Sunday, February 9, 2014

can we really select our soulmates?

Last night I stumbled upon a short video of a couple discussing the likelihood of finding a soulmate. While beautifully shot and expressed (I liked the montages), I found myself disagreeing with some of the logic, which ultimately filtered down to conclude that each person actually has a chance of meeting less than one soulmate (or 0.53 soulmates to be exact). Here are my issues with this process of elimination...

First of all, attraction is a fickle mistress, so the whole immediate elimination of people based off of first or even fourth impressions seems rash. I've found some guys insanely attractive after being friends and getting to know them as people. Each of these revelations was shocking, especially since I always thought I had a type: tall, brawny, dark-haired, etc. It's time to stop vetting people in our near-sighted "dating goggles" and start committing to them first as friends (which seems so counterintuitive in our quick fix online dating world, à la Tinder). Dustin Hoffman sums this up nicely in his interview for his movie Tootsie where he plays a woman:
"It was at that moment I had an epiphany, and I went home and started crying. Talking to my wife, I said I have to make this picture, and she said, "Why?" And I said, "Because I think I am an interesting woman when I look at myself on screen. And I know that if I met myself at a party, I would never talk to that character because she doesn't fulfill physically the demands that we're brought up to think women have to have in order to ask them out." She says, "What are you saying?" And I said, "There's too many interesting women I have…not had the experience to know in this life because I have been brainwashed."
Secondly, what about life stages? I have far too many friends who fall in love with emotionally unavailable men and feel at a loss. These types of relationships have mutual attraction, common values and interests, but one party's heart isn't available for all too many reasons. You can't force someone whom you think is your "soulmate" to commit to you and actually be, well, soulmate material. Even if you meet someone who fits all of your many levels of filters and criteria, how can a person make you happy if you expect to get all of your contentment from them? What if you're really happy together and then one day, you're not; or if you can't handle their baggage, imperfections, and different set of flaws. Are they no longer your soulmate?

So what does my revised soulmate logic suggestion look like in the end? Throwing out the dating goggles and not eliminating people who don't seem immediately attractive will increase the soulmate selection choice. Not dating emotionally unavailable/conflicting life-stage people will lower it. But can we really select our soulmates based on an algorithmic process of elimination? I don't believe it -- but maybe if we stopped worrying about finding soulmates altogether and started committing to people as friends first, we'd be pleasantly surprised.

(Photo via here)


  1. I think it's entirely possible to have more than one soulmate. I think people are meant to be in our lives at certain points. I've seen lots of people lose a spouse and love their next spouse just as much. But I agree with you; I think it's time we stop pressuring ourselves to find this mythical soulmate :)


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