I’ve never really looked at the word “soulmate” and taken it into consideration in real life. It seems a fantastical term that can only be understood, in my world, as a word to describe just how magically strong the connection between two people is. I know for a fact it wasn’t love at first sight when I met my other half. He didn’t see me from across the room and think that I was the one, nor did I view him as anything else other than an adorable human whose eyes drew me closer, my feet uncontrollably walking his way. We were both attracted to each other, and as time unfolded, we found out that attraction was much deeper than met the eye. Soulmates, to me, are meant for movies, music, poetry, and novels.
It’s an age-old concept that dates back to ancient Greek times; in his Symposium, Plato wrote about a theory that humans initially came with four arms, four legs, and one head with two faces. Zeus, intimidated by this, split the body in half, which caused them to spend their lives searching for the other half in hopes of becoming one entity once again. But in modern concepts, it’s a romantic ideal that captivates audiences with the thought that, there aren’t plenty of fish in the sea, but truly, one perfect person out there waiting for us to refer to them as our better half.
But is there a science attributed to soulmates that we should take into consideration? Is it possible to really find “the one”?
Are We Even Meant For One Person?
It’s not the type of dinner conversation people like to bring up with their significant others around — mostly because you can easily discover some interesting things about one another. For instance, one might suggest that monogamy is not in their nature and that they don’t believe we, as a human race, should have such boundaries. Others could take this personally, scoffing at the idea and assuming their partner to be the opposite of the person they assumed they were. But let’s get real for a second.
Rafael Wlodarski, who is a physiologist at University of Oxford, revealed that a mere 30 percent of primates and three percent of mammals are monogamous. For the study, Wlodarski and his colleagues took a look at the sexual attitudes of 600 British and American men and women, most notably in regards to their desire to partake in short-term affairs or casual sex. “When we looked at the data, it has this very weird shape,” Wlodarski noted. ” Rather than it being a whole gamut of mating strategies, there seems to be two potential phenotypes within males and within females.” This means that, as much as we love to put humans in a box, the reality is, we’re more complicated than that, making the idea of “normal” just that — an idea.
Research Says We Might Be Looking At It All Wrong
According to research, co-authored by Spike W.S. Lee, who is an assistant marketing professor at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, jumping into a relationship with someone simply because they make our palms sweaty and our hearts beat faster is only working against you, as Lee says it simply causes more issues in the relationship.
In the study, participants were asked to pick between either images and phrases that determined if they believed love was simply a mission to find a soulmate or a constant journey. What Lee found was that those who saw love in relation to achieving The One proved to have more negative perspectives than the latter group. “People who view themselves as soulmates tend to be less satisfied when they think of the conflicts in their relationships. It’s inevitable. In the soulmate frame, conflicts are bad. People think, Well, maybe we’re not the perfect fit,” Lee noted.
Science Says Happiness Trumps All
It’s an interesting question because, if you think about it, you can be madly in love and yet, somehow, someway, totally unhappy. There’s a lot of compromise, a lot of predicaments, a lot of day-to-day that goes into syncing commitment and love. People aren’t perfect. Circumstances can alter people’s outlooks incredibly. Sue Johnson, who is a psychologist from Ottawa, agrees that you’re wasting your time looking for the other arms, legs, and head to your life like the Plato tale says. She discusses, in her book Love Sense, a study that involved fMRI scans on the brain of women who were happily married and discovered that, when dealt with an approaching danger, their reaction was slim to none so long as their hand was in their partner’s. However, for those who were unhappily married, stress levels rose regardless of whether they were intertwined with their “other half.”
So, it seems that perhaps we’re better off working on building something as opposed to finding something that we expect to always be perfect. And yes, it may not feel as whimsical as the movies make it, but, according to science, happiness and long-lasting love come with trial and error, ups and downs, and a ton of rewards.