Sex/Real Life: The Ones Who Weren’t “The One”


I only got through four episodes of Sex/Life because I just couldn’t with the acting, the general storyline, and an ending that I skipped ahead to and wasn’t impressed with (not to mention an entertainment industry pet peeve: the instant orgasm). But it had me thinking about my Sex/Real Life, the guys I dated, and why they weren’t The One.

The One Who Wasn’t

I suppose in my Netflix original, this would be my “Brad”…not because I relive pool encounters, wild nights out, and bad boy vibes (nor shower scene, erhm…views?). My relationship history is simply not that sensational. But because this was the guy I held onto for a little too long – who I desperately wanted to make things work out with, who I kept coming back to until it was painful. This is probably the person that viewers immediately went to as they watched Sex/Life, tugging at a cut string that pulled them back to the head-over-feet fogginess that comes with experiencing love for the first time.

For me, The One Who Wasn’t took over much of my adolescence and young adulthood. My first everything and who I truly thought would be my last. However, the fog did eventually settle and we grew in very different directions, wronging each other too many times for things to ever be right. I wonder if people watching remember this part about their One Who Wasn’t? Do they remember why it wasn’t, despite all the highs that had them hanging on? 

Real Life: For me, I specifically remember this person telling me that I would never find someone who loved me like they did. They were right – and that was kind of the point of our ultimate breakup. I wanted someone who loved me much differently. 

See ya, Brad.

The Fallback:

You know him/her/them – the friend that is always teetering the line, but you can never fully jump all the way over for. The person who is always there, dependable, and conveniently available. Classic “Fallback”. While you enjoy their company and there’s maybe not anything particularly wrong, nothing is extraordinarily right either. Whether an intimate connection isn’t there or it’s purely intimate and no connection, fallbacks ultimately fall flat.

Real Life: Mine fell embarrassingly flat one night when I stuck my toe across the friendship line and friendly hugs turned to kissing and, “op, whoah!” Evidently, the buildup had been growing a little longer for him and, well, while there was still a lot left to the imagination, it gave me a good enough idea of a reality that I was decidedly disinterested in.

The Switch-Up

I always gravitated toward the athletic type. But when a nice guy I had worked with who was also the drummer of a local band and the outdoorsy type caught my curiosity, I thought, “Oh what the hell – why not?” Well, I’m here to tell you why not. 

Interests matter. Look, not to say that I don’t love music, especially live music and a beverage in hand. And not that there’s anything bad about spending time outside, enjoying beautiful weather and settings. But, I’m really not about that ears ringing, groupie dancing, sweat and dirt embracing, one-with-Earth life. I encourage a switch-up purely for the perspective you’ll gain and the reassurance that, no – no, you really are not made for the camping or band girlfriend life. 

Real Life: Be open, but don’t shut the door to reality while trying to switch things up. Within a year after I stopped seeing this person, they were touring down on a road that definitely did not merge with mine.

The Wild Card

Have you ever randomly met someone with who you immediately clicked with, but for seemingly no reason at all? The Wild Card can do that to you. Unexpected. Spontaneous. A quick, captivating burst when you least expect it. And it’s fun and there are sparks and you feel like a different, untamed version of yourself. But then the fire quickly turns to smoke, and once the air clears you’re left wondering, “What in the world?”

Real life: Looking down at a bruised ring on my leg after a blurry night with a Wild Card, the smoke quickly evaporated. He bit me. And hard. Wild card, discarded.

The Wanted One

Ugh. As much as we want to believe we can have anyone our heart, head, or lust desires – it simply is not so. I experienced this shortly after breaking things off with my “One That Wasn’t”. It’s rather amusing now to think back on how dire I was to catch the attention, affection, and time of this person to whom I really didn’t even know. Usually attractive, usually alluring by default based on circumstances, and usually unattainable – The Wanted One is also the last thing you need.

Real Life: The Wanted One is actually a wanted “ideal,” versus an actual person deserving of your energy. If you find yourself changing (or wholly abandoning) who you are to try to win someone over, does anything else really need to be said? 


The One

And then, my husband came along. I was head over feet and quickly growing roots in the ground. It was entirely inconvenient but absolutely worth it. The relationship we built was uniquely ours and unmatched. New pieces felt like they had been a part of me all along. Bad habits and negative messages changed, bringing forth a better version of myself. He was The One when I stopped seeing us as two.

And, no, our relationship, marriage, and transition into parenthood have not been seamless. It has not been managed without resistance, moments of concern, or feelings of discouragement. But the difference between The One and the ones who came before is not that he checks off all the boxes, all the time. The difference is that The One is its own box entirely, capable of weathering the ebbs and flows of life, and willing to grow alongside you.

Real Life: I would and will continue to choose The One, my one, over and over again – without what if’s, without what else’s, without hesitation.