Soulmates. Individuals destined to be together, forever. Twin flames.
Whatever you call it, the idea of soulmates brings to mind a powerful and perfect union where love flows freely and the feeling of true union is ever-present.
Although all of these things can be, and indeed are, common in soulmate relationships, the reality is more gritty, more challenging, and ultimately more beautiful than our commonly held perceptions about soulmates being fairy-tale romances with no bumps in the road. The bumps, the passion, and even the drama that are hallmarks of the soulmate relationship create a crucible of metamorphosis for the souls on this ride. And if you can survive it, having a soulmate is one of the most wonderful, fulfilling, and even, enlightening experiences to have in this lifetime.
As a soul-survivor of one very precious soulmate connection that ultimately did not work out (in retrospect, due largely to my own issues and dysfunctional patterns) here is the real deal about soulmate connections and what to expect. To learn if someone is indeed your soulmate, you probably don't need an internet article, because you just know. However, this article, Elements of a Soulmate, offers some good insight into the soulmate connection.
1. Having a soulmate relationship is impractical: True
Often, a soulmate is a person who comes into your life because your soul, not your ego, is calling. Your ego will most likely get beaten up or perhaps banished altogether in this process. Therefore, your soulmate might have qualities that your ego, master or mistress of practicality, deems completely absurd. Often times the hallmark of a soulmate relationship is one that seems completely unfathomable, where your professions, ages, or interests are not compatible—but the relationship, somehow, just feels indescribably, deeply, and profoundly right. An unmistakable feeling of deep, powerful, and profound connection will permeate your interactions with a soulmate—and your ego will hate this because everything else will likely seem incongruous.
Much as it would like to, the ego will not be able to control the relationship, or even to define it. However, if these aspects are dealt with consciously, and the ego's voice is not ultimately the one that is acted upon, the challenges and impracticality of a soulmate can lead individuals on a wonderful and fulfilling journey that can transform their entire lives in ways they had never fathomed.
2. Your soulmate will challenge you and potentially get you out of your comfort zone—that is part of why they have arrived in your life at this time: True
Along with being impractical, a soulmate relationship can (read: will!) be challenging! Often times, soulmates will bring up our unconscious fears, buried patterns, and detrimental assumptions to the surface in order to be healed. The result can be a feeling of immense turmoil as we wrestle with the darkest parts of ourselves that have been unearthed and triggered by our soulmate. However, the profoundest challenges can bring about the deepest transformation, and if one is willing to do the work, a soulmate will be, ultimately, one who shines healing light upon the ego's most detrimental facets—transforming them all.
3. Your soulmate will be with you forever: False
As a result of the first two items on this list, unfortunately, many soulmate relationships are simply too challenging to last. Inner transformation is not the top priority in many people's lives, and many do not, understandably, have the inner or outer resources to deal with the long-lasting tumult that soulmate relationships can create. A connection between souls is not necessarily a connection between personalities—and our worldlier selves can be very beaten up by the intensity of a soulmate relationship.
Although there is, perhaps, a part of us that will stay connected to our soulmate for time immemorial, the reality is that in this lifetime, our relationship might not last. As painful as this can be (as when soulmates part ways it truly does feel as if a part of the self is lost), it is possible to heal and feel whole again after this deep, resounding loss. We can take with us the lessons from a soulmate relationship and use them in other parts of our lives. It helps to remember that this world is only temporary—and we will be reunited with our soulmate in the afterlife, where the love we feel for them will not be interrupted by our pesky egos.
4. Soulmate relationships can be unhealthy or even abusive: True
Unfortunately, even though we might wish the souls with whom we share a deep bond are aware enough to avoid abusive or destructive behaviors, this is not always the case. Indeed, even when we ourselves are challenged with navigating the turbulent waters of a soulmate relationship, some of our most destructive patterns can emerge to the detriment of ourselves and the other. Self-awareness is crucial, for the crucible of the soul relationship is an intense one. Sometimes abusive patterns or individuals simply will not change or evolve and we must free ourselves of the connection. As painful as it can be to leave a person we have such a profound connection with, nothing is worth staying in an abusive or destructive relationship.
5. You only have one soulmate: False
Although soulmates do not grow on trees, the idea that there is only one soulmate for each of us is, in my experience, incorrect. Though they are rare, it is not unheard of for some individuals to meet two or three individuals with whom they share a soul connection in this lifetime. Soulmates do not have to share a romantic connection, either, and we may meet soulmates who are friends, healers, or loved ones along the path. They are there to guide us, to challenge us, and to help us become more whole, connected, and aware.