As a young girl, I recall dressing up like a bride with a cluster of giggling friends.
We all took turns wearing a sheer lace curtain panel as a veil, secured by a headband, parading down the "aisle" (hallway) as the "bridesmaids" tromped along behind, pretending to hold up the invisible train.
Thereafter, we would collapse into hysterical giggles on the shag rug in my bedroom, whispering about Mr. Right, and how when you meet your soulmate "you just know he's the one."
I carried this belief into my teenage years, dating a few very nice fellows in high school, but dropping them over small disagreements/disclosures that led me to believe we were not "soulmates."
The theory that we all have just one perfect mate out there is not a relic of the past… it's still going strong.
I'm decades beyond that dreamy-eyed high school senior, but now, talking to my teenage nieces, it brings it all home again.
They, and their friends, debate continuously on the phone about present boyfriends and future prospects.
"Could he be the One?"
I have co-workers in their twenties and thirties, still obsessing over the idea of perfection in a relationship, bemoaning their current status as "just treading water" because of very small differences of opinion they didn't expect to encounter.
They suddenly worry that their relationship is a waste of time because it turns out he's a dog person, not a cat person… or he likes to ski on vacation, and they like to lie on sandy beaches… or he follows a different political party.
A Perfect Match?
I think in seeking our one "soulmate", we're being a bit vain. You don't need to fall in love with your twin.
Differences make a relationship more interesting, give you more to talk about, more to ponder, more to learn from each other.
Certainly, there are big differences that would throw a wrench in the works. For example, your views on having children should be in sync.
Beyond that, all the little problems have potential work-arounds. Many could be solved by compromise, or plain tolerance of each other's differences… so why do people just walk away?
Because there's this idea still floating around.
Mr./Ms. Right. Your soulmate. Perfection.
Here's why I see this as a problem
- You can waste your life, waiting for perfection. You could be continuously disappointed, perhaps becoming bitter, all because your preconception of a perfect mate didn't allow for any wiggle room.
- It's akin to laziness. To expect to have a perfectly smooth relationship, straight out of the box with no bumps in the road? No learning curve? It promotes intolerance of the honest mistakes that all people make in relationships. A successful love partnership is hard work. It's not a gift of fate.
- You have an infinite number of true loves out in the world. Don't limit yourself to just one (one at a time is just fine, though!). If you believe only one person in the world is intended for you, what do you do when you eventually lose them? Death visits us all. Even if you just part ways, don't pine the rest of your life away, thinking you've had your shot and that's that.
Believe that you will always be able to fall in love. No matter how old you are, you can find love. But you have to be open to it, and that means you need to stop believing that there's only "one perfect match for each person".
I've honestly been in love three times. Deep, emotional, heady, dance-on-the-air type of love. And I'm in love now. You never know what will happen in the future, so enjoy love whenever it comes to you. Embrace it fully. Revel in it.
I wouldn't trade my past loves for the world. I hope my current relationship lasts forever, but if it doesn't, I'll be glad that I experienced it. I will treasure it.
And then I will open myself back up and I will fall in love again.
Because that's what life's about. The loving of each other.
So don't limit yourself with the belief in "A Soulmate".
Make the word plural, and realize you have many soulmates out there, just waiting for you.
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