Hilary Duff doesn’t believe you have to be with one person forever, and I agree with her

I let go of the idea of ‘soulmate’ a long time ago. And not in some heartbreak-y way, just in a slow-but-sure observance of relationships way—both mine and those around me.

And I’m not alone. This week Hilary Duff talked to Cosmopolitan about her recent divorce and in the process shared some pretty candid insights into the idea of finding “the one” for life. “I don’t know if people are meant to be together forever,” she said. And for a moment, the Internet pressed pause.

The quote was trending hard yesterday, maybe because it’s rare for an actress to be so open about her relationship, or maybe because people just love Hilary—she’s someone we basically grew up with. But another reason her sentiment was so startling was because the belief in multiple soul-mates is still kind of taboo. We’re hard-wired to believe that there’s one person out there who we belong with forever, and for some that’s the case, but for others it just doesn’t work that way. And it’s OK, as challenging as it might be, to accept that love comes in many different forms.

“Things happen over a long relationship that you can’t always fight,” Hilary continued. “A marriage of 20 years, the accomplishment of that must feel really great, but there are also huge sacrifices. I just always want to fight for happiness.”

Here’s the thing: I want very much to believe that we are wired for lifelong monogamy and commitment to one other human. That notion suits my little heart just fine and from the outside (I’m currently unmarried) ‘fighting for happiness’ sounds like it should work. But sometimes that fight for happiness doesn’t involve the belief in staying with just one person.

That’s not to say that Hilary, and anyone going through a divorce, isn’t entitled to feel completely devastated, especially when children are involved. But I’m reminded of Amy Poehler’s comment on her divorce in her book Yes, Please, “I am proud of how my ex-husband, Will, and I have been taking care of our children. I am beyond grateful he is their father, and I don’t think a 10-year marriage constitutes failure.”

It’s important that we don’t see divorce or even breakups as such an epic failure. Unfortunately, the belief in one “forever” person makes it harder to recover from the split and feel hope for the future. But as Hilary reminded us, it’s OK to have love and not have it last forever.

Personally, I think you can absolutely believe in love without believing in “the one.” In fact, the idea of finding that perfect soulmate can put strains on some relationships. It infers that there is someone out there whose sole job is to balance you out, to meet your needs, to be your other half. Talk about pressure.

I certainly don’t have all of the answers, but when I started opening up to the idea of many people being a good match for me, I stopped feeling so much anxiety about finding “the one,” and started being open to many different possibilities, all of whom don’t exist to be my singular “perfect” match.

As for lifelong marriage, I’m not going to pretend that stories like this of 63 year long marriages don’t turn my heart to happy-mush, but I also don’t know that we will all get to—or need to—experience that.

So, I’m glad Hilary Duff is saying what she’s saying. It’s an important point of view that deserves more attention and official proof that our little Lizzie McGuire is all grown up and pretty darn strong.

(Image via Instagram)

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