From the earliest ages, we are bombarded with the idea of “love at first sight” and “soul-mates.” Fairytales, romance novels, and silver-screen love stories make us yearn for that over-the-moon feeling of attraction, desire, and perfect love. Obviously I still enjoy reading, watching, and writing these kinds of stories.
In my youth, I even searched for my soul mate. I met him, but then it didn’t work out. Then I met another… and that didn’t work out either. By the fourth soul mate, I started to wonder what was wrong with me. Was my belief in destined love hurting my ability to find real love?
How so? Well, according to Bjarne Holmes, Ph.D., the destiny mentality is the starting point of unhealthy ideas about love. More importantly, it could impact how you respond when your soul mate reveals his or her flaws.
The early stage of any romance is filled with infatuation (thanks to hormones that flood our brains in order to help us bond with a partner). Typically, those hormones fade in 12-18 months, and that’s when we start to notice our partners’ imperfections (and they see ours too, excepting those among you who are perfect like me!).
A person who clings to a destiny fantasy may be too quick to quit a relationship that requires a little work because they wrongly believe a true love should feel effortless. Also, apparently those who believe in soul mates also tend to assume their partner can read their mind and intuit their needs. This fallacy sets a couple up for a lot of miscommunication, which can be the death knell of any relationship.
As I’ve matured, I’ve learned romance is more about the adventure and journey, and less about the “meeting of Mr. Right.” Surprisingly, some of my most romantic moments have usually come immediately after overcoming a hurdle (and no, I’m not talking about make-up sex…LOL). Real romance and love take root in the intimacy involved in being vulnerable and working through a crisis together.
So, if you’re a romantic who wants to believe in preordained love, beware! Make sure you are communicating clearly, and try to view the work required to make any long-term relationship last as a romantic endeavor.
Of course, now I can still enjoy the fantasy of a soul mate when I read or write about it. It is, naturally, more fun than picking up socks off the bathroom floor. But no matter how great the fantasy, it doesn’t compete with the comfort and security of a partner you trust and respect…even when he’s driving you crazy!
Do you have a soul mate story to share?