It is a proverbial trope — the destined soulmate who metaphorically sweeps you off of your feet will complete you.
The idea of soulmates, most often bound to romantic love, has been successfully espoused by books and movies. Many people have come to believe in its existence simply because it is convenient.
Consequently, this alludes to the notion that true love, and by extension, a perfect relationship, exists. However, reality has repeatedly disproved this.
The truth is simple: Attributing the success of relationships to the limiting idea of soulmates, minimizes the growth couples have undergone as individuals and partners.
It is exactly in this regard that I refuse to believe it exists.
It is a universal fact. Relationships constantly require work.
Soulmates claim that the connections made are easy and instant. There is supposedly an overwhelming sense of calm and peace when soulmates are together.
However, relationships are all about building a connection with someone and maintaining it. For it to survive, relationships take work, commitment, and a willingness to adapt and change with your partner.
When you assume that connections between soulmates are easy, it thereby invalidates the efforts and strides you make to sustain the relationship.
Relationships require constantly choosing to build with your partner. Your differences will make it complex, and yet it is in those differences that you will learn and grow together. It is a neverending process.
Long-term relationships are successful not because they believed things will magically figure themselves out. They figured it out together.
I am not saying that it should be difficult either. Choosing to put in the work should be easy.
Accordingly, you should credit yourself for the hard work, and not because there is a divine will at play.
You don’t just know it.
Soulmates are supposedly destined for you. They also often tell you that when you meet your soulmate, you know it in your gut.
Destiny dictates that there is a preordained path that you should follow.
However, this idea challenges your sense of agency. Agency refers to the thoughts and actions you take that express your power. You think and act in ways that will shape your experiences and life trajectories, hence, human agency contradicts destiny.
Relationships thrive on your ability to make your own choices, so you are what you make of the future. It hasn’t been set for you.
Relationships require coordination and planning. It isn’t determined by your gut. You work towards the same goals, but you never know how things will play out. Life is unpredictable, and change is inevitable, and yet you hope for the best anyway.
It hurts your personal growth.
Soulmates are supposedly your other halves — the one that essentially completes you.
This implies that somehow you are incomplete and that you need another person to make you whole.
For relationships to last, you should make room for you and your partner’s improvement. This allows for progress. But this doesn’t mean that you are obligated to fill in each other’s blanks.
The fact of the matter is, you need to be whole first before you choose to be with another person. Your partner shouldn’t complete you instead, you should complement each other.
Chasing after something that is supposedly already perfect hinders growth, but ultimately, relationships require it.
Soulmates, by definition, insinuate that the concept of true love exists. However, relationships are imperfect, but such is their beauty. Having an idealized concept of how relationships should be will only set unrealistic expectations.
So I propose this counter idea: Maybe soulmates are just people that help you become the person you should be, but you don’t necessarily end up with them.
Real love, on the other hand, is certain. But it doesn’t set you up for impossibilities instead, it is honest. Love is supposed to be work, and choices, and growth. It is an all-encompassing experience that will change you.
Written by Nicole.