Why It’s Okay Not To Find Your Soul Mate
The popular belief that there is a single person in the world that is perfectly suited to be your partner is one you’ve probably heard—repeatedly—since adolescence. Although women tend to be the most vocal about the need to find a soul mate, men have also been known to engage in this pursuit. Though I do not deny the possibility of finding someone to love, marry, and be happy with, I have always had trouble believing that only one woman could fit the bill. Experience has taught me that compatibility is not equivalent to perfection, nor is it guaranteed to lead to a life of constant happiness. Indeed, compatibility can actually mean being in a relationship that is filled with tension and strain, ups and downs; but that is nevertheless satisfying and nurturing.
It’s okay not to find your soul mate, because in the end such a person may not exist. You should not base your relationship decisions on popular standards and conventions. Only you can know when a girl is right for you. It may be the case that you and your girl have a relationship that is perfectly calm and serene: one in which there is no arguing, shouting, losing of tempers or any other forms of high drama. Things may be great in the sack, and you may both have good careers, loyal friends, and a wonderful social life.
On the other hand, you may be in a relationship that is filled with flair ups and disagreements, frequent stress and imperishable struggle. However, being with such a person doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in a bad relationship. It may just mean that you are both strong-willed and strong-minded, which makes you both naturally inclined to dissent from the opinion of others. There is something that keeps you wanting to stay with her despite the many tense moments you’ve had together. Perhaps it is her feistiness and independence of mind that does it, and you have been unwilling to acknowledge that. In any case, you should not discount her as a partner on account of your occasional tiffs.
One of the great errors of the soul mate hypothesis is that it assumes the woman that you will be most happy with will be one who shares your interests, hobbies, passions, and ways of thinking. This need not be the case. A purely physical attraction and vigorous sexual relationship may constitute all that there is between you. Contrary to popular belief, such a relationship is actually sustainable. As long as you agree on some fundamental things about living together—the need to be honest and faithful to one another and to secure your material prosperity—it is fine to put sex, rather than other interests, at the center of your life together. Such relationships are not often discussed because they are deemed too shallow to be workable. But nothing can stop two people who burn for one another in a way that never fizzles. If you must have her, and she must have you, why shouldn’t you build something greater around that?
The bottom line is that you should never allow other people to define the circumstances and criteria for you to enter a serious relationship. The person you end up with may not be your soul mate—according to the popular understanding of this idea. That’s okay. Relationships aren’t about putting people into categories and compiling lists of qualities to which they must measure up. They are about making the most of the person you’re with. She’s never going to be perfect. But the thing you must realize is: neither will you.
About Christopher Reid Chris was born in Washington, D.C. and lives in Britain. He works as a blogger, essayist, and novelist. His first book, Tea with Maureen, has just been published.