I decided to stop believing in soulmates, despite being a romantic. Why? Because this concept makes people miserable. Although it can be beautiful and uplifting to imagine someone out there who is perfect for you, believing they exist can hurt you even more.
After experiencing a serious relationship, reading books about love, listening to podcasts, and hearing other people’s stories, I’ve come to realize that this notion that’s deeply embedded in our culture has many harmful effects. Below are five negative effects of believing in soulmates:
1. Feeling incomplete
The idea behind soulmates is that human beings are incomplete, and are missing their other halves. According to Greek mythology, humans were originally created with four arms, four legs, and a head with two faces. Fearing their powers, Zeus split them into two separate parts; condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other halves.
As a consequence, rather than thinking you are whole and complete, you feel the need to depend on someone in order to satisfy aspects of yourself that are missing.
2. An impossible dating life
Finding your ‘true love’ can ruin your dating life. By thinking there’s only one person for you, you are likely quick to dismiss candidates who don’t meet your ideal. This makes the dating scene frustrating and impossible since you’ll soon find that most people don’t meet your criteria.
3. A fixed mindset
You stop putting the work into your relationship because you think your ‘soulmate’ is supposed to fulfill your love life. Rather than compromising and finding ways to improve your relationship (and yourself), you prefer abandoning the relationship entirely when you experience obstacles. This hinders you from self-growth by passing up opportunities that can help you become a better version of yourself.
4. Becoming disillusioned
You may find yourself in a passionate, fiery relationship, but it does not last long. The infatuation disappears once you spend more time with your lover. Believing in soulmates prevents you from embracing your partner for who they really are, a human being who is far from perfect and has their own shortcomings and desires.
5. Missing out on life
The soulmate quest can occupy a large amount of your time and energy. You may devote a lot of time worrying about finding your ideal match. In doing so, you forget to stop and smell the roses and just let life flow.
Despite all this, I still believe in romance
Experience is turning me into a realist, but I am still a romantic at the same time. Not believing in soulmates doesn’t mean I no longer believe in love; in fact, this could mean quite the opposite. Genuine love involves understanding and accepting someone for who they really are, rather than having a projection of someone based on an ideal.
“Love is a skill, not just an enthusiasm.” – Alain de Botton
You can find my original article on Thought Catalog