the one

Soul. Mate.

The idea that there is one person out there who will love you more, love you better, and love you longer than anyone else. The idea that this one person will complete you. A nice idea, in theory. In reality? That’s one person out of the 6,973,738,433 people in the world you’re meant to find to become your ‘other half’. As if, without them, you are not a whole person. If you chose to believe that sort of thing, of course.

I don’t.

I don’t believe that there is one person who was made for you. I concede that, naturally, there are people who are better suited to you. Everyone has experienced this, when you meet someone and find yourself comfortable around them from the beginning. These are generally the people you call bestfriends, boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands or wives. But to be made for someone is pre-determined. As if, from birth, you were meant to become attached to this person and this person only. If there’s only one person who’s right for you, that leaves a lot who are wrong.

So, if you fall in love and it ends, then you fall in love again and it lasts, does this mean that the first time it wasn’t ‘real’? Perhaps, or perhaps it was just different. I believe we are meant to fall in love over and over again. In every way possible. Just because the relationship doesn’t last, doesn’t mean it wasn’t love. Many factors come in to tear apart a relationship, but that doesn’t make them any less full of love.

I also believe that, given time, you can fall in love with anyone. If you stay with someone long enough then there are good things there, things you like about them, otherwise why else would you stay? And the more time you spend together the more you will care about them. Those things you like about them will turn into things you love about them. Those feelings will turn into love.

The problem with ‘soulmates’ is that it makes the concept of living with one person for the rest of your life seem like it should be easy. If they are your soulmate, you will agree on things, you will understand each other all the time, there won’t be any upsets. People worry that if this isn’t the case, maybe you weren’t meant to be. Maybe you weren’t. But maybe, just maybe, loving someone for the rest of your life actually takes a bit of work. Maybe you need to put in effort, take time to listen and learn that people see things in different ways, no matter how compatible you are.

The idea of a soulmate can set you up with false expectations and great disappointment. Love can be hard to find sometimes, without this added pressure. If you really need to find one to feel as though your life is complete, look to your bestfriend instead. If that person is also your lover, work hard to hold onto them forever.

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How Do You Know?

The other day I was having a conversation with one of my girlfriends about life and love. We were discussing how you know if someone is the one. This appears to be a rather tricky concept, on which everyone has a different opinion.

For some, it’s being comfortable enough never to worry about how you’re looking around your partner because you know they love you anyway. But does this mean they’re the one, or that your relationship might be losing some of its initial romance?

For some, it’s being able to trust your partner and tell them anything. Of course, this is vital in a relationship you plan on having for the rest of your life, but does it truly indicate if someone is the one for you? Don’t you have a handful of friends you trust like that? Doesn’t that mean you can trust more than one person like that? Couldn’t you potentially trust a different partner like that, too?

I think for most it’s the feeling that you don’t want to be with anyone else. You’re not worried about dating other people – it isn’t something that appeals to you. You don’t want time to ‘figure things out on your own’ because you want to build a life for two.

But see, this is where my girlfriend and I ran into trouble. At our young age (with a mere 21 years of experience under our belts) it can be difficult to know what you want with life, let alone with love. As the next generation we are told we can, and should, do more, experience more, learn more. We are being pushed not to settle down, but rather to try new things.

They say sometimes you need to make mistakes, you need to rule options out, before knowing what is right for you. Is this the same with love? Do you need wrong relationships to know which one is right? Do you need something to compare it to? It’s like only eating one type of cake for your entire life. How do you know you like that cake best, if you’ve never had any other? You don’t. You couldn’t possibly. But if you really do love the cake you’ve always had, why would you want to try another, if you’re already happy with what you have? This is a question I always seem to come back to, and not just because I like thinking about cake (although I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t part of the reason – who doesn’t like thinking about cake?!).

Does questioning your relationship mean it isn’t right? Or does it just mean you’re reading too much into it? Those little “what if’s” that whisper quietly in the back of our minds – “what if he’s not the one?” What if you’re missing out on something?” – they can be hard to tune out, no matter how quite they are. And if your partner is the one who believes you need to experience other things before knowing what is right, could you go off on your separate ways to explore this, before coming back together at the end of it? Would you be able to trust them again if they needed time to explore whether you were the one for them, rather than simply knowing it? Would it shift the whole dynamic of your relationship?

These are questions I know I can’t answer. They evoke different opinions from everyone. So, how do you know?