Soulmates… and Other Myths

Marriage Counseling Insights brought to you by California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

You’ve more than likely heard the term “soulmate.” You may even firmly believe that there is an “other” out there who is your soulmate. But do you know how long the term, and the concept, have been around? One of the first instances of its use is in a letter from the 1820s by the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge: “To be happy in Married Life… you must have a Soul-mate.”

A young couple holding hands

In an era when a good marriage was defined as one in which economic and social compatibility were paramount, Coleridge’s statement was a bit revolutionary. But the more important question is, Is there such a thing as a soulmate, and do you need one for a truly fulfilling relationship? Further, what does it mean for a person to be a soulmate? Some people express the idea that a soulmate “completes” you. Other people radically object to the idea that anyone needs another to be “complete.”

Clearly, this is not only an interesting but a complex subject. Randi Gunther, Ph.D., explores a related subject in an article for Psychology Today: 6 Relationship Myths People Need to Reject. She makes a strong case that there’s no magic in a particular person that makes your relationship perfect. “Partners in great relationships don’t expect ‘perfect,’ and never have,” she writes. “They know that great relationships are created, and then recreated, every day, and are intent on making their partnership continue to improve. They will always be practicing, and do not expect perfection.”

Gunther draws on her four decades of experience counseling couples to identify the myths she finds are fantasy-based. If any of the beliefs below hit home, check out the full article for a complete discussion of common myths.

  • Perfect relationship partners are totally compatible.
  • Perfect relationship partners have “equal appetites.”
  • Great partners always put their relationship first.
  • Great partners are never attracted to anyone else.
  • Perfect relationships do not have serious conflicts.
  • Perfect relationship partners are always “on the same team.”