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Searching for a soulmate is futile. Your thoughts?

The soulmate ideal won't go away. You see it on dating profiles, rom-coms and the Bachelor.

The concept dates back at least to Plato's Symposium (c. 385–370 BC). Zeus, seeking to humble humans, split them in half, forcing us to wander in search of our other half: "So ancient is the desire of one another which is implanted in us, reuniting our original nature, making one of two and healing the state of man."

While romantic, this has done an an awful lot of damage: creating impossible-to-meet expectations, making people think a happy, healthy relationship isn't good enough, and tricking people into holding out for "the one."

Love at first sight? That's lust, hormones and chemicals.

The Science Behind Love at First Sight

"The brain quickly releases hormones and chemicals like dopamine, oxytocin, and adrenaline into your bloodstream, which make you feel extremely happy and excited. You feel like this is the one, and that everything will work out and you’ll be happy together forever. This reaction, actually, is very similar to how drug addiction feels. It’s like you've become addicted to that person in a very short span of time, and now all you want to do is think about them and be with them. "

[culturacolectiva.com]

To love is an action verb. This includes mutual problem-solving, growing together, seeing the good in each other, emotional and physical intimacy, enjoying each other's company, conversation, laughter and fun.

"He's very efficient," a woman I know said, looking at her husband with affection. "And I procrastinate. We used to fight about it all the time, but now we just work around each other."

"He lets me sit there and drink coffee in the morning while he bustles around. When we're on vacation, we spend one day doing what he want to- usually getting up early and driving to every bakery in town- and the next day the way I want to- sleeping in, strolling. But we had to learn that, how to sync up."

Here's my joke about soulmates:

Suddenly I'm running through a flowery field in a long white dress, birds and butterflies fluttering around, magically not tripping, sunlight highlights my hair, violin music swells with arms outstretched and into the arms of... What's that tingling feeling? Ticks.

LiterateHiker 9 Apr 12
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44 comments

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8

Anyone looking for their "Knight in Shining Armor", their "Soulmate", or "The One" are kidding themselves. That stuff was created to sell greeting cards, chocolates, flowers, and various and sundry romantic paraphenalia. It's a nice idea, it just isn't realistic.

You have to be realistic about love and romance or it will bite you in the ass once the endorphins wear off. There's also no love at first sight. There's lust at first sight, intrigue at first sight, interest at first sight, even excitement but not love.

Love is if you still feel that way about them five years later.

@Sgt_Spanky

Exactly. Well said.

@LiterateHiker I have my moments.

7

I don’t need anyone to make me whole, I am already complete. When people speak about a soul mate or the one it is a fantasy. Yes one can meet a person who one loves to be with but not every moment of the day. There are not two people on earth who would have the same desires or hobbies one always has to compromise or give up one’s interests. Most people are together because they are afraid of being alone.

6

Women seem to be the gender that is constantly in search of their "other half" "soul mate," or the one that "completes" them. Why is that?

Personally, I think this mentality keeps women in subservient positions. Thinking we have to have someone else in our lives to feel whole and complete. I wish we would raise young girls to feel whole, powerful, and in control just within themselves. Females in America really are raised to be needy.

@linxminx

Well said. I agree.

6

After numerous failures, I have determined that I, personally, am not cut out
to be in a romantic relationship. At least not for any significant length of time.
I no longer believe in "soul mates". I think it's exactly like you stated above.
Now, it would just be called slick marketing.

I think most of the people who come into our lives aren't really meant to stay there.
Particularly of the romantic variety.

I think, back in the day, people stayed together for a number of different reasons,
usually having very little to do with "love".
Societal and religious mores, financial constraints, children, etc.
Women now know they are not confined by societal expectations.

For myself, I'm fine being alone. I no longer have the energy or inclination for
putting up with anyone else's bullshit. I have enough of my own to deal with.

5

Get involved in things you love, and things you enjoy doing......then be open to the people enjoying with you...and travel, lots and lots of traveling.. and when opportunity knocks...answer

5

I had a love at first sight soul-mates. We were together from meeting until her untimely death. June used the Zeus analogy to describe us. I agree with her. She had sworn off marriage until meeting this random Englishman who'd just saved another lady's life. I proposed two weeks later, and she said yes, we were married a couple of months later, staying together for almost a quarter of a century.
Add to this, we had the same group of friends and had been just missing each other for about nine years before the fateful evening. A random encounter leading to me using my first aid skills, which put me in a different location passing on information which led to our eyes meeting and crash, bang boom. Love like neither of us had known before.
I don't expect to find that sort of thing again, but if I do it will be because it happens, not because I am searching for it.

5

Perhaps seeking someone compatible is more realistic than a "soulmate". It's very likely that if we seek perfection we miss out of opportunities to meet someone that would be a great match.

MizJ Level 8 Apr 12, 2020
4

Its all BS except for that tiny handful of people who know its not BS. The rest of us can only get on with our lives as best we can.

4

I think the idea of a soulmate is corrupt bullshit. It locks people into the idea that somewhere out there is "the one". Or "how can I leave him if he's my soulmate, there'll never be a other". It undermines critical and autonomous thinking. There is no soul and even as a metaphor it conceals the idea that relationships take work, they're not magically perfect and there are many who could be good mates.

4

My father passed away when I was 3 years old. I recall several times in my younger years my mother talking about praying that "God" would give her a SOUL MATE. Later years I heard her comment that "God" would be her husband.

She is still a widow in her late 60s.

Word Level 8 Apr 12, 2020
4

Soulmates are as much wishful thinking and fantasy as is a heavenly afterlife. Too good to be true. If you are fortunate enough to stumble upon someone with whom you're extremely compatible, then lucky you! I don't think that happens for most people. Even then, if you don't expect the occasional conflict, you're not being realistic. Most of us just have to learn to be adaptable and accommodating... or alone.

Deb57 Level 8 Apr 12, 2020
4

My take on searching for a soulmate: Stop searching. But live your best life, keep a curious mind and an open heart.

4

We will never find perfect "soulmates." As the existentialist says, we are each ultimately alone in the universe.
We are fortunate when we can find a person who appreciates some of the same things that we do, who will allow us to be ourselves,and to be their own independent person on their own without demanding that we share everything, and with whom be both derive comfort and joy.

3

While I don't believe in souls or soul mates I do believe in, for lack of a better term, "ultimate compatability".

Only because I found it (at a time when neither of us were looking for it). Never would have imagined it existed without experiencing it, and when we actually fell in love we both were so naturally high from it we had to help each other go up and down steps for about 3 days - it was awesome. 🙂

We still get "high" off each other but no where near as bad as it used to be. I think I could pass a field sobriety test now when there were times I couldn't have just from us being together.

But yeah on the rest. It's work, commitment, and letting each other be themselves without judgement.

1of5 Level 8 Apr 13, 2020

Well said. I too found my soul-mate. And, yes, among the most important ingredients were hard work, tolerance, forgiveness ,and love. She has been gone since 2002 and I simply cannot love anyone else, I was that spoiled by her. I miss her still.

3

I've been lucky enough to have two . Both of them started with lust but when lust is combined with 2 decent people who want to make each other happy. I think you get soulmates.

3

If you're seeking the IChing of romantic connection, that'd be a Twin Flame. Soulmates, as romanticized by media outlets really pale in comparison and can happen often, interspecies, and between people not at all romantically interested. 😉

That aside, we tend to be our own worst enemies on this topic.

I don't subscribe to any alleged "science" regarding chemical attraction (ie: love at first sight) because I count myself lucky in love and the 3 times I actually bothered past a shelf-life of milk, they were at-first-sight scenarios and all 3 were long-term. Physical appearance had little to do with the why's involved. Much more how they carried themselves, mannerisms, funny little individualistic traits that were apparent within moments, at times, seconds. We're they warm or stiff/rigid? Did the face smile including eyes or just a facade-smile, etc. Voice, scent, and so on. It's complex, not complicated.

Where I'm very different than some, I don't EVER meet quickly. There's a learning curve that needs to happen. How is the banter via email/text? Are phone conversations easy or like pulling teeth with awkward silences? How are the agreeing-to-disagree skills? Blah blah blah.

All of this combined with loads of pictures, commonalities, and differences, make a first meeting much less a breeding ground for disappointment, much more a formality before the second date.

We set ourselves up for exactly what we meet. If it's a 15 minute chemistry check, you're going to have a whole lot of meet-n-greets, and I simply don't bother.

All in all, if there's no immediate sense of ease, even in email, it's not happening for me. So I don't agree it's impossible. It just isn't an easy find. Being negative, disgruntled, and overall way too analytical will kill the whole point. So why bother at all. It's supposed to make us feel good, excited. 🙂

3

It's easy. Just lower your standards.

Noooooo, never.

@ChurchLess

Lower my standards? No way.

If I wanted a fat, slovenly, ignorant, Republican fisherman and hunter who loves his chainsaw, Harley and snowmobile and decorates with antlers: I'd be ALL SET.

3

I never believed in soulmates, or love at frst sight.

I say that having been thunderstruck...falling head over heels during the first kiss and knowing after that first fuck that I would NEVER be as at ease, as in love, as satisfied as i was. I still remember days spent naked, exploring each other without making love, just to be with that man. Sigh. So many perfect moments.

I eventually found out he was married. But that did not negate those days nor that feeling. I still feel the same way 15 years later.

So did you feel the same after finding out he was married, after knowing that he had cheated on his wife?

3

Ticks need love, too!

They get it every time they find a new “host” to bite.

@Jolanta So “romantick!”

3

I'd be happy with someone respectful, willing to work as a team, someone to bounce ideas off of and share thoughts without recrimination. I'm more concerned day to day with myself and doing what makes me happy. I'm totally ok by myself. There's no less in being single than there would be with a partner.

3

I'm not looking for a soulmate. I'm not looking for someone to live with. I have found the one person I can't live without.

3

Lol 😂
No such thing as soulmates - tics? Yes!
Perhaps the closest thing to soulmates is two people who recognize that relationships take work, and are prepared to do that work.

3

Great thoughts. I’ve run into those ticks before myself.

2

I suspect that "soulmates" are mostly a youthful teenage notion of "perfect" love with a "perfect" partner, from those simple days when we were less-complicated, less experienced (both good and bad), had fewer needs and deal-killers, no "baggage", no kids, no history, had perfect bodies and a blank slate ahead of us to explore together. That was then... this is now. Most of us on this site are way past that and have our own history and complexities. We don't believe in Santa, god, or miracles and should by now, know that the best-possible partner will involve making compromises, just as we'll need for that hypothetical partner to make for us. The best thing that the wisdom of our age can bring to us is the skill of each, from past experiences, in finding and accepting those needed compromises in a respectful and graceful manner.

@mtnhome

Writing a profile on Twitter, you are limited to eight sentences (364 characters). Yet many middle aged men prioritize writing:

"Seeking my soulmate."

Also many men want "nsa" (no strings attached), guaranteed to repel women.

@LiterateHiker Aren't all dating sites littered with that crap? What gets me is the women who divorced after 30+ years looking for :
Their Soul Mate
Their Happily Ever After
Their One True Love

Nauseating......didn't your 30 year marriage accomplish all of that?
I mean ........ that ship has sailed, hasn't it?

@twill

20 Online Dating Cliches and What They Really Mean

[bbc.com]

@LiterateHiker OH BOY...Perfect. I recognize all of that !

Which is why I went to "Let's just meet and cut through all of this crap"
I thought I was onto something there. Was I ever wrong. Oh well, no more dating sites (job interviews) for me

And thanks for posting that BTW

2

Life is a journey and not a destination. Love can be painful as well as eventually one of you will lose the other as I speak from experience. I try to cherish the day and be more in the moment with this precious gift that life can provide.

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