Do Soulmates Exist and Do I Need One?
by Evie Shafner, LMFT
The concept of a soulmate is filled with beautiful romantic notions that there is a god-given person chosen just for you. It’s such a lovely, spiritual image, one that we might not want to part with. But is there a down side to this concept? Thinking that there is that one perfect person gives us the idea that they will be perfect in every way, so that when the normal struggles of a long term relationship come up, we may discard the person, and go looking for that "stars in my eyes" feeling again.
People who are overly invested in the soul-mate idea may be more unrealistic in their expectations of their partner. As we know, part of marriage is managing disappointment, and being mature enough to handle differences. Some studies have shown that people who are totally "wedded" (no pun intended) to the idea that there is that one special someone who is going to meet all our needs are less able, and less mature in their outlook and expectations of a life partner.
Perhaps we can expand the definition of "soul mate" to include someone who is sent to love you, yes, but also sent to help you grow up. And by growing up we mean staying connected when we are disappointed, being able to give up reactive communication, and be an adult in the relationship. In that way we can keep the romantic beauty of the concept but re-define it.
It would be so sad to think if we lost our partner through divorce or death, that there wouldn't be another person we could go the distance with. We know that isn't true. We all need to think of the world as a place of endless possibilities
Sometimes the person who feels like our soulmate because we feel such intense feelings for them are actually sent to us as teachers, to help us grow, so we can be ready for our true life partner to come in down the road. The partner who we can have coffee with for 50 years, even if every moment isn't filled with butterflies and rainbows.
And, finally, start by being your own soulmate, so to speak. Give yourself the love and the approval you long for from someone, and then you won't feel totally dependent on another person to make you feel whole. You will attract the type of person who is the same.