I Tried the 7-Week "Calling in 'The One'" Dating Method

POPSUGAR Photography | Zoe Malliaros
POPSUGAR Photography | Zoe Malliaros

Last November, I saw a sign at the New York City Marathon that stopped me in my tracks. It said: "If you think this is hard, try dating in NYC."

I was all too familiar with that sentiment. At 29 years old, I had been dating with intention for four years and was ready to meet my ideal partner. I cycled through dating apps, often deleting them for weeks and starting over, hopeful that doing so would lead to better matches. Well-meaning setups from friends also fell flat, only escalating my disappointment in dating. Every time I tried something new, it became increasingly clear that there had to be a better way.

I wasn't going to attend another wedding alone or be a third or seventh wheel by this time next year.

Soon after the marathon, my best friend got engaged to her dream man, with whom I had been secretly working with for months to find her the perfect diamond. I then faced the prospect of seeing my college ex-boyfriend at a wedding I was attending solo. Not to mention, I had recently sent an anti-ghost text to someone I'd been dating, only to receive an AI-generated response.

So when the new year came around, I decided I was ready for change. I'm not typically one to make concrete New Year's resolutions, but I set out to dedicate 2024 to demystifying dating and finding the right person. I wasn't going to attend another wedding alone or be a third or seventh wheel by this time next year.

But the more I thought about finding "The One," the less prepared I felt. I wasn't sure how to change my approach and get out of my familiar dating patterns. Then I remembered noticing a self-help book titled, "Calling in 'The One': 7 Weeks to Attract the Love of Your Life" at a friend's apartment around the same time a year prior. I had found the concept of attracting "the one" intriguing at the time; however, I wasn't quite ready to delve into introspection then. But the more I dwelled on it, the more I realized I had nothing to lose.

I enlisted the help of a friend to order the book and ship it to me so my parents wouldn't stumble upon it on our Amazon account and start asking questions. At first, I was very guarded, but here's how the journey went for me.

What Is "Calling In 'The One'"?

"Calling in 'The One': 7 Weeks to Attract the Love of Your Life" by Katherine Woodward Thomas is a workbook designed to help readers find a fulfilling romantic relationship. Though it was published back in 2004, it's recently seen a resurgence on TikTok as a tool for attracting an ideal partner.

The program spans 49 days: each day features one lesson, accompanied by a corresponding journaling practice and clear instructions on how to integrate the lesson into your daily life. Every week, Thomas introduces a new chapter with an overall theme. The themes build upon each other week after week. For instance, week one's chapter is titled, "Preparing For Love," and the first lesson encourages the reader to discover what love is before manifesting it. The lesson begins with a brief reading and closes with a simple yoga practice meant to open up your heart. You're instructed to breathe deeply and exclaim, "I open myself fully to give and receive love."

From quick exercises like reciting mantras and journaling to more involved practices like decluttering your apartment, these prompts are designed to help recognize and release your internal blocks, and develop the right mindset and behaviors to find and fulfill love in your life.

How I Approached "Calling In 'The One'"

When I first delved into the book in January, I was hit with a wave of discomfort, but I had a realization: this course was not only going to revolutionize my approach to romantic relationships, but also empower me to be more vulnerable and effectively communicate my beliefs and needs in all aspects of my life.

After a few days, the routine became a ritual. In the introduction, the author suggests getting a dedicated notebook and pen to use alongside the book, all kept in a private space so you feel safe to fully open up. I committed 20 to 45 minutes to the practice each morning, which is Thomas's preferred method.

POPSUGAR Photography | Zoe Malliaros

As an early riser, it was easy for me to wake up a little earlier each day to complete the reading, journal entry, and mindfulness practice of each lesson. I created a comfortable yet aspirational setup to facilitate focus and allow me to envision sharing this space with someone special. During January's dark mornings, I lit a candle and turned on a dim lamp for a cozy atmosphere, while softly playing meditative music with my phone out of reach. My mornings are sacred, and I wanted to reflect that in my work.

While it was crucial to establish a special space for myself, it was just as important to open up about this journey with others. In the introduction, Thomas urges you to create an accountability structure to keep yourself on track. One point she mentioned that really resonated with me was, "An intention shared between a bonded group of people is actually six times more likely to manifest than an intention not shared with others."

So while I was initially embarrassed to share my experience with the book, talking about it with my friends actually strengthened my commitment. From the start, they provided unwavering support, and it was comforting to share my insights with them and seek their guidance throughout the process. They often checked in on my progress, and asked me what lesson I learned that day and whether it was applicable to them. They even started to talk more openly about their own boundaries, emphasizing the importance of self-awareness. One of my best friends said to me, "I can't wait to see who you call in." The support and light-heartedness from my friends made the journey more enjoyable and encouraged me to involve them in the process.

What I Learned After Completing "Calling In 'The One'"

I dug into lessons about vulnerability that pushed me to speak up and initiate deeper conversations in all aspects of my life. I saw the value in applying them right away, especially because I hadn't always been comfortable being open. I even made an effort to voice my opinions and establish clear boundaries at work.

POPSUGAR Photography | Zoe Malliaros

Some lessons in the book struck me as funny or even ridiculous, yet surprisingly effective. One lesson encouraged me to declutter my living space as if I were preparing for someone to move in tomorrow. I cleaned out drawers and discarded things I no longer used, and it was quite amusing to explain to my friends that "the book made me do it." Another practice had me set my dining table for two, symbolizing making space for someone special. It's still set that way. While I might have felt silly in the moment, these lessons inspired me to visualize my future with a partner like I never had before.

Alongside the physical decluttering, I was also forced to tackle a significant amount of emotional sorting. I wasn't only setting intentions for my physical surroundings, but also for my ability to establish boundaries and uphold my personal integrity in how others affect me emotionally. I set firmer boundaries for friends who consistently demanded my time and attention without regard for my needs, leaving me feeling drained or depleted. I've become less tolerant of negativity and conversations that don't uplift me. While the process was initially challenging, I recognized the importance of clearing out these emotional cobwebs to make space for the right people.

These holistic practices guided me to a deeper understanding of what I truly desire, and more importantly, what does not serve me. Before the book, I fixated solely on superficial criteria like height or profession, but now, I've come to realize that finding someone who aligns with the values I prioritize is far more important.

Does "Calling In 'The One'" Work?

I never thought that after week seven, I would suddenly step outside and meet the love of my life.

I never thought that after week seven, I would suddenly step outside and meet the love of my life. Instead, I'm choosing to measure success on how the book has influenced my feelings and thoughts. It's motivated me to continue putting in the effort to open up my heart and mind. I've kept up my journaling ritual; I've continued to speak up about my desires; I'm honoring my boundaries, and I'm asking for help when I need it. I taped a checklist detailing these commitments to my front door, serving as constant reminders I can't ignore. You get out of it what you put in.

I think back to the sign at the marathon, and now, I challenge it.

Some days were tougher than others, but I got through them knowing that these 49 lessons would be the difference between wanting love and being ready for it. In the words of Thomas, "Focus your efforts on becoming the person you would need to be in order for that future to happen."

As gimmicky as it sounds, I've learned that before you call in the one, you have to become the one.

Zoe Malliaros is a freelance writer and publicist based in New York City. A graduate of Syracuse University's Newhouse School, she has more than eight years of experience in the public relations space across art, fashion, and wine and spirits. She is passionate about women's reproductive rights, wellness, culture, style, and travel.