Do you believe in having a soul mate or “The One”? Or do you think it’s more about timing? People vary greatly on what they expect from their partners…
If you think back to the last rom com you saw, chances are there was a strong story line of boy meets girl (one of them is sometimes a little damaged in some way), boy and girl separate for some reason, boy and girl get back together and perfectly fulfil each other from thereon in.
Our favourite songs often mention unrequited love or the loss of that special person.
So with all this emphasis on that perfect person, what does it mean for relationships?
The problem with soulmates
The problem with believing in a soulmate is that while this is probably okay in that intense honeymoon period while the pheromones are flying around, it can be tricky when inevitable challenges to the relationship start to occur. These can vary from chores to finances to child rearing, when suddenly that perfect person is just not that perfect anymore. This creates feelings of confusion and uneasiness in the other party, and in some cases, even a desire to leave.
Relationships are changing
There are a lot of theories as to why people believe in concepts like a soul mate or “the one”, some are cultural like the examples I mentioned above, others relate to the ideal being perpetuated by the person’s parents as they grew up.
Historically, if we think back to traditional 1950s marriages, the roles and what was expected, were a lot better defined – female as the caregiver and stay at home mum and dad as the more distant parent, earning the money.
Psychology has played a huge role too, over the years, with the emphasis on self fulfilment, which is good – as long as this does not put too much expectation on the other person. A person still needs to look at themselves too, and be careful of projecting their unmet needs on their partner.
I don’t think any one relationship can fulfil your every need, nor is it healthy to believe this is the case.
If we consider where else we look for support for example – do we always turn to our partner, or do we have a healthy network of friends, family or a counsellor that we can lean on too?
They’re only human after all
Relationships are never black and white and they are always growing, with ups and downs and “blah bits”, a bit like life in general. My concern is that the soul mate ideal puts a lot of pressure on the other person, who is only human with their own imperfections and needs.
A more realistic view might be to consider a relationship as in a state of flux, where conflict has to be resolved at times, and where you and your partner may sometimes feel really out of sync. However, that you are mutually committed to getting through these patches, and to ensuring both parties obtain and support each other in their own personal growth too.