Hi Yana,

Can you even find The ONE when searching for The One? I know that when searching for The One, you have a list of all the things you’re attracted to, but what if those things are what are bad for you?

Like, when you’re into hot and rough sex and you find the person who gives it to you just right, but then it causes you to not be able to see who they really are…is that bad?

I mean you feel like you know them and that they are The One…but do you know them? Are they The One??

After the Afterglow


Dear Afterglow,

Whoa now, let’s not go confusing great sex with great relationship potential. Easy to do? Oh yeah. Fun to do? You betchya. Going to end well? Notttt likely.

First, let’s talk about the concept of The One. Admittedly, you might be barking up the wrong monogamy-til-death-tells-us-otherwise tree for advice about finding one person to fulfill all of your ever-evolving needs for the rest of your life, but here it is.

As social creatures, we’ve been scientifically proven to severely suffer in isolation from other humans. We spend most of our lives seeking out connection to others because it feels good, but also because it is literally tied to our survival as a social species. My entire career as a therapist and sex educator is built on the notion that we want to connect, we want to relate, we want to feel love/be loved, and we want safe and welcome human touch. People will do almost anything to stay connected to those they love, and we sure do act out in surprising, destructive, and panicked ways when those ties start looking like they might break.

Then in comes the concept of The One, which might just as well be called Isolation Insurance. Once we finally find The One, we’re told, we’ve found someone to fulfill all of the needs, firm up all of the relational ties, and to make sure that we will never have to be alone again. Phew! Once we find The One, we can finally relax.

But the reality is that all relationships, especially long-term relationships, and extra especially satisfying and healthy long-term relationships, take a lot of hard work. What does this have to do with your current D-lemma, Afterglow?

Well, though sexual compatibility and a hot, rough roll in the hay can be crucial to a happy relationship for many people, it’s not necessarily the only glue needed to create a foundation for a relationship that is long-standing and sustainable.

The first six-odd months of a relationship are basically a sex-and-drug-fueled infatuation party except instead of weed, we’re getting really high on dopamine — a naturally occurring chemical in the body that’s released when we’re forming fresh and exciting sexual and emotional connections with a new lover. As our relationship progresses, some of these chemical connections can fade and what rises to the surface can result in deeper commitment to an ongoing relationship or — our pop of sexual sizzle can fade to reveal, well, not much worth holding onto.

Does this mean you should stop getting awesomely laid right now, Afterglow? Definitely not. But setting some boundaries for yourself around what you’re looking for in a partner, what your expectations are from a good fuck buddy, and the work required to maintain the sweet intersections of both, can make sure that only your ‘you-know’ is getting smashed, and not your hopes or heart.

Yana Tallon-Hicks is a relationship therapist, sex educator, and writer living in the Pioneer Valley. You can find her work and her professional contact information on her website