Soul Mates

Soul mates and the concept of true love are common topics in fiction. Love is not a logical phenomenon in the scientific sense, even though scientists have determined what hormones cause the feeling of “love,” what bodily chemicals cause us to be attracted to certain people, etc. Even though science has brought us to those kinds of conclusions, I still don’t see love as something entirely logical. Love makes your brain turn upside down and your heart take over. And in a way, reducing love to a science takes a lot of the “magic” out of it.

I like writing about love and soul mates in fiction, mostly because fictional love (for the most part) is so far from reality. There are some authors (Raymond Carver is a good one) who portray relationships and love the way they actually are in real life, with all the complications, unspoken words, and issues from the past. But if you read a romance novel (or something like Twilight), you’ll get a totally different and totally unrealistic take on love and the concept of soul mates. That’s why I consider romance novels to be subgenre of fantasy.

I don’t know if I believe in “soul mates” in real life. I know that there are some couples who get along really well, finish each others’ sentences, and that kind of thing. Perhaps they are soul mates. Plenty of people never find their “soul mate,” or perhaps they just didn’t have one, so I’m not entirely sure that everyone is meant to have a soul mate. Some people are happier alone, with the company of friends and family, and that suits them. Others will keep searching for a soul mate their entire life.

I suppose it depends on how you are most fulfilled. Relationships can fulfill you and enrich your life, even though relationships themselves are definitely not easy. They take a lot of work, and it’s so important to have someone that you can actually work with and who agrees with you on the things that matter to you most. Contrary to fictional relationships, your soul mate doesn’t just magically appear out of nowhere, fall in love with you, and you live happily ever after in perfect harmony. I would say that even relationships between soul mates take a lot of work, but they would be easier than a relationship with someone who wasn’t your soul mate.

So… do you believe in the concept of “soul mates”?

20 thoughts on “Soul Mates

  1. its all a game of coincidence if u ask me. now lets say there may be a girl in Sweden or somewhere else who may be perfect for me, likes everything i like and we would theoretically be great together. but the fact remains that i may never see her. so we make do with what is in front of us. it may not be the best match, but it may not be that bad either. it depends really on circumstances really.

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    1. I’ve had that thought several times; there might be the perfect guy for me, but he might live in Italy and chances are, I’d never meet him. If I did meet him, it wouldn’t be real life; it would be a movie or a dream. A lot of the time, we do have to settle for what’s in the immediate vicinity.

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  2. Love isn’t logical. But that’s no reason to eschew it. We do a lot of things that aren’t logically recommended for our salaries, body type, lung capacity, etc. Everyone divides the things they do into two possibly overlapping categories: the things that we must do, and the things that we enjoy doing.
    The concept of soul-mate was invented to sell roses and chocolates, if you ask me. The existence of a soul is far from proven, and for evolution to encode a perfect yin to our yang in someone else (who’s not related to us) seems like a stretch. But compatibility is a real thing, some people are better for someone than others. I guess it also depends on personality—some people are tough and uncompromising and hence will look for people who exactly fit their needs, while others will be more flexible.
    If a person is willing to search for a soulmate their entire life, I would conclude that they enjoy the search more than anything else. People are flawed, and you need to find the person whose flaws are acceptable to you. This concept of soulmates and other-halves ends up dissatisfying people.
    Nice post.

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    1. Right. I think it’s a lot more fiction than fact most of the time. And I especially agree with this: “If a person is willing to search for a soulmate their entire life, I would conclude that they enjoy the search more than anything else.”

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  3. It’s a romantic notion, but also sets people up for unrealistic expectations. I thought several people were my “soul mates” early on. Turns out that it was something else entirely! I believe there are simply people we fall into company/friendship/love with much easier than others and that our choice is what determines if it is a momentary or lifelong connection.

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  4. There are no soul mates in my fiction, because I don’t think there are any in life. Not that couples can’t be as close as you describe, partners for life, finishing each other’s sentences, etc. But that’s just how some couples are — it’s not fate and it’s not to say that they each wouldn’t have been quite happy with other people, or alone, if things had happened differently. And some couples who argue a lot are perfectly happy, too.

    I agree with a lot of the earlier comments, about the commercial aspects.

    Which isn’t to say that I’m against romance. There are several happy long-term couples in my fiction. As I’ve talked about on my blog, I’m far more interested in long-term relationships than I am in courtship and all that. My favorite couple got married at one point, and the guy said that there might be negatives (the bride being a multiple murderer and all), but being together was better than being apart.

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    1. I mostly have soul mates in my fiction, because I’m a hopeless romantic (and who knows, maybe the commercial aspect got to me, too), but you’re right: who’s to say that two people who work well together wouldn’t have been equally happy with other people or alone?

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  5. I think each person has many soul mates – I see it as the compatibility, the spark and the energy between two people. My few best friends, for example, are my soul mates. I think we can also have soul mates of the same sex. I once met a girl the first day of my University. She, of all people, came directly in front me and said: Let’s go for a coffee. And that coffee was 4 hours long. Since the first day, we always had numerous coffee’s, many talks, laughs etc. I didn’t know anyhting about her, but we immediately connected. I think the film industry made ‘soul mates’ too dramatical. And there of course is the problem of having too much choice. I mean, choice can easily kill us. It complicates everything to such extent, that we end up miserable. We are so confused nowadays.

    Maybe to think about, nicely put:
    A true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. But to live with a soul mate forever … can be painful?

    A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave.

    A soul mates purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life…

    -Elizabeth Gilbert

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    1. I definitely think you can have a same-sex soul mate. One of my college roommates was like my soul mate in a way; we got along so well together. You’re right about having choice; it can complicate and drive us totally crazy after awhile. I love the Elizabeth Gilbert quote; thanks for sharing! 🙂

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  6. I think it all depends on whatever the definition of soul mates is. I think, as you point out, there can be couples who get along very well and understand each other very well. I guess they ‘click’.

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  7. We are a culture of serial monogamy in the US were I’m from.
    So, I believe in both.
    Soul mates are also family and friends. Those relationships are hears too.
    I’m guessing that not finding real love may have something to do with conformity and not being true to the self being authentic and being oneself. I’m no expert.
    It’s just my experience. Enjoyed your observations very much.

    Great post!

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  8. I don’t believe in soul mates, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with settling for what is available to you. Relationships require work no matter who you end up with, and the fairy tale happy endings we are sold through fiction often fail to express how difficult relationships are in reality.
    Just as love is complicated, so are relationships. When two people, with different histories, beliefs, strengths and weakness, fall in love and try to make a life together, they will have to make compromises. Compromise means not always doing what you want. And that alone can test the love between two people.
    I think it would be great to see, read and hear about more stories that express the fact that love is hard, relationships are hard, but in the end, often worth fighting for.
    I sometimes wonder what would the divorce statistics read if we were raised with more realistic expectations about love and marriage. The knowledge that people can go through long periods of pain together, and come through the at the other end with even more love and understanding for each other.

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    1. I never thought about how different the divorce statistics would be. I think there would definitely be less divorce if we were given realistic expectations about relationships and love.

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  9. I don’t believe in soul mates, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with settling for what is available to you. Relationships require work no matter who you end up with, and the fairy tale happy endings we are sold through fiction often fail to express how difficult relationships are in reality.
    Just as love is complicated, so are relationships. When two people, with different histories, beliefs, strengths and weakness, fall in love and try to make a life together, they will have to make compromises. Compromise means not always doing what you want. And that alone can test the love between two people.
    I think it would be great to see, read and hear about more stories that express the fact that love is hard, relationships are hard, but in the end, often worth fighting for.
    I sometimes wonder what would the divorce statistics read if we were raised with more realistic expectations about love and marriage. The knowledge that people can go through long periods of pain together, and come through the at the other end with even more love and understanding for each other.

    Like

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