Several months ago, I was having an interesting discussion on the topic of how to find the perfect person for a mate/partner/spouse. We were discussing how to find the one, or how to find our soul mates. It seems to be something a lot people believe in. I did too, once upon a time.
“What you call love was invented by guys like me, to sell nylons” –Don Draper, Mad Men
Centuries of story telling, through fairy tales and the amplification of these tales through modern media, have given us the ideology of finding a soul mate, or the one. And some people have made it a fundamental core in their belief system. However, I don’t believe there is just one person made for each or any one of us. Finding your Prince or Princess involves a variety of factors and there isn’t just one person made for you. The fact is there are more women than men on this planet and always have been. So if you subscribe to the theory that everyone has a predestined soul mate, it would mean that a lot of women were born without ever even having a chance of finding a Mr. Right. As a woman how can one know if you are one of them? Imagine the time these women, who will never have a soul mate, waste dating and engaging in relationships expecting to find him. And if each man is to have a pre-destined woman, why are there many men who never find their Miss Right, moving on from one to another?
It seems that young girls are practically hypnotized by the Prince Charming fairy tale endings and they carry that hope into adulthood seeking Mr. Right. Mr. Right is supposed to be her knight in shining armor that has come to rescue her from whatever troubles she may have. Let’s face it fellas, women seem to be more disappointed with their Prince, than not. And maybe we give them reason to be.
I think fairy tales have not only set women up for disappointment, but men too. Many fairy tales we grew up with have a Prince Charming rescuing a Princess in distress, whether it be the fairly tales we have come to know and love such as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, or some other modern tale like Shrek. And what boy doesn’t want to grow up to be a Prince Charming or any Super Hero like Superman or Spider Man that defeats a villain and sets the world straight to win the heart of a damsel in distress? What these stories tells boys is to do whatever it takes to win the Princess’ heart: travel far distances, climb mountains, cross deserts and oceans, slay dragons, drink poison, fight witches and demons.
Many boys grow into men believing or hoping to one day find a Princess to rescue. Most men will do whatever it takes; men like to feel that they have rescued a woman. But alas, in the real world there are no dragons to slay, witches to fight or demons to destroy! So what is a man to do? Without a dragon to slay, the Prince Charming women are seeking isn’t dressed in shining armor. And her problems have nothing to do with defeating an evil villain that wants to rule the world. Women will not find the one in a Prince Charming. Especially since some women grow impatient so quickly and leave their real world man to seek a fairy tale Prince. And men will not find a Princess to save from some evil villain plotting to destroy the Kingdom.
Simply put: there is no such thing as the one. Our life circumstances bring a variety of people into our lives for various reasons and at various times. We make choices and decisions that impact our daily adventures and there are any number of people that we could choose as the one to compliment ourselves. But it is a matter of chance and choice. There is no one perfect person. To put that kind of pressure on yourself, to seek out that soul mate is not practical and can be emotionally detrimental. And to have that expectation of your partner, to be a soul mate, is not fair to them. After all, how perfect are we anyway? Hardly perfect at all.
If finding someone to spend the rest of your life with is a major goal for you, the best thing you can do is to define what you want that person to be like (of course after defining yourself and that may take time, but that is another article). Are they funny, serious, focused, intelligent, strong willed, meek, mild mannered, charming, witty, dull, level headed, keen, or blunt. Do they want the same things out of life that you do? Do they want a house with a picket fence in the country or a condo in the heart of downtown? Do they want children, to travel, love nature, interested in technology or in the arts? What kind of morals and ethics does this person have? The more specific, the more ideal your options and choices will be.
Once you have described the person you want as a mate, people with those traits will be drawn into your life. And you will have choices. But there will not be a Mr. or Miss Right. One reason, is that we as people change. Generally our core principals will remain the same over time but our likes and dislikes evolve. Our taste in music, food, culture etc. will change as we mature, grow older and have new experiences that can broaden our horizons and open our eyes to the world around us.
Our life goals can change and sometimes we do change our fundamental core too. This is often why the person you thought was perfect at one time no longer fits your criteria for being the one; they did not change the same way you have. They either haven’t changed much, while you have or they changed in a completely different way. You realize you have grown apart, rather than together.
The key to finding a partner for life is to choose the person who will commit to growing/changing for the same goals and objectives you both have. There is no predestined person to be your soul mate. When you find someone you are compatible with, you mutually decide to become soul mates. That is what the marriage contract is about. Marriage is about two distinct personalities working together to become one. Marriage is where two people can decide and agree to become soul mates. But there is no one person destined to be your soul mate.
There can be many reasons why you decide to become soul mates. It can be to help each other pursue your dreams, or careers. It could be to raise a family. The reasons are many. But it is up to you to decide what the reason(s) will be for having a soul mate. There can be many people that come into your life over the years, and many could fit any one of your soul mate criteria. Fate will bring those people to you; it is a universal law that you attract what you think about most often. But ultimately it will be a mutual decision between you and your partner to become soul mates. Fate does not make that decision for you.
Having a conversation about becoming soul mates does not seem romantic. But when you find someone you believe you can live the rest of your life with, you have to actually have a conversation about the rest of your lives. You need to discuss what your mutual goals and dreams are and decide together that you will support each other, how conflicts will be resolved and numerous other things that go on in relationships. It needs to be a purposeful discussion, and not just a superficial “how many kids do you want” type of conversation. But these conversations continue and evolve throughout your relationship in order to ensure you are always on the same page, giving and getting the support you each need. Being a soul mate requires a lot of work and attention. It is not something you let happen. You direct it and become soul mates. Being and finding a soul mate is not destiny, it is a decision. Some people may not like making long term decisions and want fate to decide things for them; it seems easier. But when fate makes those important decisions for us, we usually do not like the outcome. Take responsibility for your life. Decide whether or not you want to be someone’s soul mate. But if you make that commitment, be fair to that person and see it through. There are some obvious reasons one might not honor the commitment such as physical abuse, but that would mean the abuser was not committed to being a soul mate to begin with.
“Happily ever after” is the ending to our fairy tales. But if you truly want a soul mate, you have to be prepared to honor that part of the commitment, after all being a soul mate requires making an eternal commitment. That means being soul mates forever and forever is a long time.
(Cue: Meatloaf – Paradise by the Dashboard Lights)