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Do you believe in soulmates?

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halfmydeen

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Do you believe in soulmates?
« on: Oct. 13, 2011, 07:50 PM »

Interesting questions this article brings up...

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Why searching for a soulmate could stop you ever finding love

Ten years ago, no one used the phrase ‘soulmate’ in my marital therapy office. It was a word that belonged in Hollywood films and romantic novels.

If I’d asked a couple whether they were soulmates, or a single person if they were looking for one, they would have stared at me blankly, expected me to light incense and start chanting, or simply laughed.

Today, the term is used by around half the people who seek my help in the medium-sized, Middle England town where I’m a relationship counsellor.
Passion: But Richard Burton and Liz Taylor's marriages crumbled

Passion: But Richard Burton and Liz Taylor's marriages crumbled

Single women worry there is something wrong with them because they can’t find their soulmate, and married women question whether one nasty argument means her husband isn’t her soulmate after all. But what does the term really mean and why does my heart sink every time I hear it?

According to the myth, soulmates not only have a deep connection, but love and accept everything about each other. Being soulmates with someone implies you have similar tastes and interests, and love doing everything together.

In fact, the connection is so profound that all differences simply fall away. So there’s no need for arguments because each partner ‘gets’ the other.

In the movies, you know the seemingly mismatched couple are really soulmates when they perform karaoke and both miraculously know the words to some obscure song. All their problems melt away, and confessions of undying love and marriage on the beach swiftly follow.

The inference is that once you find your soulmate, there are no rows and you will be unquestionably accepted for who you are. No wonder everyone wants one — particularly this generation, many of whom had a front-row seat for their parents’ divorce.

Obviously, we need to believe that something will save us from repeating our parents’ mistakes — so the idea that soulmates exist is very attractive. Sadly, it’s totally devoid of realism.

'Instead of looking for a "good enough" man, women in modern society hold out for the promise of the all-singing, all-dancing, perfect partner'

Josie, an attractive 31-year-old with a high-powered job, is a prime example of the damage searching for a soulmate can do. When she came to me for counselling, she said: ‘I don’t want ordinary love. I want something passionate with someone I truly respect: a soulmate. Unfortunately, I find few men who I’m really attracted to.’

Her parents had split when she was ten and the fallout had been so bitter that more than 20 years later, her mother and father could not be in the same room and had only spoken on the phone a handful of times during emergencies.

You’d expect these experiences to make someone cynical about relationships. But, like most children of divorce, Josie longed for the transforming power of love.

She just had to find the right person — yet this is where her problems deepened. Instead of looking for a ‘good enough’ man — as her mother or grandmother would have done — modern society holds out the promise of the all-singing, all-dancing, perfect partner.

As a consequence, this search for an overpowering connection has caused Josie to choose two types of lovers. There are those who are good on paper but do not yield an immediate ‘chemistry’, so she gives up on them.

And then there are the ‘bad boys’ who are ‘passionate and deeply emotional’, but deliver brutal and destructive relationships. The most recent example was an actor who Josie knew had a girlfriend. ‘I met him at a party and we really clicked,’ she said. ‘My pulse was racing and I felt all light-headed.’

Sadly, the myth of soulmates means many women confuse passion and fear — as both make our hearts beat faster.

When we discussed her relationship further and what being the ‘other woman’ did to Josie’s self-esteem, I asked: ‘Instead of intense attraction, could your subconscious have been pumping adrenaline round your body because it was saying, “Run, run, run”?’
Fantasy: Romantic films like One Day purport the myth of soulmates

Fantasy: Romantic films like One Day purport the myth of soulmates

I also blame the soulmates myth for another 21st-century complaint: ‘I love you but I’m not in love with you.’

By this, I mean the way that acceptable marriages are ditched because the couple no longer feel passionately ‘in love’.

Take two of my clients, Kate, 40, and her husband Martin, 44. They have two children, a successful business they created together and, in many ways, have much to celebrate.

Yet they are feeling dissatisfied with each other. I put this down to the fact they never argue. In keeping with the soulmates ethos, Martin explains: ‘We’ve agreed on most things because we have the same values.’

Unfortunately, it is not possible for two people to live in complete harmony without one or both of them rationalising away their differences (‘it doesn’t really matter’), detaching (‘we’ll agree to differ’), or avoiding conflict (‘anything for a quiet life’).

Although this works in the short term, eventually all feelings are switched off — not just the negative ones.

'The myth of soulmates can provide a fig leaf to convince people that it is OK to cheat if they are "destined" to be with someone else'

In effect, arguing too little is just as dangerous as arguing too much. A good row clears the air, but it goes against the idea of soulmates, so people bite back their frustration — not only to prove that they are still soulmates, but also because they’re sure their partner will eventually realise what they are really feeling, without them saying it.

As no one is a mind reader — however much they love someone — this stores up resentment for the future. In addition, the pressure to be everything to each other begins to rob people of their individual identity.

After their relationship began, Martin hardly ever played golf, although it was one of his major passions, and Kate ditched her plans to take a creative writing course. Instead they focused on shared interests: eating out, entertaining and a holiday cottage.

Shortly before Kate’s 40th birthday, she woke up and thought: ‘My life feels boring. My marriage is cosy and routine. Worse still, I don’t know who I am or what I want any more.’

We all know how easy it is for one partner to be consumed with work or children and for the other to feel alone and therefore vulnerable to the attentions of a work colleague, friend or internet contact.

At this point, the myth of soulmates can provide a fig leaf to convince people that it is OK to cheat if they are ‘destined’ to be with someone else.

Another of my clients, Clive, 48, fell into this trap. He met his mistress at a conference and told me: ‘We were on the same wavelength, she understood me and my work. Meanwhile, my wife would hardly notice me when I came home or would ask: “How did it go,” but not listen to my answer.

‘In contrast, I could talk to my lover about anything for hours and she’d care passionately about the details. I can’t put it any other way: we were soulmates and our love could not be denied.’
Marriage wrecker: A belief in soulmates can lead to people having affairs if they think their husband/wife isn't actually 'the one' (posed by models)

Marriage wrecker: A belief in soulmates can lead to people having affairs if they think their husband/wife isn't actually 'the one' (posed by models)

When Clive and his mistress left their respective partners, they thought they were setting off on a new life together, but just eight weeks later Clive returned home.

‘My lover was not like I’d imagined but, more importantly, I discovered that I only knew part of her — what she was like away from responsibilities and children.’

Clive was lucky in that his wife Miranda took him back, but she has been left devastated by the infidelity.

Yet It is not just the havoc caused by the myth of soulmates that makes me angry, but how it obscures the real ingredients for a successful long-term partnership.

So instead of worrying about the heady connection with a so-called soulmate, people should focus on what really counts.

Top of the list are good relationship skills. I believe these are: managing to argue while being respectful of each other’s opinions and finding a compromise; being open and upfront about feelings; and listening without interrupting or making assumptions.

Couples also need distance as well as closeness to keep the sexual spark alive. Time apart, separate interests and knowing there is always something more to discover about your partner promotes intrigue, excitement and desire.

Being different should also be regarded as an asset — not a problem — as each partner can bring complementary skills.

For example, it helps to have one half who is more emotional or in touch with their feelings (as this brings issues up to the surface where they can be solved). But equally it is useful for the other half to be rational and have their feet on the ground (to keep a sense of proportion).

Finally, relationships need strength of character as much as a deep connection, so couples are not defeated by the first piece of adversity. The good news is that overcoming problems really binds people together — more than all the karaoke in the world.

Rating our relationships on how connected we feel is making us miserable, and leaving us helpless when something goes wrong.

That’s why I believe we should banish the word ‘soulmate’ from our vocabulary and focus instead on improving relationship skills and accepting our differences.

And there’s a bonus: when you begin to communicate effectively with your partner, all the loving feelings come flooding back again.
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SalwaR

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Re: Do you believe in soulmates?
« Reply #1 on: Nov. 25, 2011, 04:53 PM »

YES YES YES,

Alhamdulillah, i do believe Allah has ordaned for you a partner, who is very special to you. For prophet SAW it was Khadijah and then Aisha who were the most dearest to him.

Yes there are people who marry those they love, and have a great marriage but that click is not just there. And they die this way. But had a great marriage, so for some its not thie qadr to be with that person, their soul mate, maybe allah perserved them for you in Jannah.

Alhamdulillah i met my soul mate, how it all happened subhanallah just very special way to meet, the odds were against us, yet Allah made it possible for two strangers to meet... and now we find out that we have so much in common in terms of family connections, people knowing people etc. Subhanallah. And we are soooo alike, same proffesion, same background, same thinking, same humour, the odds were against us to meet but we did. This is truley a gift from Allah. Allah made it possible.  Alhamdulillah, all praise be to Allah.
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