When you ask someone if they believe in soulmates, you’re likely to get an immediate answer. Either “Absolutely”, or “Ah, hellz naw.” (Or something like that.) The first group believes that we’re all created with a single other person in mind. We spend our lives trying to find that person, and when we do, they become the love of our lives. The second group believes that relationships are all about numbers. Statistical compatibility. Some people we’re more likely to get along with better than others. The best you can hope for is to meet someone you have a ridiculously high compatibility with and decide to spend your lives together.
When these two groups get together, sparks fly. Generally, the first group will try and recite poetry in the second group’s direction, and the second group will shout logic at the first group. I think the reason these interactions are so incendiary is because we’re all terrified the opposite group is right.
The first group desperately wants to believe the movies. They want to be the stars in their own love story, and who can blame them? To some degree, we all hope for a romance that people will want to talk about. The scariest thing to this group is having a common, ordinary life… Which is exactly what the second group espouses.
To the second group, the idea that there is only one person out there for us is unsettling because… what if we missed them? What if our “soulmate” was born in a continent on the other side of the globe? What if we get it wrong? What does that mean? Who wants to live with those kind of stakes? Isn’t it much easier just to believe that all we have to do is find someone we get along with?
And so these two groups clash, time and time again. The same dusty points are re-hashed, and the stale ideas we talked about last time get brought up… And it’s all futile anyway, since the only thing that will ever change our minds and switch us to the other group is for us to be in a relationship that goes particularly well on bad.
But what if… What if there’s another option? What if these groups are far too limiting? Is it possible that the proper paradigm for understanding true love is found in something else entirely?
My name is Paul. Seven years ago I met a girl. Six years ago we fell in love. Three and a half years ago we got married. Do I believe in soulmates?
…But probably not like you think…