It’s incredibly romantic to believe in a soulmate. That there’s one person out there everyone is destined to be with.
Cue: every Rom Com that came out in the ’90s of two strangers meeting on a busy street. These stories crafted the idea that somewhere, out there, is your perfect match. Someone who will understand every little part of you, even though you’ve never met.
While those stories might’ve made for a great plotline, they’re not helping your love life.
You see, the idea of soulmates started in Ancient Greek times. Plato wrote a book called the Symposium in which he described how Zeus split people in half. They were forever left to wander Earth, searching for their other half. Somehow, that story hung around until the present.
Does that mean there isn’t someone great out there for you? Someone you can have a thriving relationship with? Not at all.
But believing there’s only one single person with whom everything will be perfect can keep you from a truly amazing relationship.
While “destiny” may be alluring, it doesn’t take into account what a real relationship requires: growth, patience, understanding, and compromise. Things that the notion of a soulmate doesn’t make room for.
So if you want a thriving relationship, consider letting go of the “soulmate” notion.
Still not convinced?
Here are a few ways you’re hurting yourself by searching for a soulmate:
You could miss red flags.
When you believe someone is your soulmate, that they’re destined to be with you, it’s easy to overlook times they mistreat you. Or obvious signs they’re not a good person. You’ve probably heard the phrase “looking at things through rose-colored glasses.” That wishful thinking is exactly what can happen when you think someone is your destiny.
The fact is, no one is perfect. Thinking they are can lead to you being hurt even more in the long run. That’s why it’s important to notice any red flags that come up.
No matter how in love you think you are.
You don’t take time to set boundaries.
Often, people who believe they’re soulmates think they don’t need boundaries. That since the universe brought them together, their lives are each other’s lives; nothing is off-limits.
But enmeshing with your partner never ends well. Even the happiest couples have boundaries. Actually, they’re the ones that are best at setting boundaries. Because every person on this planet has personal limits. Not respecting them will only hurt you and your partner in the long run.
You don’t put in the effort a healthy relationship needs.
Perfection leaves little room for any mistakes or even admitting that things can be better. Focusing on how you and your partner are “meant to be” distracts you from the areas in which you’re not doing so hot. Let’s be real: most people aren’t good at communicating or compromising. That’s the sort of work every relationship needs, regardless of how great of a match the couple is.
You don’t prioritize your life outside of a relationship.
Being engulfed by your relationship might seem romantic. But I’d caution against spending every free moment you have with your partner. While you may think this is how a relationship should be, you’re actually making it harder to feel fulfilled by your relationship.
Making your partner your everything is a very lofty expectation. Some needs aren’t meant to be filled by your love life. That’s where friends, family, hobbies, and goals come in. They’re the parts of our lives that not only give us purpose.
But they remind us of who we are, regardless of a relationship.
You’re more likely to focus on “passion” than other qualities.
When you think of a soulmate, you might think of things like “love at first sight,” chemistry, and passion. But when you’re too focused on those qualities with a person, you don’t consider what truly matters for a healthy relationship.
You rush into things rather than letting them grow.
Think of a relationship like a houseplant.
You need time to let it form strong roots, sprout new leaves, and, eventually, blossom. But the thing about people who search for their idea of a soulmate is that they don’t take things slow. Like, at all.
When you rush into a relationship, you skip a lot of crucial moments and force things that shouldn’t be forced. You don’t create that solid foundation for you both to feel safe and secure. Before you know it, you’re up to your neck in the relationship and wondering how you got there.
You let great relationships pass you by.
One of the worst ways the idea of a soulmate can wreck your love life is that you let a lot of potentially great partners slip past you. If a long-term relationship is what you want, then judging someone based on a first-date spark or a long checklist of what you imagine your “perfect” partner to be isn’t a good strategy.
Opening up to love looking differently than you thought gives you a chance to find someone you could be incredibly happy with. After all, love is created when two people see their partner for who they are, perceived imperfections included, and choose to build the relationship anyways.