Less than a quarter of Britons are in a relationship with the man or woman of their dreams, according to new research.
Just 23% of courting adults believe they have found Mr or Mrs Right and that he or she will remain their sole lifetime companion.
The majority, however, are dating – and in some cases in love with – individuals who they admit are “very definitely” not ‘the one’, a poll has found.
Remarkably, a third of these reckon that destiny will intervene and that they stand to meet their one true love at some point in the future.
Almost a fifth would avoid marrying their existing partner on the basis that their “real soulmate” could be just around the corner.
Some 80% of those who do not feel their current partner is their perfect match would consider a divorce if they happened to meet the man or woman of their dreams after tying the knot, the survey of 850 British adults reveals.
The research, published today, was commissioned by Fridhem Publishing to mark this week’s publication of Anglo-Swedish author Helene Fermont’s new novel, Because of You.
Fermont, a writer of contemporary women’s fiction with a “psychological twist”, said the results reflect an “inherent romanticism” and a refusal to accept second best at whatever cost.
“The findings of this research appear to suggest that a significant proportion of unmarried people are in relationships that they will always question,” she said.
“It is likely that the majority of these relationships are happy ones, and that love is present in some cases.
“Yet so many of these relationships seem doomed to failure because one or both parties are holding out for Mr or Mrs Right. They have a nagging doubt that their existing partner is in some way not good enough.”
Fermont, whose new novel Because of You explores themes such as enduring love and destiny, added: “It is one thing to cherish a romantic ideal but quite another to sacrifice the prospect of a long and happy life with someone on the premise that a ‘better’ match is on the cards. This is a risky game to play”.
The survey found that 23% of respondents believed that their current partner is “the one”.
Some 33% of those who did not consider their existing beau to be their soulmate reckoned that fate or destiny would or might introduce him or her at “some point in the future”.
A further 18% said the prospect of finding “the one” at some point in the future would prevent them from marrying their current partners.
Remarkably, 82 of those questioned said they would consider a divorce should they happen to meet their soulmate after marriage or civil partnership.
Of the 126 respondents not currently in a relationship, the overwhelming majority (82%) would remain single for over two years before accepting that the perfect partner does not exist.
Conversely, almost all (91%) agreed that “the one” could pop-up at any point in life and at any age.
The ideal soulmate was said to possess a forgiving nature, to be kind and caring, and to “love me unconditionally”.
He or she would also share the same hobbies and interests, would have the same outlook on life, and have a good sense of humour.
Just over half (53%) accepted that their perfect soulmate might also be “the one” for someone else.
Fermont, who writes women’s fiction with a unique ‘Scandinavian noir’ tone that focuses on realistic characters, situations and dark morally complex moods, said: “Whether destiny plays a part in relationships or otherwise, what we must remember is to live in the here and now.
“Holding out for Mr Right is a waiting game with no guarantee of success. Enjoying the moment is what really matters for us all. Life is short, so grab it with both hands.”
For more information about Helene Fermont visit www.helenefermont.com .