One thing you should know about me is that I’m a hopeless romantic.
Roses, candles, love letters, chocolates… I’m a sucker for all the tacky clichés and I don’t care if it’s wrong. I don’t even want to be right.
When I was younger and more impressionable I also believed in soulmates.
That there was one person you were destined to be with forever. That would make you happy, connect with you on all levels, rock your world like never before.
But I don’t anymore. Like Santa and the tooth fairy, adulthood and a healthy dose of cynicism has quashed that fantasy.
The cringe-worthy ‘You Complete Me’ soulmate theory extends back much further than Jerry Maguire to Greek mythology when the philosopher Aristophanes theorised that humans once had four arms and four legs, and two faces on a single head, roaming the world in perfect contentment.
These super-double-humans were so powerful that the Gods were uneasy. So Zeus sliced them all in half and condemned them to roam the earth seeking their other half. Humans were never happy again until they were reunited with their missing pieces. That’s how soulmates were created.
I call bullshit on that one.
First of all, I don’t think there is just one person for everyone out there. Secondly, I believe soulmates can come in many forms – not just lovers. Friends, mentors, family. Some people you just click with.
Elizabeth Gilbert is the author of book (now-to-be movie) Eat, Pray, Love. In her opinion, the word soulmate, as we have come to know it is – in a word – toxic.
We have romanticised the sentiment when in fact it is a cover for nothing more than ‘infatuation’, which is a dysfunctional way to conduct a relationship.
“I don’t feel like my husband is my soulmate – thank God!” said Gilbert recently in a television interview. “I feel like he’s my husband. I have my own soul, he has his own soul. We are each others’ mates.”
This way, she says, they can walk forward together in life, side by side, looking ahead together, as opposed to being sewn together, introverted and inward looking, depending on each other like oxygen.
The idea that there is just one person for everyone, and when you find them they will be perfect for you in every way creates enormous pressure on relationships.
People wander around looking for ‘The One’, all the while disregarding wonderful partners because they aren’t ‘perfect’.
Journalist Lori Gottlieb recently caused a stir with an article urging women to ‘settle for Mr. Good Enough’.
Too many women, she says, end up alone because they were too quick to discard a man if there was no immediate spark, or because he didn’t tick all the boxes.
Or because they were fruitlessly waiting for their soulmate. The One.
No one person can or will ever complete you or make you happy.
But don’t worry. Prince Charming may not be coming, but there are plenty of wonderful people out there that may just be a mind-blowing match for you. You just need to give them a chance.
I’ve asked this before, but do you believe in soulmates?