This article is sponsored by RSVP.
When you think of the term ‘soul mate’, you probably imagine Allie or Noah from The Notebook – they’re that one person you’re destined by fate to meet and fall in love with, and that would be that. No one else.
But is that really true? Can we have more than one soul mate? Is there really just one person in the world we’re meant to be with? Well, in the words of psychologist Charlene Neuhoff from RewireMe, the idea of a soul mate is “complete and utter bullshit”.
So, unfortunately, the idea of having numerous soul mates doesn’t really work either.
“The soul mate archetype is a person we meet in our lifetime who makes us finally feel complete and unconditionally loved,” Neuhoff tells us. “When we meet them there is undeniable chemistry, the sex is dynamite, we can fully be ourselves with them, they naturally understand us and accept all of our deep and darkest facets-of-self.
“It is also complete and utter bullshit. Almost nothing has done greater damage to relationships and our capacity to love/be loved than the romanticised-Disney-socialised idea of a soul mate. Believing in a soul mate is very hard to detach from. It will take more than my ramblings to detach you from it. We all want to believe the end to our loneliness/unworthiness may be a chance meeting away.”
Neuhoff adds that you do deserve to experience love and feel worthy in your lifetime. So, it’s time to educate yourself on “the real nature of love in adult relationships”. And, sadly, it isn’t found on the big screen or in conversations with equally confused friends and family.
While multiple soul mates aren’t real and “would just be multiples of an imaginary thing”, according to Neuhoff, you can definitely feel a strong connection and love for numerous people throughout your life.
“The trick is; it’s not fate, magic or chemistry that determines this,” she says. “What determines how many people we deeply connect with is our capacity to love. And capacity to love is undoubtedly tied to how much we love or accept ourselves, and our understandings of love. This is why we’d much rather believe in the idea of a soul mate. A magical meeting of souls and happily ever after? Yes please. Facing the painful shit in my life and trying to cultivate unconditional love for myself? Yikes.”
But the best part about the fact soul mates don’t exist is that you can have a fulfilling relationship anyway!
“I cannot tell you how many of my clients have thrown away fantastic relationships with healthy, gorgeous people just because ‘there was no spark’ or ‘they didn’t feel like The One’.
“Please, don’t use spark or chemistry to guide your love life. As modern philosopher Alain de Botton says, this notion that our ‘instinct should guide us to the person who will make us happy’ is damaging and misguided.”
Neuhoff adds that in psychology, it’s common knowledge that in our adult relationships we try to mirror the early experiences of love and attachment that we experienced from our parents.
“‘Ew, why?’, I hear you ask. This is because the love we received in childhood always has difficult elements, even if it was largely positive. The adults in our lives were only human and would have hurt us at times. We all unconsciously seek to heal our childhood wounds in our adult relationships,” she explains.
“So that ‘chemistry’ we feel? It’s actually us being attracted to someone whose love ‘feels familiar’. We try to recreate our first experience of love because we want to have this experience of love be perfect.”
She continues, “If we blindly follow our ‘instinct’, we are not selecting for someone who will necessarily make us happy. We are selecting for someone whose love feels familiar and familiar may not be great.
“The expectation that chemistry equals soul mate, and soul mate equals happy is incorrect. Let the soul mate archetype and chemistry chasing go, or they will both reduce your chances of having a great relationship.”
If you’re ready to cast your net out and see what fish you can reel in, services like RSVP can help you find the people you’re most compatible with – not necessarily your ‘soul mate’.