In "I'm the Only One," Melissa Etheridge
is confronting a lover who is tempted by another. Rather than begging her lover to stay, she's almost daring her to have the affair, knowing that in the end, she'll realize that Etheridge is the only woman who can truly love her.
The song was inspired by Etheridge's relationship with Julie Cypher, who was married to the actor Lou Diamond Phillips when she met Etheridge in 1988. Etheridge and Cypher paired up soon after, but according to Etheridge (revealed in her book The Truth Is: My Life in Love and Music
), Cypher wanted an open relationship so she could explore the lesbian lifestyle, something Etheridge found devastating. Those feelings are expressed in this song, as Etheridge loved Cypher so much she was willing to let her have affairs, but at the same time yearned for monogamy.
The couple had two children (born to Cypher), but split up in 2000. Etheridge claimed that Cypher admitted during one of their therapy sessions that she was not gay.