Smile Politely

Is it in the stars?

Soul matesI’ve never understood the attraction people have to the concepts love at first sight and soul mates.  I mean, I can understand the knee-jerk appeal.  It’d be nice to find someone perfect for you.  Someone created to be with you and only you.  And then to recognize them on sight…  It’s the stuff of legends.  But if you dig beneath the surface, is it really everything it’s cracked up to be?

Chemistry is good, good chemistry is great.  And who hasn’t felt that spark and wondered?  I know I have.  But can that spark really be considered love?  When I first saw my husband, there was a spark.  More than a spark, actually.  I wanted to know everything about him, wanted to spend all my time with him, talked about him non-stop when we did have to spend time apart.  In short, I drove everyone around me crazy.  But was it love?  Nope, sorry.  I didn’t even consider it at the time.  I was enamored with him, thought there was definite potential.  But I was still in the ‘what could be’ stage.  And that’s a great stage to be in.  It’s filled with adventure, and firsts, but it isn’t love.  If things hadn’t worked out, I would have been hurt, but by the loss of what might have been, and you can’t be in love with what might be.  Sure, it sucks to lose the possibility of love, but that doesn’t make it love.  Had we fallen apart in that stage, I would have grieved the loss, but I would have moved on. 

Yep.  I would have moved on.  Even though we’ve been married for eleven years, and I’m still crazy about the guy, when I think back to those early days I know I would’ve been okay had it not worked out.  Why?  Because, as much as I love my husband, he’s not my soul mate.  Something I’ve always been very happy with.  Nothing terrifies me more than the idea of a ‘soul mate’.  Tell me honesty that having the fates determine who you’ll spend the rest of your life with doesn’t scare you?  What if it’s a druggy, or an abusive person, or a serial killer?  If there are soul mates, then they’ve got to have them too.  You just shuddered, didn’t you?  I know I did.  Picking a mate is one of the biggest decisions we ever make, and I’d like to think I have some say in the matter.  That I can chose between two potential mates, and could find happiness with either.  And, given my preference for sane people, it’s comforting to know there’s no force on Earth that could bind me to a serial killer.

But let’s assume that I was okay with having some deity, or force of nature, pick my mate.  And let’s assume that they had my best interests at heart and weren’t mischievous or malicious, and that I actually liked the guy they picked for me.  What then?  It kind of takes the whole romance out of a relationship, knowing they have to be with you, knowing there’s no one they could ever happier with, doesn’t it?  Honestly, how hard would you fight for a relationship that was predestined?  Would you be willing to make the sacrifices necessary?  Or would you bail when things got hard?  After all, if it were meant to be, if the person you’re with is your soul mate, would the relationship go through hard times?  Wouldn’t they simply fulfill you by being themselves?  And if you’re with your soul mate, you’d never feel that first spark of attraction with another person, right?

And therein lies the fatal flaw for not only soul mates, but also for love at first sight.  Every relationship faces challenges and obstacles that take sacrifice and work to overcome.  And, no matter how much you love your mate, you will eventually find another person you feel that spark with.  What then?  If a person is looking for their soul mate, it becomes all too easy to let go.  Soul mates and love at first sight become an excuse not work on a current relationship, to avoid the sacrifices necessary to grow as a couple. 

No, I’ve always seen love at first sight and soul mates as a trap.  I’m happy that my husband and I struggle at times to see eye to eye.  Happy with every sacrifice we’ve had to make to be together.  Okay, I’m not so happy knowing there are women out there he might find more attractive, but I’ve accepted it and I am happy that he knows the temptation exists and still comes home to me.  But, most of all, I’m happy that we’re together because we wake up every morning and choose to continue our relationship, choose to continue fighting and sacrificing for each other.  As tempting as predestined relationships might seem, I’d take the one I chose and deemed worthy of work every time.

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