“The One” on HIMYM

A blog entry by the wonderful Redhead Bedhead about the concept of “the one” on popular TV show How I Met Your MotherSPOILER ALERT: I do not regularly watch How I Met Your Mother, nor have I seen the show’s finale. However, I am commenting about a blog post relating to the finale so there will be some spoilers here. Do not read any further in order to avoid.

I’ve never gotten into HIMYM, despite my love of Neil Patrick Harris and the outrage of many friends and colleagues. However, now that I’ve read Redhead Bedhead’s post about the conclusion of the whopping nine seasons of the show, I might have to go back and watch the whole series. To the horror and outrage of many, the show’s big reveal (WHO IS THE MOTHER?!?!) didn’t feature the happily-ever-after of three couples and one true love. We desperately need more media representations of non-traditional relationship ideals.

Redhead writes:

We’re taught that everyone gets one person to share fulfilling romantic love with (you can have other attempts on the way but once you find this one you are, according to the rules, supposed to downplay their importance). Okay, and maybe if that first one dies you can have another. But then HIMYM even effed that up by having the woman Ted ended up with after his wife and mother of his children died be a woman he had known and loved for years which (apparently) automatically means he never truly loved his wife. Because, you see, that’s how it works.

Does this sound insane to anyone other than me?

No Redhead, you are not alone. I am constantly frustrated by the notion that romantic love is a pre-measured, packaged, finite thing that you bestow upon a single worthy individual. But are we not capable of loving multiple family members? Multiple children? Multiple friends? Why is romantic love suddenly finite and reserved for one and only one person? This doesn’t seem to make sense to me. Or to Redhead Bedhead. Or to Spike Jonze:

The heart is not like a box that gets filled; it expands in size the more you love.

Who else is with us?!

Yes, as the blog entry mentions, some people are perfectly happy and functional in long-term monogamous loving partnerships. I do not begrudge these people, I commend them. But I’d like for society to open its eyes to the fact that love and relationships don’t have to flow that model. It’s not automatic. And it doesn’t work for many people, despite what fairy tales and Hollywood would lead you to believe.


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