You Probably Don’t Have A Soul Mate And Here’s Why
Don’t worry, it’s good news.
Through my most recent breakup and other experiences, I’ve learned that we tend to fall in love with both a person as well as the idea of a person.
Many of us are seeking the same qualities in a partner — kind, smart, funny, strong of character… And these qualities can be embodied by many people.
I went through a breakup in 2021. It ended kind of suddenly and very painfully. My partner was someone I saw a clear future with, a future that I wanted and was very willing to work towards despite knowing there would be bumps.
I realized that the hardest thing to get over wasn’t specifically my ex, but rather the idea of her. I reached this point where looking at pictures of her no longer brought this pang of sadness or unresolved frustration. I still saw a person I know I had feelings for, but the feelings were very manageable now.
Besides missing the literal physical presence (hugs, holding hands, cuddling, sex), I came to realize that what I ultimately missed more was the consistent companionship.
Having someone that I talked to every day, who was always excited to hear from me (and vice versa). Someone to laugh with. To be able to vent to. To share my wins and losses with and hear about theirs. To share very specific memes that I knew they would appreciate.
These are all things that we can technically have with any person.
Many people have this with their close friends or ‘chosen family’, and I do to a lesser extent. And as I said before, many people embody the traits and qualities that I seek in a partner. Instead of lamenting not having my dearest partner at my side, I am working on being more grateful and appreciative of the great quality friends I’ve come to surround myself with.
As I have broken down my preferences over the years, I’ve realized that more and more people would qualify. My partner doesn’t have to be tall, thin, or able bodied, or white. Anyone can be kind, smart, funny, and strong of character.
I still have some preferences, but they’re much more flexible now.
I’ve heard it said many times over the years, and am now starting to see it for myself. As you get older, looks matter less than substance and personality.
Looks will fade. If someone isn’t a very good person, their looks will only get them so far for so long. Assuming you aren’t one of the people who ‘peaked in high school’, there’s always hope.
The more I look at different profiles on dating apps, I find myself thinking ‘They seem like a lovely person, I’d like to date them’ over and over again. Kind, smart, funny. Lots and lots of people are these things. And from that starting point you just have to build up with mutual interests and compatibility.
In a way I find that makes this process a little less demoralizing. I don’t know too many people who will say that dating is easy, and now in year 3 of a global pandemic, it’s harder than ever. This new perspective and outlook is a game changer. I only wish I’d come around to it sooner, but better late than never!
The concept of a soul mate is arguably harmful and misleading to begin with. This idea that there is literally only ONE person out there, amongst 7+ BILLION, whom you are 100% compatible with and would have a dream life with. Statistically, it just doesn’t track.
Because I like doing research and finding answers (and sometimes finding solace) in data, allow me to prove a point with aforementioned statistics.
According to PEW Research; as of 2018, 183 million people lived in the 52 largest metropolitan areas in America. Further research states that approximately 38% of adults in the US are between the ages of 25 and 54 (which I would guess the majority of my readers are looking to date someone in that age range).
That gives us 69,540,000 adults aged 25–54. Divide that number by 52 and that potentially gives you 1,337,308 people in your particular city or your greater metro area.
To generalize and over-simplify, half of the population is male and the other half female. So for you heterosexual singles out there that’s 668,654 adults in your area that are not your same gender.
According to a Gallup poll, 5.6% of Americans are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. That would be 37,445 people in your area. If you’re gay, lesbian, or transgender that could be your starting figure before further filtering (that’s still a LOT of options!). If you’re straight, you’ve still got potentially 631,209 matches.
From there you can start filtering by other important things like religious beliefs, wanting children or not, political stance, etc. And again, if you’re willing to move (or date long distance), that number will increase quite a bit.
Even doing conservative math for smaller cities or towns, you’ve likely still got hundreds, maybe thousands of compatible people in your city or county. If you’re open minded, adventurous, and willing to get creative, even more possibilities!
Yes, there are probably going to be a handful of people out there that we are going to be extra compatible with. But that’s not a ‘soul mate’. That’s just a really good match. Some of you reading this might even currently be with one of these people — and if so, congratulations!
From what I’ve seen and what I’ve come to believe through my own experience — as long as you’re actively growing and trying to be the best version of yourself, you’ll have options. The people with whom I am most compatible today are very different than that ones I was 2, 5, 10, or 20 years ago. And given another couple of years, i’ll have changed more again.
It’s a bit hard to believe, given where I started. The very specific parameters that I used to seek and would not deviate from under any circumstances. That rigidness and pickiness contributed to keeping me alone and lonely for many years. Now I feel lighter and more confident as I have done significant necessary growing, trauma healing, and mind opening.
If you’re in your 30s think back to who you dated when you in your 20s (assuming you’re not still with them). Would you date them now? Chances are a strong no. I’m beginning to think it’s more of a miracle when the same two people stay together for decades, though it is possible to grow and evolve in the same direction and ways as another person.
So i’m not worrying about finding my ‘soul mate’ anymore. I’m just trying to live my best life, keep growing, and meeting new people. I trust that in time, the right person will see that I am kind, smart, funny, and strong of character, and that I check the right other boxes to want to get serious with me. I’m just one rainbow fish of many kind, smart, funny fishies out there looking for love.
You’re always going to have options.
From one single person to another — we’re going to be alright.
Kind, smart, funny, and strong of character.