If you can tick off more than four of these, you may already be headed for Splitsville.
If you’re like me, when you hear the word ‘soulmate,’ you have to suppress an eye-roll. And admittedly, it’s a corny concept, with the potential to be extremely annoying. For example, someone posting an Instagram of their partner, calling them their soulmate and gushing about how perfect they are and how they’ve been happy every single day since they met, can be pretty hard to take.
But while lots of people out there claim not to believe in the concept of soulmates (including me, in my more cynical moments), when it comes right down to it, we’re all looking for someone who makes us feel at home; someone who we feel like was made just for us. Someone suspiciously like a soulmate.
Is your current partner your soulmate? If you’re asking, you might have your answer already. But if you’re just not sure, here are eight signs the person you’re with isn’t the one you should be posting on Instagram about and hashtagging with #soulmate.
1. There’s no chemistry
If you want to be in a relationship badly enough, you might find yourself trying to overlook certain things. You’ll ask yourself, ‘does this person really have to tick all the boxes for me, or is it enough that they have most of the qualities I’m looking for?’ While it’s true that no one is going to be absolutely perfect for you, and no one will have everything on your list of what you’re looking for, one thing that’s nonnegotiable is chemistry. You should want to kiss him; there should be a spark when you touch each other. And, at some point, you should have great sex. Sure, it can take a while to get to know each other’s bodies and be able to give each other mind-blowing orgasms every time – but you should want to put in the effort.
2. Conversation doesn’t come easily
Another thing some people try to talk themselves out of is the need for good conversations with their partner. When you’ve got fiery sexual chemistry, small talk can seem unimportant. But in the long term, you’re going to want to be able to have heart-to-heart talks with your partner – not to mention fun banter, easy communication, and the ability to navigate difficult conversations. Ending up with someone with whom you don’t have a natural rapport is going to feel pretty lonely sooner or later.
3. There are definite dealbreakers
We don’t always know what should be a dealbreaker and what shouldn’t. As psychiatrist Scott Carroll, author of Don’t Settle: How to Marry the Man You Were Meant For (Balboa Press, 2016) puts it, “as a species, I don’t think we have a good understanding of which qualities and traits produce marriages and relationships that work at the deepest levels.” But there are a few things that are true dealbreakers. For example, if you want to have kids and your partner definitely doesn’t, you aren’t going to be able to make a go of it in the long run – unless one of you seriously compromises your dreams for the future.
4. You don’t want to do the work
No matter how perfect your partner is for you and how great your relationship is, at some point it’s going to take work. You need to be with someone who is willing to do the work – and you need to be willing to do it, too. If the person you’re with doesn’t inspire you to want to wade through the muck, have hard conversations, grow and change in potentially uncomfortable ways, they’re not your soulmate. When you meet the right person, suddenly the idea of working on your relationship won’t seem so bad, because you know you want to be with the person forever, and you’re willing to do whatever you have to do to make that happen.
5. You feel nervous
In the early days of a relationship, it’s normal to feel a little nervous. Maybe you’re not yet sure where things are going, or if it’s safe to put your whole heart into this new person’s hands. But if he’s your soulmate, you’ll pretty quickly grow to feel you can trust him. Things will be easy between you; you won’t be constantly trying to find the right thing to say, or wondering where you stand with him.
6. You don’t like yourself
Being in love with the right person should make you want to be a better person yourself. Your partner should inspire you to reach for the stars, be your best self, and believe that anything is possible. Their love for you, and their belief in you, helps you see yourself the way they see you – and they think you’re amazing. In a toxic relationship, you find yourself behaving so badly, usually out of frustration, anger, and insecurity, that you start to not like yourself. The worse you feel, the worse you behave, and the worse your relationship gets. It’s a vicious cycle.
7. You have nagging doubts
Often, you can’t put your finger on why exactly you feel unsure about your partner. The sex is good, conversation flows easily, you bring out the best in each other, and you want the same things out of life. But there’s just something that makes you doubt whether this person is your person. Listen to that voice. It’s possible that it doesn’t have anything to do with your partner – it could be that you yourself aren’t able to be a full participant in a relationship right now – but that gut feeling shouldn’t be ignored. See a therapist, either alone or with your partner, if you want to investigate further. Because when you’re with a soulmate, you shouldn’t have those lingering doubts.
8. You can’t see a future together
Soulmates are supposed to be forever. So if you’re having trouble imagining yourself growing old with your partner, they probably aren’t your soulmate. You should be able to talk about the future, have goals in common, and dream big dreams together. And if you just can’t see that, however much fun you’re having, it’s not a soulmate situation.
All that said, it’s not unheard of for people to change, and for relationships to evolve. Perhaps you’re not each other’s soulmates now, but someday you will be. If it’s meant to be, it will be.
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