inWhen it comes to love, most people are relatively optimistic about finding their soulmate. In fact, 73% of Americans believe in the idea of a soulmate. While most of us daydream about ‘the one’, there are some universal truths to this idea and we’re here to cut out the falsities. 

So What Is a Soulmate? 

Soulmate as we commonly know refers to a sort of destiny – that we’re fated to meet one person in the world that we’re just meant to be with. Many people believe this person will act as a mirror, reflecting back the perfect complimenting attributes to their own. Some people believe, a soulmate feels like someone you’ve known your whole life. Others believe a soulmate shares all of your same morals and values. 

While all of that might sound wonderful, the idea of a soulmate originates from the ancient tale of Aristophanes. He was a contemporary of Plato and a playwright. As the story goes, two-headed hermaphroditic giants who were cut apart by a jealous Zeus and fated to wander the earth in search of their other halves forever. Sounds a bit bleaker than our Hallmark card definition, doesn’t it? As with most colloquialisms, it’s no shock that we have re-written history a bit with this one. 

So what’s the secret to a lasting relationship? 

When it comes to longevity, people typically fall into two categories of beliefs: Destiny or growth. This means that some people believe relationships work based on fate (i.e soulmates) or growth meaning that you choose a long-lasting relationship. Essentially, you could find your Prince Charming who ticks off all your boxes but he still might breathe loudly when he eats or is terrible at loading the dishwasher. 

To put it plainly – while there isn’t a secret to forming a healthy and long-lasting relationship, there are some guidelines. There is always going to be something that you don’t like about your partner and their behavior, no matter how well suited the match is. Relationships take work and they take a commitment to yourself as well as your significant other. Self-love is number one in a healthy relationship. That means you should always have your own hobbies, make time for your friends and family and remember that in order for your relationship to work you need to respect yourself first. Anything less will end up in shambles. Instead of spending your time searching for your soulmate or wishing on daydream that he’ll appear at your doorstep, start cultivating relationships that work for you and don’t settle when they don’t feel right. This leads us to our next point… 

Defying the trap of a soulmate without settling 

Reflect on these questions to learn how to get out of the soulmate trap – or never enter it. 

  • Identify poor patterns in your previous relationships. Do you find that you end relationships prematurely because of a small argument? Do you often stay longer in relationships than you should that are hurtful or make you sad? Are these patterns helping you? 
  • Rather than focusing on the individual argument, focus on how the person handles conflict or confrontation. Do they shut down? Do they gaslight and blame you? Are they open to conversation in a safe and calm environment? While everyone has different conflict resolution styles, it’s important to notice and decide whether that’s something you want to deal with later on in life when no doubt things will get more complicated. 
  • Ask yourself what it is YOU want to accomplish? Who you want to be? Is this person a hindrance to your growth? Or do they want to grow with you and lift you up while they lift themselves up? 

Don’t forget that your partner – with or without one – does not define you. You should never be ‘completed’ by another person. At the end of the day, you are faced with only you in the mirror. Respect and love yourself every step of the way and healthy relationships will follow. 

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