Soul mates are an illusion that only cause us suffering
Since we were little we have been programmed to believe that what we should continually seek in this life is our soul mate, that the ultimate happiness is given to us when we meet the ideal partner - that prince or princess of fairy tales, and that everything else is less important. Why?
Romantic love has become the foundation of a true industry
Movies, novels, fairy tales, all promote the idea that we can truly be happy only when we meet "true love," that is, that person we fall in love with, who "twists our head" and who triggers in our body a hormonal cocktail.
Somehow, we feel less valuable, less worthy if we are alone, and if we are in a relationship we even get to believe at some point that if we don’t sacrifice and compromise "like the rest of the world", if we don’t suffer, we aren’t consumed by jealousy and possessiveness, we don’t really love. If we give our partner freedom, we don’t care about him and the relationship. If we want time for us, if we want to take care of our projects, passions or hobbies, we are selfish.
Romantic love becomes a trap in which we dive enthusiastically head first
We meet a person who makes us feel butterflies in the stomach, who satisfies our needs and desires, who suddenly changes our life vision - all of a sudden all makes sense and we have the impression that we have lived in vain so far.
We see our partner different than he really is, we amplify his positive traits and diminish the negative ones and this reinforces our illusion that we have found the perfect person who complements us. At the beginning everything is wonderful and we are willing to do anything to avoid losing this. That is why we may even marry quickly, we have children, but we don’t really know each other. Then gradually the passion dies out and conflicts begin to appear.
We are disappointed and we even feel betrayed because our projections can no longer sustain our ideal vision that we have formed about our partner and our relationship. What happened to love? How come love is not enough to sustain a long-term relationship?
If there is no compatibility regarding your beliefs, values and lifestyle, a straw fire will not heat up a home. If we don’t accept our partner exactly as he is, if we don’t admire and respect him, we will try to change him to better fit the pattern in our minds about what the perfect man or woman is. And here's where the power struggles, the frustrations, the reproaches and even the offenses will start.
But there is no perfect man or woman, and romantic love, alone, can’t sustain a relationship. We are not a half that needs another half, we are not empty to desperately seek someone to finally make us feel fulfilled. If we don’t offer to ourselves what we seek others to offer to us, if we can’t be happy in our solitude, we will suffer disappointment after disappointment because no one can and no one should be our ever-flowing "spring" of happiness. Waiting for that single person to make us happy, we will always be one step away from happiness.
Romantic love is like a drug, we always long for more
It is associated with an ardent desire, euphoria, obsessive thinking, distortion of reality, personality changes, emotional and physical dependence, inappropriate or even dangerous behaviors, loss of control and mood swing, and psychologists have come to the conclusion that romantic love is an addiction. Lovers experience neural activity in an area of the brain that activates when people consume cocaine, and people who are rejected in love have the same neural activity as gambling addicts who risk large losses.
Under such circumstances, it is no wonder that once love disappears and the relationship ends, the level of serotonin, dopamine and adrenaline decreasing, the person will begin to feel that inner void as if he has withdrawal symptoms and will start looking again for a new "love", perhaps repeating the mistakes of the past.
Therefore, love can become dangerous, not only because we are capable of doing unhealthy things and to make hasty decisions that affect our future in the long run, but also because it makes us follow an ideal and miss those real chances to build a relationship with someone else we could be compatible with, just because that other person doesn’t match that ideal.
No one can complete us, if we feel incomplete
Soul mates are an illusion that only cause us suffering. In reality, healthy relationships are those between two people who can offer from their overflow, between two autonomous and independent individuals who first of all love themselves. If you are "empty" inside, you have nothing to offer to another person, if your partner is also "empty", he won’t be able to offer you what you lack.
Healthy relationships are based on freedom, so that everyone can be as he wants in his authenticity; involves cooperation and collaboration - you are free to follow your path and fulfill your dreams but at the same time you accompany yourself with a person who completes your happiness and that is why it’s so important the compatibility and similarity that I was talking about above. Otherwise, the partners will have to make sacrifices and compromises to save a relationship in which none of them feel free and happy anyway.
Relationships based on “butterflies” and passion fall apart once love fades away and, no matter how many promises and vows we make to each other, they will be in vain if that initial love isn’t sustained by a common life vision, by similar future plans, communication, honesty and understanding.
The perfect relationship doesn’t exist
The ideal partner doesn’t exist, that’s why it’s called ideal. But there are beautiful and healthy relationships that we can create in our lives, relationships that rely on friendship, mutual respect, acceptance, support, admiration and appreciation; if we are willing to give up the romantic illusions we have been bombed since childhood and if we take responsibility for our happiness.
Dr. Ursula Sandner