Do you believe there is only one person in the world meant exclusively for you? If you answered yes, then you’re not alone. Apparently, three out of four Americans believe in soulmates. That’s a lot of people searching for their one true love. Of course, the most starry-eyed are those between the ages of 30 and 44. And, interestingly, more men than women believe that they are destined to find their soulmate. But does the idea of a soulmate actually help or hinder your chances of finding love? Here are five reasons why you may want to rethink the whole soulmate thing.
Chances could be slim that you’ll find your soulmate
Even if you do believe there is one person out there who is meant just for you, what are the chances of ever meeting that person? Well, according to science, your chances are a slim one in 10,000. That means you could be wasting a good chunk of your youth searching — and never finding. If you believe there is only one person on this earth who is meant for you, then you’re more likely to spend energy and time looking for him or her instead of actually cultivating existing relationships. That could leave you very lonely and with a lot of regrets.
It may strain potentially good relationships
If you believe in soulmates then you’re more likely to break up, give up and have difficult relationships, suggests Vanessa Van Edwards, author and behavioral investigator. Believers of soulmates tend to have passionate, yet short-term relationships. They easily become disillusioned and frustrated when something inevitably goes wrong. If you spend your life looking for that perfect person, then guess what, you’ll never find them — because they don’t exist!
In fact, I’ll wager that even if you did find your soulmate, it wouldn’t be the fairytale ending you envisioned. More than likely because those who think there is only one perfect person out there for them tend to believe they are compromising or settling for second best with anyone else. Not only does that place strain on an existing relationship, but when something goes wrong, instead of working things out and growing from the experience, they think, “Better move on and find my person,” says Van Edwards.
It may keep you bed-hopping
People who believe in pre-destined soulmates believe people either click or they don’t, and should therefore move on, suggests Dr. Jeremy Nicholson, social and personality psychologist. These beliefs tend to attract passionate yet short-lived relationships that keep the “soulmate searcher” with unrealistic expectations that result in hopping from one one-night stand to another.
You may have more than one soulmate out there
Ever hear of a soul group? Some people believe that every person born on this earth belongs to a soul group. A soul group includes souls who have chosen to incarnate together for the purpose of teaching each other important lessons, and even helping each other find love. They could be friends, family and colleagues. These are the people who affect us profoundly in our life journey. And what’s interesting is that they may not even be someone who you particularly like. Nevertheless, they’re traveling the same road, teaching you important lessons.
The thought is that while we’re on the “other side,” we make agreements with our soul group to meet up at some point on earth. Your soul group could be of various ages, and perhaps you’ve only met briefly. But, somehow, he or she has left a deep impression on you through a lesson or experience you shared. This, then, opens the possibility that there may be more than one soulmate out there to share your life with.
Love at first sight is a chemical reaction
Many people believe that falling in love at first sight is the result of meeting your soulmate. But it turns out that falling in love only takes about a fifth of a second. According to a meta-analysis study conducted by Syracuse University, falling in love not only elicits the same euphoric feeling as using cocaine, but also affects intellectual areas of the brain. Research suggests that 12 areas of the brain work together to release euphoria-inducing chemicals like dopamine, oxytocin, adrenaline and vasopressin.
Those feelings of love can also affect sophisticated cognitive functions like body image. This suggests that the brain actually falls in love before the heart, which may explain why, when relationships fail, they can cause significant emotional stress and depression on people. So, all those lovesick emotions you’re feeling when you meet someone you think is your soulmate may actually be chemicals reacting in your brain. That kind of throws the whole soulmate concept out the window.
Do soulmates really exist?
The idea of soulmates suggests that you and your love are somehow cosmically predestined, and that ending up with anyone else would be a tragedy. But, one question remains, does believing in soulmates actually produce a fairytale ending? I, like many, am a romantic at heart and believe that we are predestined to meet up with certain individuals. Whether the relationship is meant to last forever is unknown. But what I do know is that people are often drawn to each other because that is what their souls need at that moment in their life.
Great relationships aren’t instantaneous. They take time to cultivate through shared life lessons and experiences. Maybe we should redefine our description of a soulmate, particularly since believing may lead you on an endless and unrealistic search for the perfect man or woman. But no one is perfect. So, instead of spending your life searching for a soulmate, search instead for someone you can grow with, someone who is perfect — flaws and all — just the way they are.
— Katherine Marko