The idea of there being a soulmate, one person out there that you're absolutely perfectly suited for and who you should spend your life with, if only you can find them, is one that's deeply engrained in some cultures. You see it play out over and over again on TV shows, in movies, and in your favorite books. The only problem is that there are some toxic misconceptions about soulmates that a lot of people likely don't spend much time talking about, let alone thinking about.
While the idea of a relationship with the person who is truly your one true soulmate might sound appealing — there's romance, blissful happiness, and nothing ever goes wrong, after all — there are also a lot of scary, not so great feelings associated with it, especially if you don't think you've found yours yet. Some people who buy into the concept of soulmates put so much pressure on themselves to find that person, thinking that if they just keep searching, eventually they'll find them and get their own happily ever after. One of the many problems with the idea that there's only one person out there for you is that relationships — like people themselves — aren't perfect or predictable, so you don't necessarily know how things will go when you first meet someone. Whether you buy into the idea or not, the toxic misconceptions about soulmates warrant at least a little bit of consideration.
1. That There's One Person For You
Even the basic fact that there's just one person out there for you is a toxic misconception that people have about soulmates. "The conventional and idealized view of soulmates is that there is one person out there for you who will fulfill all of the things that you wish and hope for, and that they will complete you like the missing piece of a puzzle," clinical psychologist Michael Alcee, PhD., tells Romper via email. "True love (and a true soulmate) is not about finding 'the one' and 'being the one', it is rather, about finding new and flexible ways of creating and expanding together, of learning how to weather the challenges and storms of a real imperfect life, and in that crucible making something beautiful together."
2. That Things Will Be Perfect With Your Soulmate
Many times, books, movies, and TV shows that deal with the concept of a soulmate make it appear as though things are perfect in your relationship if they're the one with whom you're meant to share your life. That's problematic, because no relationship is perfect. "The idea of a soulmate can be very romantic," Jonathan Bennett, a certified counselor and a life, dating and relationship coach, tells Romper by email. "But, if you build up an image in your head, it can be impossible for anyone to live up to it in real life. Don’t let the search for your soulmate make you turn down good people who might be a great fit for you, but not quite 'perfect.'"
3. That Relationships With Your Soulmate Never Take Work
"You might have found the most perfect match in the world, but it doesn’t mean everything in the relationship will live up to a Disney movie ideal," Bennett says. "Being soulmates doesn't mean your relationship is perfect." No matter the relationship, it'll at least occasionally require some effort. Deliberately making time for dates and setting aside time to spend together are still important with your soulmate. It doesn't just happen.
4. That Your Partner Isn't The One If They Don't Live Up To The Fantasy In Your Head
Because of the cultural ideals surrounding the concept of a soulmate, it can be easy to build up that relationship in your head, thinking that the person will fit everything on your list or that your relationship will always go according to plan. Unfortunately, because that's just not how it goes in real life, that can set you up for failure. Rosalind Sedacca, C.L.C., a dating and relationship coach, author, and podcast host, tells Romper by email that it can create a lot of disappointment when that person can't live up to the fantasy in your head. You also might end a perfectly healthy and loving relationship, thinking they're not your soulmate because everything isn't the way that you see it in a romantic comedy. Not good.
5. That Relationships With Your Soulmate Will Be Conflict-Free
"Individuals who hold on to the belief that there is one person for them often mistake conflict or differences of opinion in relationship, as an indication that the person they chose is not 'the one,'" Silvia M. Dutchevici, L.C.S.W., the president and founder of the Critical Therapy Center, tells Romper via email. "Instead of learning to be with another, they often think they just haven’t found the right person." Again, that can result in you ending a relationship that's really good for you because you misinterpret any disagreements as signs that the two of you shouldn't be together.
6. That You Should Ignore Any Potential Issues If You Think They're Your Soulmate
In some cases, the idea of there being one soulmate for everyone can result in people remaining in dangerous, toxic, and abusive relationships because they think that the person that they're with is their soulmate. "When we begin to focus too much on someone being a soulmate, we can get so caught up in the fantasy and magic of meeting 'the one' that we miss out on red flags and being able to accurately assess a situation," Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist, tells Romper via email. If the relationship is unhealthy, they're not your soulmate.
It can sometimes be difficult to see it at the time, but that's part of the problem with the idea that there's only one person for you in the first place.
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