It’s a belief as old as time that there is one person out there for you. One magical, unique person who can make you feel the way no one else can and will make you whole and happy every day of your life. You will never get bored of them, you will never fight, you will agree on everything, and life will be pure bliss.
Well, it is year 3 of my marriage and I can say with certainty that if that’s true, neither one of us succeeded in finding our soulmate. Don’t get me wrong, we are a great match. I’m a little bit extra, and he's perpetually shocked about it. Just yesterday, my very practical husband walked in on me showering, and by showering I mean watching Sex and The City from the bench in the shower with the hot water running, my legs crossed like I was at happy hour, my dogs at my feet, shampoo in my hair and a glass of wine in my hand. His words: "Is this actually happening right now?"
Yes, yes it is. Welcome to the future.
This soulmate idea seems more and more unreasonable the older I get. As human beings we are so deeply complex, that the very idea that there is someone out there who will fit all of our needs and make up for our shortcomings makes me think whoever came up with this was trying to sell romance novels, or really had never made it past the year mark in a relationship.
Being single was fun; doing my own thing, spending my own money, staying up until 4 AM watching Snapped, having popcorn for dinner and sleeping sideways across my bed. But being married has taught me a whole new concept: It’s not all about me.
At first I was shocked and appalled, and a little offended. What do you mean we don’t get the house I want with the furniture I want, drive the car I want, get the bedding I want, eat the foods I want, and you buy me presents every day and praise my beauty forever? I felt a little tricked. This is NOT how you were when we were dating. The injustice of marriage! *shakes fists in the air*
The more mature, evolved part of us knows that is not realistic. But there is still a part of us that wants to throw a fit and dig in our heels when we don't get our way. It’s the same part of us that believes in soulmates, the elusive person who will, in fact, let you get your way every time. It’s the same part that feels cheated and thinks the grass is greener when things aren’t going so well. The harsh reality is that even that perfect person will hate the texture of velvet and not let you get the curtains you wanted. They will have opinions and needs of their own, and that by definition will collide with yours.
The answer probably lies somewhere in between getting over ourselves and realizing meeting our needs should not be at the core of our motivation to find a partner. There is a sense of self-importance when we are single and exclaiming from the mountain tops of our self-centered existence that we are out to find our soulmate. It’s no wonder divorce rates are so high claiming incompatibility, as people realize they are inherently different and lose all hope they can make it work.
Reading through the question “Do you believe in soulmates” on Reddit provided me with even more insight on the topic. Some claimed the chances of finding the one perfect person in all of the world, let alone make a romantic connection with them, are slim to none. On the other side, several claimed they had absolutely found their soulmate. It did seem that most of the believers had only been with their soulmate for a year or two or were long distance, and one even had an open relationship, which really confused me. Some also believed that your soulmate could be anybody; a friend, a family member, someone of the same sex or in a different age group. If that’s possible, then the idea of a romantic soulmate becomes even more unattainable.
When we really start inspecting our complicated human nature, it becomes clear that we have unreasonable expectations of other people. Ideally, this realization should make us become more accepting of other’s wants and needs, in return making us more complete beings. After all, wouldn’t having more to offer close the gap and increase our chances of finding “the one”?
I believe you fall in love and that person becomes your soulmate over the course of your life. That seems like an even more romantic notion, that someone would work hard to become a better fit for me. How wonderful an idea to choose someone and one day look around to see you’ve molded your whole life around them, and you can’t imagine life without that person because they literally are the other half of it. I believe you fall in love based on compatibility, but that person is just as limited as you, only in different areas. Our time is better spent bettering ourselves so that when we enter into a relationship we are equipped to handle the conflicts and differences. Maybe then we can allow them to fail and disappoint us and our whole belief system doesn't come crumbling down. I would hate for my husband to believe I was his perfect soulmate, because I have plenty of showering with wine moments up my sleeve.
What about you… do you believe in soulmates?
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