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Check out this scenario.
Woman meets man. Both fall madly in love with each other. Get married. Have kids. They are each other’s best friends. They’re each other’s soul mates. They live happily ever after. Clap, clap, clap. Applause. Hurrah. All’s well; it ends well.
This is the ultimate romance story, isn’t it? Mills and Boon and Harlequin Publishing have created a multi-million-dollar industry peddling this idea of romance and soul mates going hand in hand. Heck, our incredibly forward-thinking feminist writer from a few centuries back Jane Austen’s basic formula in almost every book she wrote was probably what inspired the Harlequin industry of romance novels to begin with.
Darcy and Lizzie did not just fall in love—they were also each other’s soul mates.
And that’s all terrific.
But what happens to the ones who don’t find their one true love? Are they destined never to find a soul mate because they didn’t find that one person that society tells us will “complete them?”
I call complete and utter bullsh*t on that.
I call bullsh*t on the idea that your true love must be your soul mate. Yes. If you’re one of the lucky ones to find that one person you adore, are attracted to forever, and they turn out to be your soul mate—good for you. But that doesn’t mean the rest of us don’t get to have our soul mates.
And guess what? The love of my life has never been my soul mate, and I’m okay with that.
By the way, I’ve also had different “loves of my life” at different stages in my life. The guy who I claimed to all and sundry was “the love of my life” when I was 20—I don’t remember his name today. So, yeah…life changes, we change, and guess what? Our loves change as well.
Know what doesn’t change, though?
Our soul mates. They stay steady.
Merriam Webster defines a soul mate as “a person who is perfectly suited to another in temperament and a person who strongly resembles another in attitudes or beliefs.” And our society, typically, places the onus of humans finding their soul mates within the romantic structure.
And within the traditional heterosexual relationship, we always think of a man-woman romantic relationship as the coming together of two halves, the coming together of two souls—the man-woman romantic relationship is often all about finding your one true soul mate.
I disagree completely.
I remember this conversation I had with a peer where we did a deep dive into many critical and sensitive issues facing the world and had a no-holds-barred conversation about humanity itself when she paused for a second and said to me wondrously, “Roopa, I have more in common with you than I do with my husband. I love him. He’s amazing. But on every possible deep level, I connect more with you.”
I responded, “What’s wrong with that? Let him be the love of your life. I’ll be your soul mate.”
She burst out laughing and said, “Roopa, you’re always so funny and cool.”
Thing is, I wasn’t being funny. I wasn’t being cool. I was being honest.
See, like I mentioned above—I’ve had multiple “loves of my life” who have come and gone. Either of you or both of you are done with that moment, and sometimes, they moved on, or sometimes, I moved on.
Sometimes, you’re lucky enough to find another love. Sometimes, you’re not. Between heartbreak received and given, life goes on.
(Full disclosure: I don’t have a “love of my life” right now. I haven’t had one for a while now. But I’ve had them before, and I’m sure, when I’m ready, I’ll have them again.)
So, bottom line? Loves come and go. But soul mates? They stay forever.
I, personally, have two soul mates. They are both women who are two of my closest friends ever. They’re also at least two decades older than me. These two girlfriends get me like no one else. We can go months or years without talking. But we know we are there for each other unchanged. We agree on just about everything that is important to us.
We love our family, we are passionate about doing the right thing, and we advocate for equal rights to one and all. We speak up for women, minorities, children. We believe completely in a woman’s right to choose—her body, her right—but we also trust that women will make the right decisions with their bodies, as well.
We pray and dream of a borderless world. We’d like to take apart anyone who hurts a child. I can go on. On just about every important aspect of my life, I connect on a cellular and soul level with these two women more than I ever have with anyone else.
They are my soul mates.
From my own experience, I strongly feel that you don’t need to be romantic with someone for them to be your soul mate. In fact, it really lessens the burden on a relationship when you separate the two. Have someone to have the romance with, the candlelight dinners with, have kids with, share parental responsibilities with, share rent with, go on trips with, and be totally and completely in love with.
But then have someone else as a soul mate.
For, unlike in a romantic relationship, there’s no pressure to be “someone hot and beautiful” or be someone who always “has it together” all the time. There’s no pretense with my soul mate. They see me at my best and worst.
Also, the soul mate relationship does not have to be reciprocal. The two women who are my soul mates? I am not theirs. And that’s fine. There’ll be others for whom I’ll be their soul mate, but they won’t be mine.
I don’t want my romantic partner to be my soul mate. I like them separate. Romance with one. Doing the deep dive on souls with another.
I’m not saying this is how it should be. I’m saying, this is how it could also be.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with me? I’d love to hear from you and know what you think.