I’m sorry to break it to you, but “soulmates” aren’t a thing. The concept is based entirely off stories and Disney movies and as such, is flawed.
And I’m sorry if reading that made you feel bad. You certainly aren’t alone in this sentiment. As recently as 2011, 73% of Americans polled said they believed they are destined to find their one, true soul mate.
But it is difficult to reconcile this statistic with the one that estimates up to 60% of people in a marriage cheat on their SO during their lifetime together.
So why the gap?
Because relationships are difficult and people are complicated. Same reason that the concept of a “soulmate” — of someone you feel destined to spend your life with, of your one and only one true love — is an unrealistic one.
Ultimately, people who believe in soulmates end up playing themselves. They either remain in relationships that make them unhappy because they are clinging to a belief based on something that isn’t true anymore, or they hop from partner to partner, attempting to find “the one” while ironically preventing themselves from making it work with someone who is compatible.
1. You’re more likely to ghost.
Disappearing after several dates is the worst of looks, but those who believe in soulmates are actually more likely to dip out on a relationship than the rest of us.
A very recent study (January 2018) from Dartmouth revealed that people who believed in the concept of soulmates (or “destiny” in general) were more likely to be cool with the concept of ghosting than those who weren’t as sold on the notion.
Breaking things off with somebody because they aren’t your soulmate is of course different than ditching them simply because you aren’t into them. The latter is cool. The former is unreasonable.
2. You’re more likely to base the foundation of the relationship off the initial chemistry.
Which is just a roundabout way of saying that people who believe in soulmates tend to live in the past rather than objectively analyzing the present or planning for the future.
According to Psychology Today, once these soulmate-obsessed individuals encounter a rocky patch in their relationship, they believe they aren’t compatible with their SO anymore and instead just give up because their vision of the relationship isn’t perfect.
“They simply look elsewhere for their ‘true’ match,” writes Dr. Jeremy Nicholson. “As a result, their relationships tend to be intense but short, often with a higher number of quick romances and one-night stands.”
3. You’re more likely to be a bad partner.
People who believe in romantic growth in a relationship are better equipped to deal with issues when they arise because they know they inevitably will, and they do not see them as a deal-breaker when they do.
People who believe in soulmates, on the other hand, deal largely in absolutes. Rather than growing with a partner and working together to cultivate a satisfying relationship, these individuals waver at the slightest hint of trouble.
“Those who believe in soul mates tend to be less committed to a partner, particularly when there are relationship difficulties,” writes Nicholson. “Also soul mate believers are often more anxious in relationships and less likely to forgive romantic partners. Overall, when the going gets tough with a partner, or requires work, soul mates tend to quit and look for the next ‘perfect’ match.”
4. You’re also more likely to be a bad friend.
People who believe in soulmates tend to isolate themselves with their beloved the minute they meet them, at the expense of all the other relationships in their lives.
Of course ditching friends and family in the initial honeymoon stage of a new relationship is something many do. Just remember how important these people are to the general thread of your life, and how ultimately damaging it would be to your wellbeing and to the wellbeing of your relationship to rely on any one human for every one of your needs.
5. You’re more likely to miss red flags.
We’ve established that soulmate believers deal in absolutes. Just as they are more likely to flee at the first sign of trouble in a relationship, they are also more likely to dismiss red flags when they’ve deemed their new partner as “the one.”
“When you have the mindset that someone is your soulmate, and that they are the only one out there for you, it’s easy to overlook red flags or misdeeds, and you may find yourself allowing behaviors that you wouldn’t otherwise allow if you considered that there may be better partners out there,” renowned relationship expert Vikki Ziegler told Bustle.
“When you see the world through rose-colored glasses, you risk missing important clues about how your relationship may pan out, that may potentially impact having a healthy and happy relationship with one person versus another.”
These soulmate-believers are wont to give up, whether that means on a potentially awesome partner or on getting out of a potentially toxic relationship.