How Believing in Soul Mates Is Hurting Your Love Life
The idea of having a soul mate is as comforting as it is challenging. One on hand, you want to believe that there’s one person who you’ll mesh perfectly with and live happily ever after. On the other hand, searching for this alleged soulmate can be tough, especially when you have to go through so many fuckboys before finding “the one.”
But by sticking to the “soul mate” idea, you’re actually hurting your love life and limiting yourself. We spoke to David Essel, relationship coach and author of “Positive Thinking Will Never Change Your Life…But This Book Will,” about how believing that you have one soulmate is BS and why you need to get the f over it.
When I spoke to David, the first anecdote he opened up with was about what one of his clients, let’s call her Savannah. Savannah knew exactly what she wanted in a guy, from his height to his salary. When David asked her what type of personality traits she wanted in a boyfriend, she looked at him blankly. When he told her to focus on a list of personality traits rather than appearance and wealth, she eventually quit, convinced that she knew what she was doing.
Years later, she came up to David at a conference and explained that she finally met someone, but she didn’t realize it until she pulled out the list that David made her make of personality traits.
Sure, this story sounds a bit cliché and like it’s from a rom-com starring Katherine Heigl, but it has a point.
It’s a lot harder to find a boo if you’re looking for qualities that don’t actually mean shit. Besides, looks can change, personality can’t. That’s not to say that you should ever date someone who you’re not physically attracted to, but you might have to let go of your dream of finding a Latin guy with blue eyes and black hair that measures exactly 6’3″ and makes over $300,000 annually.
That being said, it’s good to have deal breakers. But deal breakers should be deeper than where someone shops or what they watch on TV.
“You need to have a list of six or seven items that are ultimate deal breakers so you don’t get hung up on the fact that you’re in lust with someone,” explains David. “What doesn’t work is just as important as what would work.”
If you don’t know your deal breakers, try looking at this list of popular ones and asking yourself what you think of dating someone with that quality.
David says that he usually starts of with simple examples, like smoking, religion, and wanting/having children.
But before you get too exciting thinking of the qualities you don’t want in a future bae, you should go back and think of your ex-bae. It can be easy to shrug off a failed relationship by saying, “We weren’t meant to be,” but it’ll benefit you to dig a little deeper.
Ask yourself why it didn’t work. If any part of it had something to do with you, work on it. There’s always something you can learn from a past relationship, even if it’s just not to trust a dude who sleeps with his iPhone under his pillow.
“Every relationship [from] before, we should be learning and growing from,” explains David. “The ones that are the most tumultuous, you need to go back and look at what you should’ve learned from them.”
You can’t just go from one relationship to the next and hope that eventually one of your new partners will “get you” better than your exes ever did.
And when you do finally find someone that you click with, you need to stops subscribing to the idea that when you meet “the one” everything will be perfect, because that’s BS.
“Don’t get hung up on the fact that there’s one person out there where your relationship will be effortless with, relationships are hard-ass work,” says David. “People still have this nonsensical belief that if the relationship is right it should be easy. One of the reasons the divorce rate is so high is because we’re from this society that’s like ‘I want it, I want it now, and I don’t want to have to work for it.'”
Just like you have to work for your career goals, you have to work for your relationship goals.
“We need to surrender to the fact that love is tricky as hell and long term relationships are very, very tricky,” says David.
Stop letting tacky rom-coms and Disney princesses sabotage your love life. Banish the phrase “soul mate” from your vocabulary. Spending your time searching for “the one” isn’t doing you any favors. Spend your time focusing on yourself, and your future boo may show up where you least expect it.