For years, I had “… And They Lived Happily Ever After” printed in lacy cursive on my childhood bedroom wall. The glittery words spoke to my teenage mantra of “Everything Is Meant To Be.” My career, my lifestyle, and most of all, my love life. My soul mate. I highly believed in the concept that there was this one person in the world out there for me. Fate would somehow miraculously intervene and throw me a bone. Wherever he was, I would fall into his arms like some klutzy heroine in a romantic comedy.
I never believed that dating was a way of sifting through partners who might have similar interests and values. No, it was a means to an end. A way to narrow down to that one special snowflake of a soul mate. After reading this column written by a girl in a long-term relationship with someone who isn’t “THE ONE,” I thought long and hard about my original concept. It was absolutely flawed.
Many couples I know found love in their own hometown, they didn’t have to search high and low for that special someone. Most people I know that are in a LTR may have had luck on their side, but they also found someone that they just really enjoyed being around. Someone with a shared love of traveling or music, or a person that likes sitting around on a lazy Sunday in the other person’s presence. It doesn’t have to be … so hard.
I have been in quite a few relationships. A very long one and others with varying spurts of time. In a few, there were these tremendous sparks – initial points of attraction and chemistry. Those exciting rushes, fairy-tale spun feelings always brought on the thought “maybe he is my true love.”
Sure, the spark is usually necessary to start a good relationship, but it doesn’t provide the end all. It does not signal “SOUL MATE, SOUL MATE, SOUL MATE!”
One short-lived relationship relied only on “the spark.” It was thrilling, yet we had nothing (NOTHING) in common – politics, religion, humor – NOTHING. Opposites attract, right? Paula Abdul, you were correct on that front, but attraction just isn’t enough. If I wanted to be a stereotypical ’50s housewife that obeys her husband, it would have worked out fine. But yeah, that’s not in the cards for me.
I was also in a couple other relationships that could have easily progressed into something more. Why didn’t they? Oh, circumstances. Location, interest levels, being at different points in our lives. I have no ill regrets toward those people or those relationships – they just didn’t work out. It just makes me believe less in this whole “True Love” thing.
Perhaps my soul mate lived across the world … would I go find him, climb to the ends of the earth just to meet him? Maybe it was predestined at birth. What if my future husband died of an illness, a car accident – am I just destined to spend the rest of my life alone or somewhat unhappy in another relationship? That is why I call this notion utter nonsense.
I won’t deny that when I first started dating my future husband (at the tender age of 18), there was a spark. “True love?” I pondered. It could definitely be defined as “young love”, and I batted my lashes doe-eyed in his direction. And then later, after we started arguing constantly and throwing accusations around, it died. Sometimes that “spark” would come and go, electrifying anger and bitterness that didn’t come with the “soul mate” guidelines. And even when our relationship has been at its strongest (now), we can be too busy with our own lives and act like strangers passing through the night. Not often, but sometimes.
Things haven’t always been perfect. Yet, I can’t picture someone else to spend the rest of my life with. We HAVE a true love. He’s my partner and best friend. We both have quirky personalities and similar levels of humor. We have a hard time choosing between a Woody Allen movie and a horrible action adventure when looking at a theater’s marquee. Our travel list is long, and we respect each other’s individuality and opinions. Almost everything in our lives seems to intertwine pretty seamlessly.
However, I don’t believe he’s my “Soul Mate.” I don’t. It’s not that I don’t think I am with the right person for me, because I do. It’s just that I don’t believe in that idea anymore. Perhaps I die tomorrow. Do I think my fiance will never find someone else? No, that’s silly. And vice versa. That person may love the new partner equally, more, less – who knows? I believe that there is an amount of “right” people to be in a relationship with, and the rest are not. How big is that grouping of people? No clue.
I think the right circumstances thrown in with a good amount of chemistry, well-blending personalities, and shared intellect, values and interests makes for a very happy couple. That’s what I believe.
I still believe in the concept of “… And They Lived Happily Ever After.” Just because I’m not a Disney princess waiting for my “One True Love” to come rescue me from my tower, doesn’t mean that’s not possible. I believe in happy endings, and I definitely believe in fabulous, amazing journeys.