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Katherine Woodward Thomas knows what it’s like to want a happily ever after. Despite being a licensed marriage and family therapist, she admits that she, too, struggled with dating. She recently tells POPSUGAR she experienced a “pattern of unavailability,” a wound that she says came from childhood and later showed up in relationships. She dated married men, was involved in love triangles, and found herself in generally “impossible love situations.” That was until she started practicing the methods that are now used in her bestselling book, “Calling in ‘The One:’ 7 Weeks to Attract the Love of Your Life.”
Whether you’ve seen it on a best self-help books list or, as of late, trending on TikTok, “Calling in ‘The One'” is likely a familiar title. Ever since its original publication in 2004, the seven-week long method has become a somewhat proven means to attract an ideal partner.
Now that it’s been exactly 20 years since “Calling in ‘The One'” hit bookshelves, we spoke with Thomas to hear more about the book and why her method is still relevant for readers even today.
POPSUGAR: What inspired you to write “Calling in ‘The One'”?
Katherine Woodward Thomas: My own story. I had this pattern, truthfully, of unavailability, which meant, a lot of times, I was dating people who were in other relationships. It’s painful when you’re living that story, especially if you really want to get married [or] you really want to create a family like I did. So that went on for a long, long time, and at some point, my heart almost wanted to give up and resign. [I thought] maybe I’m too damaged, maybe I’m too old at this point, all the good ones are taken.
But then, I made two major shifts. One was I set an intention for love. But once you set an intention to have love immediately, the focus isn’t on running out to find that person. The focus went into, “Who would I need to be in order for [love] to find me?” and “How will I need to grow in order to have it?”
Then, the second shift I made was being willing to be completely self responsible for every [dating] pattern. It’s a really simple shift, but it’s profound because you start to ask yourself more empowering questions. Instead of, “Why don’t people like me?” and “What’s wrong with me?” I asked myself, “How am I pushing people away?” and “What can I do instead to make it more welcoming for someone to be close to me?”
I started putting one foot in front of the other and manifesting an amazing miracle. In visioning meditations, I would ask, “What’s my next step?” and “How can I show up in a way that’s positive for my future?” I soon started having images of this man I had dated six years earlier; a man who I had considered to be the one who “got away.” Ultimately, I was too shy to call him, and I just dismissed the thought. But I went to a church service a few weeks later, and spotted the man I had been thinking about. I turned away and still didn’t connect with him that day.
But two weeks later, a friend of mine said I needed to get on the internet to start dating. This was right around the turn of the century, like 1999, so the internet had just started and this particular dating site was new. Nobody had their pictures up and there were no identifying characteristics about people on their profile. I ended up responding to one person and when he wrote me back, I discovered it was that same exact man. We were engaged two months later and married the next year. When that happened, I thought, “Oh my gosh, what did I just do?” and then decided to share the method with other people because I understood the suffering.
PS: Wow, that’s an incredible origin story. Do you have a favorite lesson in “Calling in ‘The One'”?
KWT: Most of us are pretty stuck in [dating] patterns, and what we’re looking to do in “Calling in ‘The One'” is identify the pattern and the very specific ways that you’ve been showing up that have been generating that pattern. So what I discovered that was revolutionary in “Calling in ‘The One,'” is that, when you begin to source who you are from the future and start growing in the direction of that dream and that version of yourself, you start showing up differently with people. It instantly changes the caliber of the person who’s attracted to you, the quality of your connections, and what’s possible in your connections.
When I did it myself, I started with the future, and I asked myself, “Who is that version of me?” It was [being] happy and in love while confident. So I then had a preconscious knowledge of my worthiness to receive love, which is an important lesson in the book.
“It’s not about finding the one. It’s about becoming the one; becoming the version of yourself that’s no longer sabotaging or disappearing or operating out of old trauma.”
PS: How do you think dating has changed since when you originally wrote “Calling in ‘The One'”?
KWT: It’s better and it’s worse. Back when I was doing “Calling in ‘The One'” myself, there was a lot more scarcity. The big question was, “How will I meet somebody?” And now, the big problem of the day is, “How do I choose out of the many people I meet?”
But truthfully, the effectiveness of “Calling in ‘The One'” has not changed all that much because what we’re talking about is not running out to find the one. It’s about becoming the one; becoming the version of yourself that’s no longer sabotaging or disappearing or operating out of old trauma. That’s actually the foundation for finding the right person for you. It worked then for attracting someone, and it certainly works now.
The lessons are always going to apply no matter how dating changes, no matter what dating looks like in the future — it’s always going to be applicable. If you know your value, you know yourself, you’re self aware, you’re self responsible, you’re able to negotiate for your needs, you have a capacity that you’ve cultivated to love another human being.
PS: Why do you think “Calling in ‘The One'” is resonating with so many people 20 years later?
KWT: It’s a very integrated book that is ahead of its time, and people are ready for it. Twenty-somethings are really ready for a more integrated, sophisticated conversation, not just to understand why they are the way that they are, but how they actually generate in life.
PS: Besides reading your book, what advice do you have for singles frustrated by the dating scene?
KWT: I think it’s really important to do the inner work and to become magnetic to love. You have to make sure that you are really anchored in the future you’re committed to having — you’re living and breathing that future. You are aware of your value. Focus on that instead of the idea, like, “[Dating apps] are never going to work” or “Love is for other people and not for me” or “It might just be my fate to be alone.”
PS: What has been the most rewarding part about writing “Calling in ‘The One'”?
KWT: I really just wanted to make the world a happier place. I can’t even tell you the privilege of being on the inside of this journey with so many people. Even if I don’t meet somebody [reading the book], it’s almost like an intimate conversation I get to have with them, and it’s just created so much happiness.