to do with where I was at that point in my life.

Our timing being off doesn’t change the fact that they are special to me.  It doesn’t take away from the feelings we had for each other.  It simply means that in this lifetime, our stars are not aligned.  We will both have to keep waiting for the variables to align to help us find “the one”.

I believe there are multiple “the ones” out there for each person and it is timing that dictates who we end up with.  Not believing that destiny pushing you toward one person

doesn’t make it any less special when you actually find “the one.”  Quite the opposite.  It means that everything had to align just right for the two of you to end up together.

Stay Gold.

Todd Smidt

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