This may surprise you, Dear Reader, but what I’m about to tell you is devoid of my usual tongue-in-cheek demeanor. Instead, it is with complete sincerity that I tell you this truth:
Soulmates are bullshit.
This is not to say I don’t believe that it is possible to meet a person and fall in love and live happily ever after (with some bumps along the way). Love is real and wonderful and thrust upon the most fortunate of us all, but the belief that each of us has a perfect match roaming the earth, destined to join together to make us whole, is a lie.
Now, I could point to the staggering statistics of the miracle that is your creation, coupled with the miracle that would be your soulmate’s creation, plus the odds of you living in the same time and speaking the same language – but I’ve never been one for numbers.
No, let’s talk about the impracticality of one person providing another with everything they need in life. One person from whom you will derive all matters of pleasure: intellectual, emotional, sexual, recreational. One person who will enjoy each and every thing that you enjoy. Who won’t just be dragged along to your annual convention of nerdery, but who will buy your tickets ahead of time as a surprise and plan your itinerary for you! A person with whom you will grow at the same rate and direction!
That’s too much pressure for one person.
This is the point where you might be calling me a cynic. A bitter single. A sad, pathetic woman afraid of romance. You might not be wrong about me, but if I am any of those things, it’s not because I don’t believe in soulmates. I’m not advocating for settling in order to settle down with someone. No! We all deserve someone who makes us happy, who loves us unlike anyone before, who fits most of the criteria of the dream lover hidden somewhere in the idyllic romantic corners of your mind.
Most of the criteria. Not all.
Dan Savage says we should round up to one, and he’s right. We should find someone who is almost perfect for us, and get what’s missing from other people in life. How that looks is up to you and whomever you end up with in the end.
Maybe that means you have a wonderful with a partner who loves to race you lakeside, cooks a mean pasta verde, and laughs at your jokes, but hates camping. Get the camping from your friend who may have been raised by Grizzly Adams! Maybe it’s having someone to come home to who rubs your feet after a hard day and can write a sonnet on Twin Peaks, but who doesn’t like the same kind of sex you do. You’re allowed to find someone else who does! (Assuming, of course, that you’ve had an open and honest discussion with your partner and come to an agreement with which you both are comfortable.)
You’re never going to find a single person who can meet all of your needs in the same way that you will never be able to meet all of the needs of someone else. That’s why the community around you is as important as the person you take home tonight.
If it takes a village to raise a child, I don’t see why it wouldn’t take a village to maintain the soul, too.