I don’t think I believe in soul mates. It seems to me a beguiling concept that there is only one person on the entire planet who will love you absolutely, and who you are able to love entirely too. To me, the whole idea seems positvely absurd. We are. after all, only animals; albeit the most dominant and intellectually evolved animal on the planet, but animals none the less. The imperative to pair off and breed stems from the same animal instincts experienced by every creature on the earth for survival of their species and it is still very much present in modern man. Admittedly that same instinct has been skewed by a couple of thousand of years of religious endoctrination and societal laws designed to control man’s behaviour… but underlying all the social, legal and religious principles there is still an instinct to propagate that drives us to seek mates for companionship and procreation.
When I look up in the dictionary the term ‘soul mate’ it tells me that the phrase originally stems from approximately 1815-1825 and it describes the ‘soul mate’ as ‘a person with whom one has a deep and strong natural affinity… a friendship, love intimacy, sexuality, spirituality and compatibility’. Many people believe that souls are literally made to be mated with other souls or are somehow fated or destined to be intertwined… but that seems ridiculous to me – for I know we are all capable of having a strong affinity with many people of the opposite and same gender, both concurrently as well as consecutively.
I read one theory (Aristophanes in Plato’s Symposium) that humans were orignally made with four arms, four legs and a single head with two faces. Aristophanes asserts that Zeus feared the power of these ‘humans’ and split them in half, thereby condemning them to spend their lives each searching for their other lost half to complete themselves… and why not? Sounds like a plausible enough theory if you want to buy into soul mates in the first place.
But the whole idea that there is only one being on this planet with whom you are capable of being ‘complete’ is an awful concept! What a burden of responsibility to be placing on someone else’s shoulders! Putting the onus of your entire life’s happiness in the hands of ONE other person… if indeed you can even find that one person who is supposed to be your soul mate… well, it all seems idealistically niave at best… and unbelievably selfish at worst. I think we are simply not capable of being everything and anything for another person. And to feel as though you can’t ever be truly happy without that one individual that you might never meet??? OMG…..
We are (most of us) about as happy as we choose to be. And while others can impact on your happiness or your misery – they are not responsible for how you choose to react to it. I am aware that sounds hypocritical as I’m not the happiest of individuals and especially not of late. I’m often told I don’t smile enough (pain will do that to you)… I don’t laugh very easily and I don’t feel that I experience joy a great deal… but there’s no way I expect someone else to hold the burden of responsibility for my own happiness. Saying that someone is your soul mate and that they ‘complete’ you is just like affixing an anchor around their neck and implying that you will be holding them liable should YOUR happiness all go to shit!!!
Besides… there are several people in my life who fit the selection criteria of ‘soul mate’ based on the description above – the dictionary one (fuck Aristophanes, he’s obviously a wally 🙂 ) and I consider myself extremely lucky that that is the case. But the whole concept of soul mates is that two, and only two, souls are destined to complete each other entirely… and I just don’t buy it. Which is why Mr K and I have always had an honest relationship where feelings for others are openly acknowledged . We, neither of us, believe it’s possible to be the ‘be all and end all’ for any one other person, and that it may take many different people in your life to ‘complete’ the various aspects of your character and meet the various needs you may have.
Many years ago, I knew that rejecting the notion of monogamy felt as natural to me as rejecting the notion that some unseen omnipotent being created the world in one week. It’s not an ideology that finds easy acceptance with everyone but it’s how I’ve always felt and I am honest to it. Luckily for me, Mr K accepts me as I am and because of his extraordinary understanding and plenary acceptance, I’ve never had to lie to him about my thoughts and feelings. The result is that there has always been several people in this relationship and both of us feel variously enriched in innumberable different ways for having opened ourselves up to the possibility that allowing oneself to connect with other people can be rewarding beyond measure. But most importantly has been the recognition that caring or loving more than one person does not mean that our feelings for each other are in any way diminished. By not denying our inate ability to feel things like fondness, attraction and (God help us) even love, for someone other than our chosen life partner we have become more honest, more open and more accepting of one another.
So why is it that because we have chosen to make a life together, the societal expectation is that we should no longer desire or be ‘allowed’ to connect inimately with other people? Whether that intimacy is intellectual, physical or emotional we’re raised to believe/expect that once you’re paired off… that’s it – you should not, will not, and can not be open to the possibility of intimate connections with other people. As humans we’re capable of feeling and expressing emotions for many different people. We readily accept that it is possible to love your partner, your family, your children, your friends… and all at the same time! But when it comes to developing loving or intimate relationships with other non-related individuals once you’re married? Well for some reason – that’s not on. Why? Because society and religion would dictate where I can and can not choose to plant my affections!?!!?
Yes. That sounds like a solid plan… I shall walk this life and blindly follow in the footsteps of those before me, simply because that’s how it’s done.
Not on your life.