I have been wildly outspoken about calling bullshit on the concept of a soulmate. I thought it was an obvious fabrication by the RomCom movie industry, to succinctly wrap up a storyline in 120 minutes.
I have been trying to break down the idea of “The One” since I started writing about relationships. Which is ironic and a bit hypocritical, because in the back of my mind, every time I use the word I have a specific man who’s face, body and relationship sit in my mind until I move onto to another ranting topic.
So after a recent AHA moment, and quite a bit of soul searching (read: crying and singing in the shower) I have to admit – I was wrong.
Soulmates do exist. And you should spend your entire life looking for yours.
They will become the most important person in your life.
Buuuuttttt… they aren’t who you think they are. And when you do find them. DO NOT marry them.
My AHA moment came about the way it usually does; sitting in my oversized sweatpants and an expensive bra (my bloggers uniform) halfway down a Youtube blackhole. I’d been thinking a lot about my recent relationship and came across a clip from Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love on Super Soul Sunday.
She makes a bold statement when she says in her book “A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave.”
Oh. ok. I’ll just do that then…
I was able to make peace with my own struggle against “The One” when I realized that having a soulmate and a partner were both possibilities and even inevitable. But they didn’t have to be the same person. Even better, they probably shouldn’t be.
It’s the contradictions in the idea of a soulmate that had always made the idea so impossible to me. A soulmate is supposed to show you the truest, most dangerous parts of you and reveal all your flaws – and then turn around and also understand and accept your flaws as no big thing. That is crazypants.
As this idea of separate but equally important relationships has settled in over the past few weeks – it has been a continuous sigh of relief. It has made my relationship with my soulmate and my partner clear and easy (well, easier…) Here are a few of the things I’ve learned so far:
A soulmate shows you the best and worst of yourself
Your soulmate is a mirror to the truest parts of yourself. They can see the deepest inner workings of your life. That sounds super sexy, but it means they make you feel embarrassed, shame and regret. This is absolutely necessary to begin to heal the things that make you feel ashamed and embarrassed, but the process of working through these issues (like obsessions, addictions and fears) is messy and we make tons of mistakes. We need a soulmate to go through this process with us. But we can’t undo, unsee or unsay the things that we do during this time of massive personal growth. Resentment is a natural part of the soulmate relationship, and something that will destroy a strong partnership.
Intense pain isn’t a sign of a good partnership
We often confuse intense pain and heartbreak for love, and deep chronic hurt for passion. If we’re not careful we start to think that those feelings of pain are a prerequisite for love. They’re not. So many people, especially women who have felt that deep connection to someone confuse explosive emotion for love and end up in bad or abusive relationships for too long. Intense passion from a soulmate is meant to crack you open, but you need to give yourself space to heal and grow.
Your soulmate needs to leave
The kind of explosive love, intensity and passion you feel for a soulmate isn’t sustainable. Period. Once you and your soulmate learn from each other the lessons you both needed to learn, the energy can be so frenetic that there is no way you could be close without driving each other nutso or building up layers of resentment. Let them go with ease.
A great partner will thank your soulmate
Your partner doesn’t need to be your soulmate. They just need to trust you that you have had the experiences in your life to appreciate the deep love, connection and friendship that they can give you. They don’t judge you for your past and they aren’t jealous of your soulmate. They know you had to go through that relationship to become the strong, sensual and emotionally intelligent partner that they need.
Partners can chill the fuck out
The beauty of a true partnership is you find each other when you’re ready to really love. You’ve been cracked open and healed more than a few times and you’ve cracked open other people. Now you can settle into an amazing relationship knowing exactly what you need and how to ask for it, without all the bullshit and drama. You can share a pot of tea and read the paper together, you can have an amazing sex life, you can raise a family (if that’s a thing you want) and you can support each other – no questions asked. It feels great to find someone who you can chill the fuck out with.
This whole separate soulmate/partner thing is amazing. I have become an incredible friend to my soulmate. I listen with more compassion and am more open to going deep with him in our conversations. We’re driven by shared curiosity rather than forced intimacy. Our friendship is amazing when we remove the pretext of a necessary relationship every time we get close. And I am also more open to my new partnership. I don’t hold him to unrealistic expectations of angry/passionate arguments that used to define my misunderstanding of “chemistry” . It’s kind of awesome.