Why you should stop looking for 'The One' and start looking for 'The Three'.

Delirious, pensive, and weirdly philosophical, Kate Leaver thinks she’s just solved our greatest romantic dilemma using a 1980s robot cartoon, basic arithmetic, and her mama’s advice.

As young scientists One Direction correctly point out in their song, ‘Steal My Girl’ – there are seven billion people in this world. Seven billion people. That’s literally one person alive for every 35 cents Jay Z and Beyonce have in the bank right now.

Understandably, finding one perfect romantic companion on a planet swarming with that many homo sapiens is ambitious to say the lead. Too ambitious in my opinion. If I were a gambling woman, I wouldn’t back those odds with Monopoly money.

I would, however, get behind the Voltron Theory of Casual Dating.

Writer and stone-cold genius Maureen O’Connor coined the term, detailing its workings in a recent article for New York Magazine. Voltron is a 1980s cartoon about a giant robot creature and his application to single people’s romantic lives is quite simply, thrilling.

Personally, I think she Maureen should be celebrated, and possibly nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Maureen stumbled across this sensational theory while listening to her friend Anne talk about several different desirable but imperfect men she was dating. This is from the moment Maureen realised the answer to romantic ambivalence lay in the mechanics of a metal creature made up of several battle robots:

“If only you could combine them all into one Voltron boyfriend,” I sighed, thinking of the 1980s cartoon Voltron: Defender of the Universe, about a team of warrior robots that would assemble themselves into one giant, unstoppable super-robot to defeat their foes.

The yellow robot, piloted by a strong man named Hunk, became the left leg; the green robot, piloted by a brainiac named Pidge, became the left arm; and so on. And so began what Anne and I now refer to as the Voltron Theory of Casual Dating: In the absence of one good partner, an actively dating single person will naturally construct a corpus of complementary partners who, if assembled into one giant Voltron partner, would be his or her ideal boyfriend or girlfriend.

Occasionally, the Voltron becomes so attractive that it eclipses the appeal of any one person. This shift marks either the downfall of dating, or the beautiful escape from infuriating gender roles and frustrating pressures to nail down a spouse.


Anyone currently doing some sweet casual dating knows exactly how accurate Maureen’s Voltron theory is.


And guess who has known this precious truth about love/lust all along? My mother.

And probably also, your mother. And their mothers before them.

But for some reason, it’s been lost on the RSVP and Tinder generation.

Many moons ago, my mama used to say to me, “Katie, ideally, you’ll have three men in your life. Every woman needs three men.”

Now, to be clear, my mum wasn’t endorsing polyamory. She wasn’t even suggesting dating several people at one time. She was simply trying to get me to see, as a young girl, that we shouldn’t expect one single person to complete us, or to satisfy our every need.

The three men my mum recommends could come in a number of forms.

Maybe you have a sexy sex friend for sex purposes, an insatiable crush on someone, and a male best friend. Maybe you have a hot barista you flirt with every morning, a male work buddy, and a beautiful man who takes you out on dates and will definitely call on Valentines. Whatever, I don’t know you, you don’t know me, we don’t know one another’s man combinations.

The point is this: If you haven’t found ‘The One,’….

Stop looking. Immediately.

Instead, start collecting a series of wonderful people who warm different parts of your heart. At least three, if you can. We’d all be kinder to ourselves and our loved ones if we acknowledge that no single person can be everything at once.

Now, can anyone arrange for my three to be these guys?

Who would your three perfect men be?