When the word soulmate is uttered, the common idea that pops into the minds of many people is that there is someone out there whom the universe has predestined for them.
Their mind goes to some special man or woman custom made for them; one with whom a connection has been created from the beginning of time, and all they’d need to do is locate the person in order that endless sparks might be triggered.
According to Vanessa Van Edwards in the “The Science of Soulmates,” - see below to watch clip – over 70% of American adults believe in this concept of soulmates defined above.They believe that love and a happy, fulfilling relationship that’ll last a lifetime is closely linked to destiny and not much more.
This belief, apparently, is not limited to the yankee people. There are people around here in Nigeria who also believe in destiny when it comes to relationships and ultimately, marriages. Although stats do not exist on this, don't be surprised to find that the Nigerian figures are pretty close to the American equivalent.
Inemesit Udodiong, a writer and presenter of Pulse Nigeria’s “Love Sex and Everything Else” knows a thing or two about this. According to her, people who believe in God and follow his plan for their lives will know when they meet ‘the one’ that has been chosen for them by him. If they agree to follow “God’s plan” and date the woman or man in question, they’ll be entering that relationship with their ‘soulmate.’
But she [rightly] adds that although God chooses for people, he leaves them with a freewill to follow that laid down plan or [successfully] chart a different romantic course for their life, using their human senses.
What this opinion obviously means is that there's more than one person in this world you can find happiness with. Your destiny isn't bound to just one person who you must have as a do-or-die affair. That pretty much settles that.
Some other persons like Adaobi, a Lagosian in her early 20’s, think that soulmates are people who just instantly, effortlessly blend. According to Adaobi, soulmates are people you connect with without trying too hard, without having to do too much.
Why this concept of soulmate is flawed
A lot of people believe that a soulmate is the person with whom you know right from the start that there will be something special. This presupposition that being soulmates boils down to 'a knowing' or an instant connection is the hugest chink in the armour of this popular definition as far as I am concerned.
Being hit by a blitz of affectionate feelings for someone from the onset and having a fiery, mutual connection with them from the moment you said your first words is great. But it is surely not conclusive evidence of anything, certainly not an assurance of their suitability for you or a sure fire sign that they’re your soulmate.
Attractions fade. So 'love at first sight' is too baseless to be taken with anything more than a pinch of salt. It’s actually not very wise to take ONLY a thing as random as instant connection as a sign of having met your soulmate.
This is because connections have been known to break at the test of time and circumstances. Any bond untested by either of these things isn’t worth boasting about and until this test occurs and your relationship successfully wades through it, it definitely has yet to rise to the level of getting the soul mates tag.
People also believe that the relationship between soul mates has a certain magical, mystical feel to it. They feel that love is so strong and the chemistry is unexplainable and the sex is mind blowing. Why I disagree with this is because there are people who have felt love like magic, romance like a fairy tale and sex like a whirlwind, only to still end up disappointed, hurt and bitter.
Saying someone is your soulmate just because sex with them is really good or because you feel giddy every time they look at you is a bit childish, really. Sex is pretty physical and the explosiveness of it could be due to nothing else but their sexual prowess and an ability to touch and caress the right place at the right time. Don’t think too much of it.
People also like to think that they haven't met their soulmate until they come across a person they effortlessly vibe with. I think this is a bit deceptive because in reality, everyone in a relationship/marriage knows that none would exist without some measure of effort on the part of both partners. Yes, the effort taken may be little and easy to make, but you will need to put in some effort, make some compromise, some sacrifice, some change.
Waiting to meet someone with whom none of these will be required in the name of waiting for your soul mate is a dream you need to wake the hell up from.
What the concept of soulmates should really be about
I actually do not dispute the existence of soulmates. It is the things that the word now stands for that I would never believe in.
Any definition of soul mates which does not factor in time, effort, differences, growth and everything else that real life relationships go through cannot be completely true in my opinion. And this is why I think the popular ideas related to the concept are quite flawed.
Like I wrote in a previous article on why you need to never believe in the idealistic definition of soulmates and perfect relationships:
“Soul mates don't come predestined from heaven. Becoming excellently synced with someone, anyone... takes time and I like to believe that it's not only the instant connection and hitchless romance you momentarily build with someone that solely qualifies him or her as a soul mate.
"The core idea of the concept, which seems to be lost on many people, is that you are actually allowed to grow together through bumps, [work through differences], ride through the mud and somehow emerge smelling like lavendar and vanilla. A soul mate need not be perfect from the onset. It is the thing of beauty you make [from the] rough patches [you go through] that matters."
I should add that the most important factor here is time. Whether it was love at first sight and smooth sailing from the onset, or if you had to work through a lot before finding a balance in that relationship, it does not really matter.
What matters is how long you have been able to maintain an enviable level of happiness and satisfaction. How long has your bond been, how long have you been together through thick and thin, how happily interwoven have your lives become, and how sustained is the great level of understanding, loyalty, faithfulness and commitment between both partners?
Until you have been with someone for 10 years in genuine happiness, I dare say, you shouldn't start boasting yet of having met your soulmate. This is not to say relationships of 10 years are immune to crashes, but the likelihood of a union staying truly healthy for that long and then crashing is low.
According to Fatherly.com;
"Studies suggest that 20 percent of marriages end within the first five years, and that this number increased by 12 percent within 10 years. But between 10 years and 15 years, the rate only increases about 8 percent, implying that one of the safest stages of your marriage is between years 10 and 15."
So, yeah, until you have been genuinely happy and in a truly healthy relationship with your partner for at least, 10 years, you should think twice before opening your mouth to tell anyone that you have found your soulmate.