Why You Should Stop Trying to Find Your Soulmate  

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Are you still trying to find your soulmate? Do you believe that everyone has a soulmate—a person they’re destined to be with? 

The idea that everyone has a soulmate may feel attractive and reassuring to some people. However, trying to find your soulmate isn’t the most optimal dating strategy. 

Here’s why the idea of a soulmate is problematic. 

The Problem With the Idea of a Soulmate

Dating coach Logan Ury (How to Not Die Alone) calls these types of people—who subscribe to the idea of a soulmate—”fairytale chasers.” Ury explains that approaching dating with this attitude causes problems. Notably, fairytale chasers tend to envision their ideal soulmate—so when dating, they may overlook great candidates who don’t exactly match this ideal

If you’re a fairytale chaser, you believe that if you find your soulmate, you’re guaranteed a happy, problem-free relationship. So when your relationship inevitably hits a rough patch, you assume you’re with the wrong person and start to look for someone else, beginning the cycle anew.   

If you’re a fairytale chaser, Ury recommends that you shift your attitude from trying to find your soulmate to developing a mindset that a happy relationship depends on how hard you work at your relationship. With this mindset, you’ll temper your expectations regarding what your partner is like and thus grow more open to dating great people who don’t match your ideal. And you’ll realize that all relationships have some issues, so you’ll be willing to work on them when they inevitably arise. 

Other Reasons to Shift Your Relationship Mindset

Fairytale chasers might also struggle because they base their fulfillment on an external factor. In The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle warns that if you look for others to make you happy, you’ll never find true happiness—even if you do find your soulmate, this partner is bound to make a mistake at some point. This will then lead to disappointment and fear that your partner doesn’t complete you, which may cause you to lash out at your partner.

So what should you do? Like Ury, Tolle recommends shifting your mindset. But rather than focusing on working hard at your relationship, Tolle recommends that you stay present in your relationships. Notice when disappointment and fear lead you to attack your partner. Growing more aware of these patterns will improve your ability to resist them and thus make you less likely to cause conflict that might lead you to question your relationship. Tolle also emphasizes that love exists within you, so you don’t need to date someone who matches an ideal; instead, learn to accept the relationships and partners that you encounter as they are. 

So, if you want to be happy in a relationship, you better stop trying to find your soulmate, and instead, focus on finding someone whom you can work with: Someone who is able to fulfill your emotional needs and resolve conflict and individual differences—which will inevitably arise sooner or later—peacefully and constructively. This may not sound very romantic, but it is the key to a happy, long-term relationship. 

Finding Your Person

But, how do you find such a person? How do you know whether someone is suitable for a long-term relationship?

According to Amir Levine and Rachel S. F. Heller (Attached), you should look for a person whose attachment style is compatible with your attachment style. Once you get an accurate picture of a person’s attachment style, you’ll stop wondering, “Does he or she really like me?” and start asking a more important question: “Is this person able to give me the emotional support I need?” Because if the answer to the second question is no, the answer to the first is irrelevant. 

Once you understand yours and theirs attachment style, you’ll have a better understanding of what it would be like to be in a romantic relationship with them. Consider which of the following styles best fits you: 

Key Features of the Secure Attachment Style

  • You’re naturally loving and warm. 
  • You enjoy intimacy and closeness.
  • You don’t worry much about your relationships—you take the ups and downs in stride.
  • You can easily communicate with your partner about your desires and needs. 
  • You’re able to anticipate your partner’s desires and needs, and you enjoy responding to them.
  • You enjoy sharing life’s successes and failures with your partner. 

Key Features of the Anxious Attachment Style

  • You love intimacy and closeness. 
  • Relationships are a big part of your life and take up a lot of your emotional energy
  • You often fear that your partner doesn’t love being close as much as you do. 
  • You’re extremely sensitive to changes in your partner’s moods or behaviors. 
  • You’re hesitant to say anything that your partner might find disagreeable.  

Key Features of the Avoidant Attachment Style

  • You prefer independence and autonomy over intimacy and closeness. 
  • You tend to keep people at arm’s length. 
  • You don’t worry about your relationships; rejection doesn’t bother you much. 
  • You don’t usually talk to your partner about your feelings. 
  • You’re concerned about your partner interfering in your life too much or stepping on your territory.

TITLE: Attached
AUTHOR: Amir Levine and Rachel Heller
TIME: 35
READS: 172.1
IMG_URL: https://www.shortform.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/attached-cover.png
BOOK_SUMMARYURL: attached-summary-amir-levine-and-rachel-heller

How to Find Your Soulmate: Advice for Men

In The Unplugger Alpha, Richard Cooper recommends that you do the following to ensure a happy and sustainable relationship:

First, choose the right woman. Cooper references The Tactical Guide to Women which states that she should be mature and stable and have clarity. Cooper adds that she should be good at handling stress, willing to change her name to yours—and thus demonstrate that she’s committed long-term—and earn a relatively similar income to yours so that you don’t have to pay as much in alimony in the event of a divorce.

Second, spend sufficient time with her. Cooper again references The Tactical Guide to Women, which explains that a woman who wants to get married might pretend to be someone she’s not in pursuit of her goal—so wait at least two years to get to know her well. Cooper adds that you must also cohabitate during this time to really know her; he recommends a minimum of six months. 

Finally, Cooper recommends that you do your legal homework. Prior to marriage, visit a divorce lawyer with your partner to understand the potential ramifications of divorce. Write a prenuptial agreement—and then write a post-nuptial agreement to maximize the chances of the prenup’s terms being honored in court. Finally, if you have children, live somewhere that splits custody by default to minimize the risk of never seeing your kids.

Making the Relationship Work in the Long-Term

It’s great when you find someone who is both compatible and reasonable. However, finding someone like that doesn’t guarantee a blissful, stress-free relationship in the long-term. If you and your partner are serious about going the distance, you both need to be putting in ongoing effort. Here are some tips that can help.

Tip 1: Fight With Courtesy 

Conflict is natural in a long-term relationship. It’s important to approach conflict with an argumentative style that’s relatively positive. This is because humans have a negativity bias—that is, we focus much more on negative emotions and experiences than positive. It usually takes five positive interactions in a relationship to offset just one negative interaction. Having arguments in a productive, positive way keeps them from contributing to the negative interaction count. Furthermore, negative arguments can make you feel guilty or irritable which leads to more negative interactions and unhappiness. 

Studies show that there are six key elements of positive and productive arguments.

  1. Approach one problem at a time. Don’t use issues from the past as artillery in the present. 
  2. Start arguments as a calm discussion, instead of exploding suddenly and angrily. 
  3. Avoid absolutes, such as “you never…” or “I always…”
  4. Use words and actions that prevent escalation—you may avoid the phrase, “You’re just like your mother,” or fold your hands to keep from—literally—pointing fingers. 
  5. Recognize that external factors might be affecting your partner. We tend to overlook how others’ circumstances influence their behavior. For example, your wife’s sudden anger about the cost of car repairs may be stemming from a recent announcement about layoffs at work.
  6. Know how to end arguments, instead of letting them drag on—perhaps one of you goes for a run to calm down, or you agree to sleep on it. 

Tip 2: Navigate Differences in Intimacy Needs 

Men and women tend to express intimacy differently. While women associate intimacy with face-to-face interactions, men associate intimacy with working or playing alongside their partner. Both are important shared moments, but they look and feel incredibly different. It’s possible your partner won’t engage in intimacy the same way you want to. 

  • For example, you may feel frustrated that your partner wants to talk while you’re content just doing work next to them—but they’re frustrated that you won’t engage in a heart-to-heart conversation.

Having different intimacy needs than her husband, Rubin discovered the importance of building female support systems outside the relationship. These support systems give you an outlet for conversations about problems and insecurities and reduce the friction that arises when you want support that your partner isn’t able to provide. 

This isn’t to say your partner is completely off the hook—at times, they should put effort into engaging in intimate chats and being the listener you want them to be. But, if your partner is regularly disengaged, take time to think about why

  • For example, your partner may not want to talk about your anxiety because it makes them sad, or they might not engage with your rant about work because they’re completely unfamiliar with the field. 

Besides avoiding touchy subjects, avoid unloading trivial complaints and irritations on them. This is important because moods are contagious in relationships—when you approach your partner with a collection of gripes and negativity, they’ll naturally mirror your emotions. When you’re about to complain to your partner, think about if your complaint could be more positive—or if it needs to be said at all.

  • For example, instead of saying, “My boss always dumps tasks on me while she goes out for long lunches. I can’t stand it,” you might try, “My boss is giving me a lot more responsibility at work. I understand it might give me a boost for next year’s promotions, but I’m finding it challenging.” 

Taking this extra step to reduce the spread of unhappiness can help maintain overall positive feelings in your relationship. 

Tip 3: Show Love

How much love you feel doesn’t matter unless your partner sees it. Focus on actions that clearly show your love and appreciation. Rubin found that over time, small affirmations of affection shift interactions into a consistently loving tone. Some of these small actions might include saying “I love you” more, hugging your partner more, and sending messages just to let your partner know you’re thinking of them.

Of course, the most effective way to show people that you care is to pay attention to how they show their care—these actions are what truly mean “love” to them. For example, you may notice that your spouse loves to throw big parties for any of his friends’ big occasions, always sets a fun theme, and thinks of very personal and thoughtful gifts. For his 30th birthday, you organize a huge party with his friends. Everyone dresses as a character from his favorite film franchise, and you gift him a huge scrapbook of pictures and written memories from the past 30 years that everyone contributed to.

Tip 4: Stop Taking Your Partner for Granted

Many people tend to start taking their partners for granted in long-term relationships. Paying attention to the way your partner tries to engage with you or capture your attention is important to maintaining a happy relationship where everyone feels seen. There are a few ways you can actively work against your tendency to take your partner for granted: 

  • Revisit the sort of deep communication that existed at the beginning of your relationship, before your busy lives took over. For example, you might try the New York Times “36 Questions That Lead to Love” or simply go stargazing with a bottle of wine. 
  • Be as considerate of your partner as you are of others. You might buy them a trinket they’ll love, or remember to take their drink order with everyone else’s at a dinner party. 
  • Have date nights, without your kids in tow. Make sure the date suits both your interests—otherwise, the date can feel like a chore. 

TITLE: The Happiness Project
AUTHOR: Gretchen Rubin
TIME: 44
READS: 96.1
IMG_URL: https://www.shortform.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/the-happiness-project-cover.png
BOOK_SUMMARYURL: the-happiness-project-summary-gretchen-rubin

Final Words

It feels almost magical that there could be someone out there who fits you perfectly as a romantic partner. However, if you approach dating by trying to find your soulmate, your efforts are doomed to failure. Instead, look for a person who is reasonable and compatible with you in terms of personality and attachment style. 

If you enjoyed our article about how to find your soulmate, check out the following suggestions for further reading: 

Codependent No More

In Codependent No More, Melody Beattie explores codependency and how it affects people’s lives. A self-help classic and the book that inspired codependency 12 Step Programs around the country, Codependent No More provides explanations, advice, and compassion for people struggling with codependency.

How to Not Die Alone
How can you find and keep a happy relationship? In How to Not Die Alone, Logan Ury—behavioral scientist, dating coach, and Director of Relationship Science at the dating app Hinge—presents a science-backed approach for finding the true love you’ve always wanted so you can do exactly what the title says.

Why You Should Stop Trying to Find Your Soulmate  

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Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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