Is It Time To Rethink Our Soulmate Definition? Why Happily Ever After Isn't Real

August 22, 2017

There are two different kinds of people in the world: Those that believe in soulmates, and those that don’t. I fall in that first set of dreamers who thrive on the thrill of serendipitous uncertainty, who long for the kismet connection that fate has assumedly traced in the stars.

But the mistake us romantics make is ascribing to a faulty soulmate definition and believing that soulmates last forever, and once you’ve found him or her, they are meant to stay. The gut-wrenching reality is – they aren’t supposed to.

couple looking at sunset


The concept that someone can be your soulmate and also not right for you is a challenging oxymoron. Our culture conditions us to believe “the one” and soulmate are interchangeable, that we are destined to marry our cosmic counterpart. Yet if we are being fully honest with ourselves, life doesn’t fit into such a narrow, idealistic version of fated perfection. Life is messy and chaotic and brutally unpredictable, so it only makes sense that that karmic relationship is not as easy and beautiful as imagined.

“A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake,” Elizabeth Gilbert wrote in her book, Eat, Pray, Love. “But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave.” Gilbert’s soulmate definition, while unsettling for us romantics, articulates a brutal reality.

Soulmates are meant to push your buttons, challenge you, and wake you up to the person you are meant to be. They are your most powerful, passionate, unforgettable connection, but everyday life isn’t designed for such overwhelming intensity. This person hands you a mirror to yourself and reflects back to you your worst fears and biggest flaws. The relationship is as confrontational as it is tumultuous, but underneath is a nourishing undercurrent, a sense of growth we couldn’t find within ourselves without the other person steering us in the right direction. Bottom line, this person is your teacher, and the love you share a transformative lesson.

I believe I’ve found my soulmate. I’ve been in love with him (sometimes unknowingly) for seven years. It’s been a romantic journey so erratic and temperamental that it could only equate to real-life Ross and Rachel of our generation, but we have finally made it here, happily back together. This theory sits unsettlingly in my mind and leaves a sour taste that can’t ever seem to wash away. I want us to be the anomaly, to have both that soulmate bond and live happily ever after. Most days this feels surreally possible. Some days uncertainty seems heartbreakingly inevitable.

No, you’re not meant to end up with your soulmate. The explosive energy you two cultivate could never handle a lasting, stable partnership. These relationships have a purpose and a place, but as fleeting as they are, the effect is infinite. That harmonious light is something that carries with you long after the relationship ends. That is the kind of forever soulmates are only meant to have.

Do you agree with this soulmate definition? Or is your soulmate also The One?

Also by Jessica: Can You Ever Be Friends With Your Ex?

6 Things Love Is And 6 Things Love Isn’t

Related: Polyamory Liberated My Love Life–Why It Might Help You Too

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Jessica Renae is a freelance journalist based out of Northern California. As an eight-year-long vegetarian, Jessica is obsessed with everything veg. Some of her favorite things include endless hikes through her backyard forest, challenging yoga poses and lazy days spent with her cats. Follow her on Instagram @jessbuxbaum.


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