the study of marriage

Monday, January 16, 2006

Soul mates are dumb

The idea of soul mates; that each of us has one (or some other very limited number) of "perfect matches" out there, and we just need to find him/her; this idea makes me sneer.

First, "soul mates" implies that if you don't find that one person, you're pretty much screwed. You're doomed to unhappiness because you haven't found that one person who "completes" you. (/gag at Jerry McGuire). There's no making it work with a less-than-perfect-match person. You're just DOOMED. (Or apparently, if you follow some of these soul mate links or these, you can pay money for someone to help you find your soul mate. But paying out cash to find your soul mate is better than being DOOMED, right?)

B, when/if you do find your "soul mate," the implication is that since they are perfect for you and you are likewise perfect for them, there won't be a need to put in any hard work on the relationship. This is another dumb idea. Show me in the entire freaking history of mankind where a relationship of any kind didn't need work. Show me one, I dare you. Perfect, apparently effortless couplings are either complete fakes or they are doing a lot of work where you and I can't see it. Why is this, you might ask? Because relationships always have people in them, and people are messed up, and therefore relationships are messed up and need constant fixing. A corollary to this vapid "it shouldn't take work idea" is the equally stupid "if it needs work, then that person is not your soul mate and you should leave them" idea.

Furthermore, the idea that my soul has some "other half" hanging around out there in the world, or which maybe belonged to someone who just died in a traffic accident halfway across the world, or that maybe is dawdling in the void waiting to pounce on me...the whole thing is just creepy. I'm not anti-spirituality at all, but honestly it's partly this woo-woo factor that turned me off of paganism/Wicca when I was trying to practice it. I'm more of a down-to-earth, hands-on, practical spirituality kind of gal.

Next, I object to the idea that I need some other person to complete me, and I think it's a weak position to put oneself in. Whether I'm a complete person or not is entirely between God and me. I may choose to act in a more interdependent than independent manner, out of respect and love for my spouse, but that doesn't mean that I'm only half of something bigger. I'm all of me, and if my husband died tomorrow, or left me, well...I'd still have all of me, even though I would undoubtedly be a much sadder me and miss him terribly.

And finally, in the name of "but s/he is my SOUL MATE!!11!!! and that makes it OK!" many an adulterous affair has been conducted, and many a family has been broken. This is a very common refrain heard from cheaters: "I'm not in love with you anymore, I'm in love with Other Person, s/he is my soul mate, and therefore the fact that I'm lying and betraying you is totally justified!" Ideas that can be used to excuse infidelity gross me out.

In conclusion, soul mates are dumb.


  • At December 05, 2007 9:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow !! I never thought I would find someone as cynical as I. Maybe we are soulmates!
    c'mon girl face it soulmates exist,despite the fact that you seem to have been dumped a few times,and he gave you the whole soulmate bit. i'd be fairly bitter too. i do agree that relationships take alot of work and effort,but soulmates cannot be ruled out entirely. to do so would be as "dumb" as you claim the idea of soulmates is.


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