The Soul Mate Myth

Couple flirting over morning cofee in kitchen
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The notion of "soul mates" has been around a very, very long time. However, there are several viewpoints as to how to describe "soul mates," and even on how to spell it! Some people spell the term as a whole word, soulmate and others, prefer to keep it as two words, soul mate.

What Is a Soul Mate?

  • General Belief: Many people believe that soul mates can accept and love every part of the other's personality and that life with a soul mate is easy and natural.
  • Our Belief: We don't believe a soul mate is the "ideal or one and only person" in someone's life. Our definition of soul mates is individuals who both want their marriage to be a great one. Their marriage relationship feels like a natural fit. Although they, like all married couples, need to put a priority on their marriage, it is not hard to do because they have a sense of being at ease and connected with one another.

Soul Mate Challenges

If you believe in the myth of only one soul mate for each person, you may assume that a partnership of two soul mates should be able to handle challenging times easily. That may not always be the case.

Just because you are in tune to one another, each of you is willing to take responsibility for your role in contributing to the conflict, and are both committed to making the marriage a successful one—your marriage can still fall apart if other essentials such as love, respect, and communication are missing.

If you start looking for perfection in your spouse or think that everything in your relationship should immediately click and that there won't be any problems, you are setting yourself up for a dose of heavy disillusionment. Another danger in believing in the concept of soul mates is taking your marriage relationship for granted.

There can be a temptation to bail out of an unhappy marriage if you think your spouse isn't your soul mate. If you think that marriage to your soul mate will mean a life free from hard times and conflict, you are not facing reality.

If you think you've not married your soul mate, don't just walk away from the relationship for that reason alone. Spend some time getting to know yourself a bit better first. You can't find your perceived soul mate if you haven't found yourself first.

The Soul Mate Concept

  • Reincarnation: Some believe that a soul mate is someone with whom a person has shared other lifetimes through reincarnation. The soul mate could be a friend, business partner, parent, child, sibling, spouse or other family members. These soul mates can be of the same or opposite sex.
  • Other Half: Others believe, like the ancient Greek philosopher Plato, that a soul mate is a person's "other half". This concept was the basis of the movie, The Butcher's Wife where the idea of "split-aparts" searching for one another was explored. People all over the world believe that we are all searching for someone to make us whole and to share our journey of life with.
  • Predestination: The movie Still Breathing examines the thought that people are drawn together as soul mates by destiny or fate and that being with our soul mate is something we have no control over. This idea of predestination and connection even after death between soul mates was also examined in the movie What Dreams May Come.
  • Making Life Come to Life: Richard Bach described soul mates as "A soulmate is someone who has the locks to fit our keys, and the keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we; we can be loved for who we are and for who we're pretending to be. Each of us unveils the best part of one another. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person were safe in our paradise. Our soulmate is someone who shares our deepest longings, our sense of direction. When we're two balloons, and together our direction is up, chances are we've found the right person. Our soulmate is the one who makes life come to life. "
  • Profound Connection: Thomas Moore, in his book Soul Mates: Honoring the Mysteries of Love and Relationship, page xvii, describes a soul mate as "someone to whom we feel profoundly connected, as though the communication and communing that take place between us were not the product of intentional efforts, but rather a divine grace. This kind of relationship is so important to the soul that many have said there is nothing more precious in life."
  • Not Having Everything in Common: Anna Quindlen wrote in her memoir, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake: A Memoir (2012), "The term 'soul mate' -- which, I'm proud to say, I have never once used until now -- suggests two people who have everything in common. But our gender, with all the differences it implies, divides us. That has its advantages ..." 

The concept of having a soul mate is quite an alluring and romantic one. Having a secure and attuned connection with a significant other is something most everyone wants to achieve. However, it is still important to keep in mind that relationships can go through rough periods and times that you may feel insecure and misunderstood as well. You are likely still with the person you are supposed to be with despite these challenges.  

Article updated by Marni Feuerman